How to know your puppy is coming from a responsible breeder and not a backyard breeder or puppymill

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How to Identify a Backyard Breeder or Puppy Mill Vs. a Good and Reputable Breeder

Backyard breeders are not much better than puppymills when it comes to caring for their dogs!

So you are ready to add a new puppy to your home and are not sure where to start…

The first place to consider looking for your new puppy is your local animal shelter, humane society or rescue group! These dogs or puppies are at risk of being destroyed if they do not find homes.

Well, let me help you some by telling you where NOT to start.

Pet stores usually carry puppies from puppy mills and backyard breeders. These breeders have little to no reguard for the dogs they keep or the puppies they sell. To them the dogs are “livestock”

Reputable breeders care about the dogs they own and the puppies that they sell.

But when you are looking for puppies by reading the classified ads how do you spot a reputable breeder VS a puppy mill or backyard breeder.

What is the definition of a puppy mill?
What is the definition of a back yard breeder?
What is the definition of a reputable breeder?

Well read on and I will attempt to help you identify a backyard breeder or puppy mill vs. a good and reputable breeder so that you can find a quality puppy that will be a lifelong member of your family

Puppy mills keep many females in the same cage or run
puppy mills often house their dogs in cramped cages above ground so that the feces is left below the cages. These dogs never feel the grass beneath their feet! How to identify a puppy mill.

Puppy mills will rarely let you back near their kennel area as they are afraid that if you see the condition of their adult dogs you will call your local Humane Society or Animal Shelter. They may show you a bunch of puppies but you will rarely see the parent dogs. 

Debarked dogs tell no tales…no one knows they are even there! Puppy mills often have their adult dogs debarked so that no one knows how many dogs they have and often the family’s who live nearby do not even know that there are dogs there.

If you do go the a backyard breeder or puppymill’s facility you never see the adults!

You may see lots of puppies but are forbidden to see the parents or how they are kept, puppy mills or puppy importers will offer to meet you somewhere else other than at their place of residence or the kennel area. They often put several puppies into their car and offer to meet you at the local grocery store.

Backyard breeders will mate any two dogs even siblings in order to get the puppies to sell. Backyard breeders many also have several dogs housed together in small runs or kennels. They treat their dogs as livestock, when they can no longer breed they are often taken to animal shelters, sent to rescues, dumped in rural areas or sold to research labs. They may even spay or neuter their breeders in order to prevent anyone else from making any money off breeding THEIR dogs.

A backyard breeder or a puppy mill will meet you in the parking lot of a grocery store
here are more cages of debarked dogs that only know life in the cage and how to have puppys! Some backyard breeders and puppy mills even put ear tagsin their breeder dogs ears or even worse, cut dogs ears as a means of quick identification! These ear tags of course would be removed before the adults are disposed of so that no one knows the true nature of why the dogs are being turned into rescue shelters. They are often turned in with names like “black dog” or simply “dog” because they never had a name in the first place.

Backyard breeders or puppy mills often breed “designer dogs” These breeders will do things like breeding merle to merle in an attempt to get more white in their puppies… in many breeds this produces blind and deaf dogs. A good and reputable breeder would never do this! backyard breeders often will try to breed for a specific color or type of dog because they can get more money for them. example they will breed two merle aussies together hoping to get the more expensive high white dogs, even though a reputable breeder wound NEVER do this because it produces blind and deaf dogs! Many will also breed two different breeds together to get designer dogs like Cocka-poo or Labradoddle which are really only mutts and not true breeds.

Backyard breeders and puppy mills often own and breed fearful agressive dogs
oftentimes backyard breeders will not let you see the parents of the puppies often saying like, “they dont like strangers” Backyard breeders will not usually let you meet the parents because they may be “fearful or aggressive to strangers” If the parents display such aggression then you should not buy a puppy because it may have the tendency for the same aggression and be unsafe with your family as it matures 

A poorly bred dog will be anxious and fearful even with family
Tail tucking means that the dog is fearful of the current situation. Imangine puppies like this! Backyard breeders and puppy mills do not do any sort of health screening on their dogs such as hip and elbow certifications to prevent hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or knee problems. These problems are prevalent in some breeds and without such screenings you can almost certify that one puppy out of the litter will have a genetic defect of some sort. They will breed dogs that look purebred but do not have papers just to get puppies, they don’t care about genetics. They may even breed registered dogs and sell you an AKC puppy but they will pick their breeders from the cheapest dogs they can find without regard to health or temperament. I even saw one gentleman who was selling puppies from a female that had such severe hip dysplasia that she could barely walk! One even posted pictures of his terrified puppies eating food with their ears back and tails tucked on pennysaverusa.com! I feel bad for anyone who bought a puppy from that man!!! I wish I had saved that picture to put here! 

Reputable breeders care about their dogs and puppies
reputable breeders take proper care of their dogs because they truely care for their dogs and the breed A good and reputable breeder takes the best care of their parent dogs because they want to produce healthy litters. They breed only once a year at the most and many only allow their females to have 2 or 3 litters before having them altered. They also keep their dogs after they can no longer produce litters because they are members of the family. 

Jake my GSD stud dog at 8 weeks of age. A reputable breeder will have given your puppy at least one set of puppy shots and have your puppy wormed before allowing him or her to join your family. They recognize that quality care produces a quality puppy. Many offer hip and elbow guarantees with their puppies at a greater price or as part of their typical puppy package. Expect to receive a contract of some sort when you buy from a reputable breeder. This contract will explain just what is guaranteed in the sale of your puppy. 

Jake doing bitework in personal protection training.

Let your breeder know just what you are looking for in a new puppy, family pet, show dog or protection sports each is a special kind of dog Expect a responsible breeder to discuss what kind of puppy you are looking for, not just breed but temperament and what you intend to do with the puppy as he grows older, are you planning on showing him, breed ring, obedience competition, dog sports, or just a family pet to go hiking, camping and to the beach with. All these things help determine which puppy will be a good match for you and your family. If you choose a puppy that will be too dominant, high drive, or not enough drive for your family and situation your breeder should try to steer you away from that puppy and help you select the one that will be right for you and your family situation.

A responsible breeder will want updates on how their puppy is doing!

Keep in touch with your breeder as they will be happy to hear updates on how your puppy is doing A responsible breeder does more than just selling you a dog. They are a source of information a resource that you should not forget about, they can advise you every step of the way in training and caring for your puppy. If your family situation changes and you find you can no longer keep your puppy the breeder may be able to help you rehome him or may even take the puppy or dog back and find it a new home for you. They care more about the dogs than they do the money and will often tell you that the money that they make from selling the puppies is often less than what they spend on their dogs!

  • Remember backyard breeders and puppy mills are in this for the money and care little for the puppies, or breeding dogs in their care.
  • Remember that responsible breeders are in this for the dogs and will not breed just any two together to get puppies. If they can not improve the breed with their puppies they will not breed. They are in this for the dogs not the money!
  • If you are looking for just a quiet family pet why not get a puppy or adult dog from a rescue group or animal shelter? Just do temperament testing to insure you get a quality pet for your family, often the shelter or rescue staff can help you choose a pet that is just right for your family
  • puppies from puppy mills and backyard breeders often have genetic defects that will show up later on in life as nervousness, fear based aggression, health problems, etc.
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