Finding A Breeder

Labrador Retriever Breeder

Resources For Finding A Breeder


If you decide to get a puppy from a breeder it is very important that you spend the time looking for a good breeder. Please take a moment to read the information about Puppy Mills! You can get recommendations from friends and breed clubs — some veterinarians are also willing to make recommendations. Once you have a list of prospective breeders, you should do an initial phone screening. If the phone screening goes well, arrange a visit so you can look at the conditions where the dogs are being raised and meet the mother and other dogs. You can also ask for references of other owner’s who have adopted pups from the breeder in the past.

You’ll probably have to wait awhile before you can get your puppy — many good breeders have homes waiting before the pups are born. It is well worth the wait to find the right breeder and the right puppy. You and the dog will likely be together for the next twelve years! Also, don’t look for a “bargain” priced puppy — the purchase price of the dog is little compared with the cost of vet bills and heartache of an unhealthy puppy.

Tips On Recognizing A Good Breeder

A good breeder:

  • Is knowledgable about the breed — including both temperment and heredity problems common to the breed. It is not enough to “love” the dogs, you also want a breeder who knows all about the breed.
  • Understands genetics and is breeding responsibly to further the health and well-being of the breed. A good breeder has tested all her dogs, knows and can show you the complete health history of both dam and sire, and can show you hip and eye certification.
  • Will ask you lots of questions to make sure you will be a good owner. A good breeder truly cares about her pups and wants to find the best homes possible for them.
  • Can show you the pedigree of the dam and sire and can explain why she chose the pairing.
  • Will take the puppy back at any time should you decide you don’t want it — the pups are her top priority and she would much rather take the pup back herself than have it end up in a shelter.
  • Is eager to answer any questions you have and works to educate you about the breed. A good breeder will tell you that you can call at any time — even in the middle of the night — after you bring your pup home.
  • Is happy to have you come visit and will show you the dam and other dogs on the premises (although a breeder likely won’t want you to get too close to very young pups for their own health and safety). Mistrust any breeder who discourages you from coming to visit, or won’t show you where the dogs are actually living! The living quarters should be clean and look pleasant.
  • Has dogs that are happy, health, and well-socialized.
  • Does not breed too many dogs, and does not breed any one dog too often. Dogs need considerable care when they are bred, and puppies need the time to be watched and socialized. Beware of any breeder who has a long list of available litters — how much time could that breeder possibly be spending on socializing each pup?! Also, dogs should not be bred each time they come into season.
  • Ask the breeder how they first got interested in breeding — the answer to that question can reveal a lot about their commitment to the breed and to their own dogs.
  • Will ask you to sign a spay/neuter contract and (if you aren’t showing the dog) limited registration. The AKC offers these limited registrations to prevent unwanted puppies in the future.
  • Does not breed more than two different breeds of dogs. Beware the breeder who can offer you a menu of different breeds to choose from! You want a breeder who is knowledgable about and committed to the breed.

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