If you have your heart set on a purebred puppy, do not spend your money in a pet store. Pet store puppies almost always come from puppy mills – no reputable breeder would ever allow one of their dogs to wind up in a pet store. Many people are intimidated by the process of finding a responsible breeder. But let’s put it this way, would you rather spend the time and energy now to find a good breeder who will be available to answer questions for the life of your dog, or spend time, energy, money and heartache dealing with a dog with serious issues as a result of bad breeding?
If you have already decided on a breed, one of the best ways to find a great breeder is to locate the breed’s club and attend some events with your local chapter. Start by doing a Google search for your breed of dog’s national club (i.e. Newfoundland Club of America). Through the national websites, you can usually be directed to your local chapter (i.e. Newfoundland Club of New England). These dog clubs have activities several times a year. It’s a good way to meet and spend time with the dogs to see what you can expect having one of your own. It’s also a good opportunity to ask questions from people who own the breed you are interested in. These are the people who will not mind answering questions. They care about the breed and usually love spending time talking about their dogs.
Do not select your breeder based on a search of the AKC website. The breeders that come up in the searches there may or may not be reputable breeders. The AKC does not have any screening process in place, if they have paid their dues and breed “pure bred” dogs, they can advertise there.