Illinois Commercial Breeders and Pet Stores

We are constantly conducting research to learn about the scope of the puppy mill problem in Illinois, as well as throughout the country.

Below is an overview of the puppy mill industry in Illinois, specifically the breeders, brokers, and pet shops licensed with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.*

*We are currently updating this information to reflect the most recent filing period with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The data below was compiled in October 2013.  

Commercial Breeders

  • There are thousands of dogs bred in commercial breeding facilities in Illinois each year.
  • 138 “kennel operators” licensed in Illinois reported selling dogs
  • Over 6,800 dogs were sold by Illinois kennel operators
  • 7 kennel operators sold 200 or more dogs
  • 9 sold between 100-199 dogs
  • 60 sold between 25-99 dogs
  • 62 sold fewer than 25 dogs
  • These numbers only account for licensed breeders – there are many unlicensed breeders operating in Illinois


  • “Dog Dealers” are puppy brokers that transport puppies from the breeder to pet stores.
  • Dog Dealers are selling thousands of puppies to Illinois pet stores, many being imported from neighboring states.
  • 24 Dog Dealers are licensed in Illinois
  • Nearly 13,000 dogs sold from Illinois-licensed Dog Dealers
    • This figure includes dogs that are distributed nationwide; it is unknown how many of these dogs stay in Illinois or come into Illinois in the case of out-of-state dealers
    • Please note that this number is likely much higher as it does not take into account inaccuracies in reporting (some of the largest dealers, specifically the Hunte Corporation, reported zero during the reporting period at issue)
    • 12 Illinois-licensed Dog Dealers sold 100 or more dogs
      • The “Big Four” Dog Dealers are responsible for over 11,000 of the dogs sold by Illinois-licensed facilities
      • The Big Four are Conrad’s Cuddly Canines (Missouri), J.A.K.s Puppies (Iowa), Oleo Acres (Iowa), and QD Kennel (Missouri)
      • These four sell to several pet stores in Chicago and throughout Illinois.

    Pet Shops

    • 44 Pet Shop Operators licensed in Illinois reported selling dogs
    • Over 14,300 dogs were sold at Illinois pet stores
    • Major pet store chains are responsible for over 9,000 of these sales
      • Petland
      • Furry Babies
      • Happiness is Pets