Ethical breeders make, at most, a small profit that covers expenses such as health screening for genetic disorders, stud fees, and vet costs. They also have a wealth of knowledge about their breed, dog nutrition, and training.
Responsible breeders usually require buyers to sign a contract with a return-to-breeder clause in an emergency. They will also provide you with both parents’ pedigrees.
Often, good breeders don’t advertise at all, instead working solely off of personal referrals and affiliations with kennel clubs, dog shows, trainers, veterinarians, and groomers. These individuals live by the unspoken credo, “from the womb to the tomb,” which means that they take responsibility for their puppies and only want to place them with loving, nurturing, enriching, and lifelong training homes. They may interview you to ensure you are a good fit and have the time and resources for the breed.
Good breeders that offer Mini Goldendoodles for sale will also ask you about your previous dog-owning experience and home environment — such as other pets, family members’ work schedules, and whether you have a fenced-in backyard. They may also conduct home visits. Austin says this is a great way to see how a breeder cares for their puppies and assess how the puppy will do in your home.
Beware sellers who refuse to allow you to visit the facility where the puppies are born and raised or insist on meeting in a public place like a parking lot. These are red flags that indicate the breeder operates a puppy mill. Reputable breeders should be proud of their facilities and happy to show them off. They should also be able to discuss the history and health of the breed they are breeding and their own experience with the dogs.
Visit the Kennel
It is best to visit the breeder, or if you can’t physically see, at least request a video-conferencing session to observe the environment and how the dogs are treated. The breeder should be able to answer your questions about the puppies and their parents. They should also be able to connect you with other people who have bought puppies from them so you can ask them about their experiences with the breeder and the pups.
Reputable breeders usually want to know a great deal about the people who purchase their puppies, including the purchasers’ lifestyle, daily routine, family history, and history of keeping dogs. This ensures that the puppies will be placed in homes where they will be well-cared for and able to live a long, happy life.
They will also usually want to see your backyard, fenced-in yard, and the home itself (stairs may present issues with some breeds). They will ask you about your work and family schedule and whether or not you have a secure kennel or outdoor area for the dog.
A good breeder should be willing to give you copies of any health clearances the puppies have received and copies of their parent’s health records. Be wary of any breeder who refuses to do so – this is a big red flag and likely indicates that they operate a mill rather than a legitimate breeder.
Check Out Their Website
A reputable breeder will have an excellent website with clear pictures of their dogs. Look for how long they have been breeding, the mother’s pedigree (family tree), and health clearances for both parents.
A responsible breeder cares about each and every one of their puppies and will be able to talk openly about their kennel operation. They will also be members of their breed club and the national kennel club (in Canada, this is the Canadian Kennel Club) and adhere to their code of ethics.
They will screen you carefully, just as a rescue organization would, to ensure that your lifestyle and breed knowledge are a good match for their puppy. They will ask you questions about how you will be living with the dog and what you do for a living to make sure that their puppy is going into a home where they can thrive.
The sales contract will contain provisions requiring neutering and spaying as well as the option to return a puppy (for a portion of the purchase price) if you are unable to retain it for any reason. They will provide a Puppy Pack that includes the puppy’s medical records, microchip information, a copy of the sales contract, and any other documentation you may need. They can also help you with ongoing email, phone, or in-person support.
Ask for References
As part of their commitment to placing puppies in good homes, reputable breeders ask for references from clients who have purchased them. You can then call them to learn about their experience with the breeder and whether their pups have been healthy, happy additions to their lives.
A reputable breeder will include a return policy in the sales contract. She wants to know that the dogs she breeds will be well cared for throughout their lives and that if you ever find yourself in a situation where you can no longer keep your dog, you can always send it back to her.
She will also give a puppy pack that has the following documents: a health certificate from the vet listing shots the puppy’s vaccination history, feeding guidelines and food the puppies are used to, registration materials from the American Kennel Club, and a mother and father’s pedigree. If she does not, that is a red flag.
Expect to be interrogated by a responsible breeder with an unwritten philosophy, “from the womb to the tomb.” They care deeply about the puppies they produce and want to ensure they go to loving life-long homes. So they may ask seemingly invasive questions, like how much time you spend away from home, whether you have other animals, if your yard has stairs, and how you plan to train the dog.