Responsible Breeder Checklist

Responsible Breeder Photo 1

Responsible breeders treat their dogs like part of the family. They are treated like companion animals, not livestock.

Responsible breeders want to know as much about you as you do about them. If the breeder won’t allow you to see where the breeding dogs are living, you should walk away.

In contrast to puppy mills, responsible breeders:

  • Do not sell their puppies to pet stores or to pet brokers.
  • Do not sell their puppies over the Internet.
  • Provide appropriate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care for their animals, as well as sanitary conditions.
  • Carefully screen potential buyers and take care to place their puppies in loving homes.
  • Take proper care of breeding dogs. Mothers are only bred a limited amount of times and receive appropriate veterinary care.
  • Typically specialize in one or two breeds and care about the breed. They are knowledgeable about their breeds’ genetic and health issues. They test and screen their breeding dogs to try to improve the breed and ensure healthy puppies.
  • Maintain only a small number of dogs. Responsible breeders are typically hobby breeders and are almost always too small to require USDA-licensure.
  • Operate with transparency. Responsible breeders allow potential purchasers to tour the property to see the living conditions of the dogs and meet the breeding mother/parents.
  • Properly socialize their puppies and ensure that puppies are with their mothers for an adequate amount of time.
  • Maintain membership in national and local breed clubs. Breed clubs strongly discourage consumers from purchasing puppies from pet stores and their ethical guidelines often do not allow for breeders to sell to pet stores.