6 signs of a responsible dog breeder

Many in the dog community think the phrase ‘ethical breeder’ is an oxymoron. People who buy dogs from illegal dog breeders support an exploitative and cruel industry. Ethical breeding has many gray areas and can easily turn unethical with one wrong decision. Therefore, if you are inclined to buy a dog you should look beyond ethical breeders and familiarize yourself with how to identify a responsible breeder so that you get your pup home the proper way. 

Let’s look at some key signs which help in identifying responsible dog breeders from the lot.

dog breeders india

1. A thorough vetting process

A responsible dog breeder is not a shop that sells puppies where you can walk in and exchange cash for a dog. Responsible breeders pay great attention to the dog’s lineage and sell their puppies only to the best-suited clients. Therefore, you will undergo background checks and a thorough vetting process before they agree to sell to you. The breeders do this to ensure that their dogs will be safe and healthy in their prospective homes since they might continue mating those dogs later and because they often breed dogs for show purposes. If you are a first-time dog parent, you can ask your breeder to choose a dog with the right temperament for you. Your breeder will do that in the interest of the puppy.

It is common to be put on a waitlist at a responsible breeder. They do not breed the dam (female dog) every heat cycle. Dams at responsible breeders are bred at a gap of at least 2 years, and you might have to wait until the dam is ready for her next litter. This is a good sign – the puppies and mother dogs live healthier lives this way. Do not get impatient; all good things take time! Responsible breeders put you through a long process but you can always turn to them for help in caring for the puppy.

2. Access to dog's records and documents

Breeding dogs is a science, not a business, and genuine breeders treat it as such. If you approach a responsible breeder, they will be able to give you a detailed history of the dog’s bloodline, with medical records and other documents. They take significant steps to ensure they sell purebred dogs that adhere to breed guidelines and do not carry genetic issues.

Furthermore, they do not breed dogs as per the latest trends or colors. For them, the quality of the breed is paramount. It is your right to ask about the puppy’s bloodline and look at the parents’ medical records and documents. Exercise that right to ensure you’re dealing with a reputable breeder.

Your neighborhood backyard breeder will not be able to give you such details in-depth. A miss on your part could mean your precious dog will have to live with genetic issues. Illegal breeders have been known to dye and sell rare-colored dogs. Be careful when dealing with such sellers.

3. You'll get to meet the puppy's parents

Breeders use social media for advertising their puppies. You can only ascertain the difference between responsible and illegal ones when you visit them.

An ethical breeder will willingly share details of the puppy’s parents. They are known to take care of the dogs they mate with so that the dogs and their offspring remain healthy. You will be able to see the puppy’s parents, as well as the conditions in which they live. Make sure you demand to see them. Even if you cannot meet the sire (father), you should be able to see the dam (mother);

She should look healthy and alert, as should the puppies. They should be friendly towards humans. Pay attention to the hygiene around the area – many infections among puppies result from poor hygiene; responsible breeders will not risk that. The dam should have a sanitary space to whelp (feed) her puppies. Illegal breeders will probably show you a photo of the parent dogs (which can be a random image from the internet) and push you to finalize the sale online. They will try to weasel out of actually showing you the dogs, which means you won’t get to check their health or hygiene.

4. Positive preliminary health check on the puppy

Since puppies that live with their mother until she naturally weans them off tend to be healthier, ethical breeders hand over puppies only after they are about 8-weeks old. During this time, the puppies have received their first vaccinations – you should get medical records of your puppy from the breeder.

While receiving your puppy, let the puppy stand, walk, and run, and observe him/her for any deformities or mobility issues. Pay half the amount for the puppy, then take him/her to a trusted vet for a quick health check-up. Pay the remaining amount only if everything is okay with your puppy.

In a bid to make money quickly and save on vaccinations, illegal breeders will sell you a 4-week-old puppy. Puppies separated from their mothers at such a young age tend to develop immune deficiencies and health issues over their life, as well as behavioral hiccups. Many illegal breeders also hand puppies over in baskets so that they can get away with selling puppies with mobility issues and deformities.

5. Availability of a contract

Responsible breeders ask their buyers to sign a contract when selling a puppy. The agreement usually states that the customer will not breed the dog without the breeder’s knowledge. Many breeders add a clause to keep a couple of puppies from the litter. The agreement also defines when the dog can undergo sterilization, if at all.

Favor breeders that have a return clause in the agreement. A return clause states that the puppy bought from the breeder can be returned at any age and due for any reason. Responsible breeders follow up on their dog’s health and well-being and return clauses ensure they take full responsibility for their dogs even if the customer cannot. You want to get a puppy from someone you can rely on to this extent.

Illegal breeders only care for monetary exchange and shirk any responsibility after you walk out of their shop. Many pretend they do not recognize you even if you go in an hour later.

6. Pricing

Puppies from responsible breeders are significantly more expensive than those bought from illegal breeders. Illegal breeders try to sell as many puppies as possible to make a quick buck. For responsible breeders, the priority is a discerning customer- someone with whom their puppy will be safe. Many of them filter their customers out using price as a tool. Of course, this is the last consideration for someone looking for a responsible breeder. You may simply be talking to an illegal breeder looking to charge a massive sum of money, so make sure they check all the other boxes before this one.

Responsible breeders are rare and make you work hard to get the puppy of your choice. However, if you’re buying a dog, they are the only way to go. The thorough process affirms both their commitment as breeders, as well as your dedication as a pet parent. Please ensure your money does not support the exploitation of animals. If you believe that getting a dog from a responsible breeder is not your cup of tea, explore adopting, rehoming, or fostering a dog instead of turning to illegal breeders.

Adopting a dog is always a better choice! But if you are inclined more towards buying them, then remember these signs so that we don’t support the unethical dog breeding industry.