Thanks to free Web site builders like SynthaSite and Homestead, puppy mills can easily project a responsible breeder image. Unless you're searching a well-regarded site like Petfinder, buyer beware! So how can you tell the difference? The HSUS compiled a breeder checklist that you can download and refer to while researching breeders.
- Here are some additional red flags:
- multiple litters available for sale
- multiple breeds available for sale
- boast "rare" sizes (mini version of a standard larger breed) or colors ("blue" Labs)
- discourage visitors to the kennel
- cannot provide credible proof of pedigree
- cannot provide credible proof of sire and dam health clearances
- In my experience, most responsible breeders:
- require an interview, application and contract
- encourage spay/neuter of your puppy
- welcome visitors
- proof of pedigree
- proof of health clearances for sire, dam and litter
- belong to a reputable breed registry, like AKC or UKC
- belong to a reputable breed parent club, like the Dalmatian Club of America or Catahoula Owners, Breeders & Research Association
- show their dogs in conformation, obedience, agility, etc.
If you're considering a purebred from a breed rescue, be sure to read "Check Out That Rescue Group!" first. As a long-time rescue volunteer, it's heartbreaking to know that there are not only unethical breeders, but unethical so-called "rescuers" who are just interested in using unwanted dogs to make money. Do your research, ask questions and take your time making this very important decision.