Are you considering purchasing a puppy? There are a few things that you can look for that will point to an ethical dog breeder. Not every breeder is ethical and not every breeder is able to provide you with a healthy well adjusted puppy.

You have to be careful when you are buying a dog from a breeder. You do not want to purchase a puppy from a puppy mill. You will not only wind up with costly medical bills for your new puppy and you certainly do not want to support an operation where dogs are not being treated ethically.

Unfortunately there is no national standard that dog breeders have to follow so there is no clear cut way to judge a dog breeder. You have to take matters into your own hands to be sure that you are not supporting a breeder that should be put out of business.

Visit the Facility

Before you commit to purchase a puppy go meet the parents! In some cases both the parents may not be available but you should insist on meeting mom. You can tell a lot by how a dog lives. If you see that the area where mom is kept is not clean or seems small than you know you are not in an ethical breeding environment.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Hopefully the breeder that you are considering is asking you a lot of questions! An ethical breeder is going to ask you questions and you will likely have to fill out an application of sorts so that the breeder can get to know about your living situation.

You also want to ask questions. Some things you should be asking are:

  • How old is the mother?
  • How many times has she been bred?
  • Will the puppies leave their home with shot records and a health certificate?
  • Will the puppies be socialized before leaving home?

The age of the mother is important. You want to make sure that the mom is at least two years old. Any dog bred before the age of two is not mature enough to enjoy motherhood and it also points to the quickness in which the breeder is trying to make money of his/her dog.

Asking how many times the dog has been bred is also an important questions. Over breeding a dog is a sure sign of irresponsible breeding.

Asking questions about how the puppies will be treated after they are born is very important because you need to know that you are buying a puppy from a loving environment that has been treated well.

You should find out if the puppies have been wormed and de flea-d.  Its normal for breeders, including ethical ones, to use products like advocat and frontline, but it is worth being aware that many of these products are actually dangerous for long term use. Find out more about this here in is frontline safe for dogs and puppies?

They Know Their Breed

An ethical breeder is someone that knows their breed. They can tell you everything you need to know from A-Z about the breed. They have done their homework and have the experience to make the right recommendations about their breed.  A “backyard breeder” is someone that may or may not treat their dogs ethically they are not quite as bad as the puppy mill breeders but they usually do not have the same knowledge as the professional breeder and usually do not take care of their dogs the way an ethical professional breeder does.

The level of knowledge is what sets ethical professional breeders apart from others. The fact that a breeder has taken the time to really get to know the breed is a huge plus. You might also like to see if they are knowledgable about food and dietry requirements, and some of the best breeders may know about organic foods for your pet, and otheralternative and natural treatments for fleas. So don’t be shy to ask!

Ask Your Vet

A great source of ethical breeders is your local vet. A veterinarian usually will be able to tell you which breeders treat their dogs well because they get to see the dogs regularly!

Buying a puppy is something that is not to be taken lightly so please don’t skimp on your research and due diligence, to ensure you get a happy and healthy puppy that will grow into a strong and happy dog.

Many times if you buy a puppy from a bad breeder or puppy mill, you will get a dog with health problems or even behavioural problems.  But even if you have already made that mistake don’t just give up on your dog! There is lots you can do to improve his or her behaviour and I just love watching The Dog Whisperer – (Dreamy Cesar Millan!)

Here he is with some of his toughest cases!



petBreeding dogs is a serious endeavor. There are so many horror stories about puppy mills and dog breeders gone wrong. All it takes is one bad breeder to really give a bad name to the entire industry. As a dog breeder you want to take all the necessary steps that you need to, to ensure that your business is not one of “those” businesses that wind up on the local news.

There are steps that you should take to insure that you are moving forward in an ethical manner not only to cement your place in the industry but to protect the dogs that you are breeding. There are several steps that you must take to ensure an ethical operation.

Codes of Ethics

Some breed groups have published their own code of ethics to insure that the breeders have guidelines to follow. You can use the code of ethics that is published by many of the breed group organizations. Each group uses different terms but it all comes back to the same thing. It is imperative if you are going to breed dogs than you need to be sure that you are taking the right steps to protect the dogs. For example you can see the Siberian Husky Club’s ethics code here.

Number 1

The first thing you can do is to get in the right mindset. An ethical breeder is a breeder that is concerned with the well being of the dogs above all else. You have to view the dogs, each and everyone as an extended family member.

Ask yourself regularly if you would want your children to be treated the way you treat your dogs.

Preparing Before Mating

Before you ever decide to breed your dogs you should be sure that each puppy will have a home. This is responsible breeding. You have to be sure that once the puppies are born that they will have a good responsible owner.

One of the ways that you can do this is by putting out feelers and asking for a deposit for anyone that is interested in purchasing a puppy. Taking deposits in advance (non refundable deposits) will help potential owners to follow through with their commitments.

Making sure that there will be homes for the puppies before the dam is bred will insure that you are not left with puppies that there are no homes for.

Vet Care

While it should not have to be mentioned to understand how to ethically breed dogs it will have to be addressed. Before the breeding it is imperative that both sire and dam are checked out by the vet. It is also imperative that the dam is seen regularly during her pregnancy (as regular as your vet recommends).

All around good health is important. This includes mental health. Dogs are physically ready to breed usually after about a year of age but they are not emotionally mature. If you own the dam do not breed her until she is at least 2.

Make sure you have given the appropriate worming and flea treatments to your dam and also the puppies.  Most breeders use commerical chemical flea treatments and I did this for many years until I found out about dogs having seizures because of it, and I do advise you to take a look at this link which explains the dangers of frontline plus.  Be warned that treating fleas naturally can be very difficult in high flea areas and you must also take caution not to use certain natural treatments which are harmful too.  This page from the same site has useful info on the best natural flea treatments for dogs

Puppy Care

Socialize the puppies individually from their litter mates each day so that you reduce the chance of a puppy being returned because of poor socialization skills! Get them to the vet and have them checked out and get their first set of shots.

Promise a Home

An ethical breeder will offer to take a puppy back if the situation does not work out for a buyer. An ethical breeder will also offer to take a puppy back if any of the genetic abnormalities show up.

Irresponsible Breeding

As an ethical dog breeder you can add a clause to your purchase contract that requires that your purchaser spay’s or neuters the puppy to ensure that the puppy is not used in an irresponsible breeding scenario.


Being an ethical breeder will give you and your business a huge advantage over other breeders and you will know you are doing the right thing by the wonderful creatures you help to bring into this world.