How to recognize an ethical breeder
Every animal owner and lover supports rescuing, and it is absolutely a vital solution to the overpopulation problem in our country. I am a huge supporter of rescue groups personally and support it by fosterng when possible. However, it may not always be the right option for everyone, especially in the search for a purebred dog. The down side to rescuing is that the overwhelming majority of purebred dogs in shelters and rescues originate from irresponsible, unethical breeders, and therefore have no known pedigree, genetic history, temperament history, etc. These are what are referred to as “backyard breeders”. Some may be AKC registered, but as you’ll see further down, this means practically nothing and is not indicative of quality. This statistic means they often potentially come with health problems linked to their breed and/or behavioral problems caused by poor breeding or poor socialization/training growing up. There can be gems found in rescues that came from good stock (or just got lucky) and are healthy/stable, but these are few and far between. So if you would like to obtain a specific breed of dog from a shelter or rescue, please make sure you are fully prepared and ready to spend money on a professional trainer and potential extended Veterinary costs beyond the norm if it ends up being necessary.
Questions to ask your potential breeder
Have the parents been DNA/health tested against congenial defects & diseases? This is SO IMPORTANT. Some people may say, papers and health testing is not important to me because i'm not going to show or breed.... Unfortunately, this is the mindset that allows heart murmurs, bad teeth, bad patellas, blindness, and more to continue to travel in the gene pool of this lovely little breed. DONT BUY from people who breed for money, and don't care about the genetics of their dogs. If you do, you are inadvertently causing dogs to suffer in the future from these problems.
Could we facetime? (you can confirm you are dealing with a real person, and your can see your potential puppy live) This allows you also to the see the different temperaments of the puppies. If your are a couch potato, you may want the timid, calm puppy in the corner. If your love to power walk, or would like to show in agility classes, your may want a puppy with a more outgoing, energetic personality.
Could i have your vets number? (Call the vet and find out if the parents have been properly cared for and if your health certificate is legitimate) With today's technology, it is quite easy for people to falsify documents. If your puppy is flying, it should have a health certificate, wormed/fecal exam and age appropriate shots. If your puppy is traveling across state lines, it should have a CIV certificate.
Do you offer a health guarantee? Any reputable breeder will stand behind their puppies 100% because they know they are only breeding healthy parents. The health guarantee should be dated, and signed by both yourself and the breeder.
Do not purchase a puppy from anyone who offers to let your take it any earlier than 8 weeks. One, it is against state law, and two leaving the mother too early affects a puppies mental & physical health.
Credit: Some of the information included in this post were the opinions of Pink Noses & Pink Scrubs (licensed Veterinary Technician)