How to Find a Reputable Breeder
When people contact me in regards to acquiring one of my boxer puppies, I often get asked questions on how to spot the “Good” breeders from the “Bad” ones. I compiled list of questions to help prospective, puppy parents determine what kind of breeder they are dealing with. Whether you buy a boxer puppy from me or from someone else, my goal is that you receive a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder. I have included explanations to as why some of these guidelines are so important. These guidelines can be used for any breed of dog.
Red Flags that the breeder is not reputable:
Avoid anyone offering to “help” import a “Top Quality” puppy from Europe because they have connections with the best kennels in Europe. The top boxer kennels in Europe and in the United states DO NOT need any help placing their puppies. Reputable breeders do not give their puppies to a ‘online retailer’ (even if created by a veterinarian) to sell to people they have never met. This middle-man is called a ‘broker’ and he/she should be treated with the same distain as buying a puppy from a puppy mill or pet store. The prices are over inflated and the puppies are of the poorest quality.
Breeders that breed more than 1 breed. Tip~check the domain name of the website, if it mentions 2 different breeds...Beware. Boxers breeders already have a lot to consider with American and European bloodlines that are vastly different. Most American boxer breeders will not know the bloodlines on a European pedigree and vice versa. Breeders that breed more than one breed are not breeding quality in either.
Licensed by the USDA. According to http://www.pupquest.org/about-breeders.html This is a red flag for puppy mills. IF the breeder is required to have a USDA license it is because they produce A LOT of puppies or the IMPORT A LOT of puppies. The USDA monitors AKC registrations and Importations of dogs to see if the if a license is required.
Below is a list of questions that you can ask a breeder to help you determine if they are reputable or not.
- Do they do something with their dogs, besides breeding? Do they show, work, or compete their dogs? Do they belong to their breed clubs, local canine clubs, or training clubs?
A good breeder will show their dogs or compete with them. This is not limited to just AKC conformation. It can be Obedience, Agility, Rally, Schutzhund, Field trials, etc. They will also belong to their breed club, local canine club or training club.
- Good breeders have a network of Veterinarians that they work with. How long have they been with this Vet and can you contact the Vet for a reference?\
A good breeder will have a long relationships with their Veterinarian(s) Some will have multiple Vets for specific areas such as reproduction, cardiology, one for ear crop.The reputable breeder will allow you to speak with their Vet regarding their dogs and puppies. IF the breeder jumps from general veterinarian to another general veterinarian often... this could be a potential red flag
- Are there Champion or Titled dogs in the first 3 generations of the pedigree?
If the only champions in the pedigree are in the Great –Great Grandparents, you have a poorly bred dog that has been far removed from quality. There should be at least one champion parent in every breeding.
- Do they health test their dogs? Do they know the health issues that face their breed and what health tests are required to clear their dogs for breeding? Do they have documentation? Can they explain the test results to you?
A good breeder knows and can explain the health issues facing his or hers breed. They know which tests need to be preformed, and can explain the test results to you. They should also provide documentation such as OFA certification on their dogs.
- Can you go and visit the puppy’s parents? Does the breeder allow you to see where the puppies are kept? Are they home raised or outside in a kennel?
Good breeders will allow you to make an appointment to come and see their dogs. Most cautious breeders will not allow you to see newborn puppies until they reach a certain age because they are vulnerable to disease. This time frame varies from breeder to breeder. I believe 6 weeks old is an ideal time.
- How many litters has the mother had? How old is she?
Female dogs should not be bred on their 1stheat and should not have more than 4 litters in their lifetime. Boxer females shall be at least 18 months old and not older than 6 years old at the time of breeding.
- When do the puppies go to their new homes?
Puppies should not go to their new homes until they reach 8 weeks of age. Mom may have stopped nursing them but, puppies need to be with their siblings until they are 8 weeks old for proper social development.
- Does the breeder offer a health guarantee? Are the puppies seen by a Veterinarian before they are released to their new home? Are first vaccines given by a licensed veterinarian?
Good Breeders will offer a health guarantee of at least 2 years and 1stshots (puppy vaccines) given by a licensed veterinarian. Vaccines given by breeders will only be disreguarded and repeated by licensed veterinarians. The reason being that licensed Vets will not trust that the vaccine was handled and stored properly by the breeder to ensure that it is viable.
- Can you contact their vet as a reference?
Good breeders will be able to give you references and allow you to contact their veterinarian with their permission.
- Are their dogs and puppies registered?
All of their dogs will be registered and puppies registerable.
- If you are not longer able to keep your dog, will the breeder take it back?
Good breeders will always take their babies back!
Here are some links to other websites that also give some good guidelines on How to find a Reputable Breeder.