Now that you have figured out what breed(s) may fit your lifestyle (see our previous blog if you missed it!) let’s talk about how to screen your future puppy’s breeder.
First up, health testing. A breeder that has nothing to hide will be up front and honest about their dogs health testing. If their results are not on their website ask for them. And not just taking their word for it. See proof. If you are not sure what testing your breed(s) need check out the Breed Clubs. Here is an example for the Labrador Retriever: https://thelabradorclub.com/health-training/health-issues/recommended-health-clearances/
Once you have verified your potential breeder(s) have indeed done the recommending testing check out what they do with their dogs. Are they showing them? Do they do sports with them? Even though I do not show my dogs in the conformation ring, this is still important to me. Why? Because I want a dog that conforms to their breed standard. I want my dog’s to live long, healthy lives. Genetics plays a big role here. I don’t want a puppy that is not well built. I do some sports with my dogs so I am not interested in a dog that is put together poorly. A well built dog will cost my wallet less in the long term! They will not be as prone to injuries as a poorly built counterpart.
Check out the breeders accomplishments. If you aren’t sure what the titles mean do a quick google search!
Next, ask if your potential breeder(s) do Puppy Culture or Avidog with their pups. The benefits of these early puppy protocols are absolutely incredible! They tend to be bolder and more confident pups than those who have not done the program. You will also bring home a puppy that is nearly fully potty trained if they have done the program! I will probably never bring home another puppy not raised by one of these protocols.
Lastly, ask the breeder how they place their puppies. A really solid breeder will place their puppies with their new homes based on their temperaments and what the family desires their puppy to do. This is a hard one for me to deal with too, but it is so worth it! The breeder that Sarah and I selected for our Miniature American Shepherds matched the dogs to us based on our wishes in a dog and the pup’s temperaments. I could not be happier with my little dragon. It was so, so hard though.
Miniature American Shepherds can come in all sorts of fun, flashy colors. I have 4 Blue Merles at home already and really, really, really wanted a red pup. But, I did not want my desires to influence the puppy selection process so I kept that bit to myself and told her whatever she picked would be perfect. There were 15 puppies and only 4 of them were red. I figured no way I was going to be that lucky! But, I did get that lucky, and got a red merle who is absolutely perfect for me in every way. First on my list of desires was a dog that could relax followed by a dog that could work in lots of different environments. She nailed it. A quick note on all the flashy colors. I would consider any breeder selling a puppy for more money because it is a “rare” color a big red flag. Vet them carefully. If you are considering a breed that comes in all sorts of fun colors, try really hard to pretend they are all Golden Retriever puppies and let their personalities do the talking.
I hope this blog helps you select a great dog breeder for your next 4 legged member of the family!