Before choosing a breeder, you should have taken a considerable amount of time to consider:
- which breed is right for you
- the amount of exercise and grooming required
- the size of the adult dog
- the cost to keep the dog throughout its life
- the reasons for selecting your chosen breed
- some of the activities you and your family would like to participate in with your dog
We highly recommend attending dog shows to help with your decision. You will be able to talk to breeders and exhibitors at the show and potentially discuss the actual purchase of your new family member. Breeders are always on-hand at shows to answer questions. They are the best source for obtaining a healthy, well-raised and well-bred puppy.
What to look for
Breeding quality dogs of sound mind and body is taken very seriously by registered breeders. Many hours are spent comparing dogs and pedigrees before decisions are made regarding matings.
Responsible breeders will always consider the advancement and improvement of the breed before breeding a litter. Some people are purely motivated by profit and only breed to produce puppies for sale - see Consumer Protection warning. At the breeder's premises, look out for other litters of your chosen breed and of other breeds. Ask when the next litter is planned.
All Dogs West members are bound to adhere to a Member’s Code of Ethics relating to the keeping, welfare, breeding and selling of dogs.
What to expect
Responsible breeders care. They raise happy and healthy puppies. This should also be reflected in the condition and temperament of the adult dogs living on the premises. Their living quarters should be clean and all dogs should appear to be well cared for. The puppies should also be clean, well conditioned, lively and friendly.
Responsible breeders should proudly show you all the dogs on their premises and allow you to handle all the puppies in a litter as soon as they have been weaned. The mother of the puppies should be in good condition, clean, happy and active. If the father lives elsewhere, you could ask for the owner’s contact details or to see photos of him.
A responsible breeder will help you with your choice and your selection of a puppy. They can answer indepth questions about the finer details of the breed. Importantly, they will be willing to provide ongoing support and advice as your puppy matures.
Most breeds have some hereditary conditions. Ask about test results and scores of parents and other members of the family and whether there are other potential health problems to watch for. Be wary of those who deny any such conditions exist in their breed, as this is unrealistic. Also ask whether the breeder is prepared to have the puppy checked by your own vet and whether you can return your puppy if any health problems eventuate.
Puppies should not leave their breeder until they are eight weeks old. They should have been treated for worms from approximately 2-3 weeks of age, and have had their first vaccination at approximately 6-7 weeks of age. Vaccination records, a copy of the pedigree record, and a puppy care and diet sheet should be available to you when, or before, you collect your puppy.
Are you a match?
Responsible breeders should ask you questions! After all, you are the potential owner of their baby who they have put so much time and effort into breeding and raising.
They should want to know things like:
- why you chose the breed
- how you propose to care for your puppy
- what facilities you have prepared at home for him to live in
- whether your premises are secure
- whether he will be required to spend time alone
- how your children feel about your new family member
- ... and more!
Making a choice
For details about dog shows and events, where you can view purebred dog breeds and chat to registered breeders, please click here.
To search for a quality breeder, please click to visit our official Registered Breeder Directory.