Finding a reputable dog breeder

May 8, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:

I want to get a Golden Retriever.  I looked online and found a dog breeder that is located about an hour away. They seem to be honorable, but how can I confirm that they are reputable before I proceed? 

Consumer Ed says:

There have been many instances of puppy scams in recent years so you should take time to research the dog breeder and be aware of “red flags” of a potential scam.

Here are some tips from the Humane Society and the Better Business Bureau to help ensure that the breeder is reputable and the dog is healthy:

  • Never buy a pet without seeing it in person.
  • When you visit the breeder, ask to see the living arrangements of the puppies. Those conditions should be clean and spacious, and the puppies should appear healthy and lively.
  • A reputable breeder should encourage you to spend time with the puppy’s parents – at least its mother.
  • The breeder should be knowledgeable about the breed and offer guidance for the care and training of your puppy.  He/she should ask you questions too, such as why you want a dog, whether you have had pets before and whether you plan to spay/neuter the dog or actively show it.
  • Ask the breeder for references of people who have purchased puppies from them.
  • Ask to see veterinary records for each dog you are interested in.
  • If you are getting a purebred dog, check the pedigree and make sure the breeder has provided documentation of the parents’ registration with the appropriate kennel club.
  • Read the contract thoroughly before you sign and make sure any health guarantees are in writing.
  • Beware of additional costs mentioned by the seller. Bad-faith sellers will often draw consumers in using low prices, only to charge them additional fees later.
  • Paying with a credit card offers you the best protection in case of fraud. Be particularly wary if the breeder insists you pay through Western Union or MoneyGram since these transactions are almost impossible to trace.

Submit your own question to Consumer Ed.  Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.