Tips on how to avoid a backyard breeders

Updated: Apr 6


It is so easy these days to download photos of beautiful dog areas and say “this is where we keep our dogs” download photos of dogs and puppies and post these photos saying puppies available. These days we need to be very careful.

If you are looking to get a new puppy from a dog breeder, you may be wondering how to find the right breeder while avoiding the wrong ones. How can you tell the difference between a responsible dog breeder and an irresponsible one (often known as a backyard breeder)?

Unfortunately, not all dog breeders are ethical and responsible. Some are more concerned with profits than the welfare of their animals. Others believe they are doing the right thing, but simply lack the knowledge and experience to be good breeders.

The term "backyard breeder" is sometimes used to describe dog breeders with little experience or knowledge, substandard conditions of care, as well as lack of selective breeding. Backyard breeders typically breed dogs without taking the time to make good genetic matches or have dogs registered with the appropriate kennel club.

Some breeders are just looking to make a profit off of so-called purebred dogs that they own. They may let dogs reproduce freely without knowledge of their family histories (health and behavioral, in particular). They pay little or no attention to genetic health issues in both the parents and the puppies. They often charge less money for the puppies than a responsible breeder. These dogs may seem less expensive, but in the long run, you may end up paying more for these dogs when health issues develop. In many cases, these breeders will not take their puppies back if something goes wrong. Never trust a breeder who won't guarantee the puppies.

Be aware that even if you get a free puppy from this situation, you could end up with an unhealthy dog down the road. If you don't mind getting a puppy with an unknown genetic history, go to your local shelter or rescue group. You can find a cute puppy that had already been checked over by a veterinarian.

When you find a dog breeder, it is essential that you check references. Talk to other families that have purchased dogs from that breeder. Check that the breeder is affiliated with the local and national breed clubs and a national kennel club. Most importantly, make sure you visit the breeding facility and meet the puppies' parents (mother at least).


What to research before you buy a puppy?

While some puppy buyers may only ask for health records to prove the puppy has seen a veterinarian and received a clean bill of health, many others will want to see the health screening results from the sire and dam. Puppy buyers are more informed than ever and understand the importance of a breeder who health tests and carefully matches dogs to improve their breed.

What to research before you buy a puppy?

All dogs are at risk of inheriting diseases, whether they're pedigree or not. Breeders can reduce the risk of producing puppies with inherited diseases in several ways:


DNA tests and health screening schemes can help breeders eliminate or reduce the risk of specific known health conditions

Avoiding mating closely related dogs can reduce the chances of unknown genetic disorders that are hidden within the genes

Once you’ve found your breeder, it’s important that you find out about the health of your potential pup's parents. Research the parents' health. Having healthy parents is the best start to life a puppy can have.

A responsible breeder will want to improve the health of the breed by breeding from only the best and healthiest dogs. Both the mother (dam) and father (sire) should have been tested or screened before mating and the results should have been carefully considered.

Health should be a priority

Assessing general health and personality

The mother of the puppies should appear happy and healthy. Any sign of illness should be a warning sign, as this may suggest sick puppies too, or could indicate that the mother has not been cared for by the breeder. If you suspect that the mother is unwell, question the breeder. Always meet the puppy's mum.

Checking physical characteristics

Dogs come in many different shapes and sizes, but regardless of what each dog looks like, it should be able to lead a happy and healthy life, which means being able to breathe, walk, hear and see freely and without discomfort

Some exaggerated features can lead to health problems, such as some dogs with wrinkles developing skin infections, prominent eyes resulting in eye problems or flat-faced dogs having breathing difficulties

When visiting a breeder, you should ensure you’ve already done your research on the breed and should always ask if the parents have had any major health problems

Next step - visit the breeder

After making initial contact with the breeder, the next step is visiting the breeder. This is important, as it will give you a chance to meet them, ask any questions you have and see what conditions your puppy has been bred in.

It is so easy these days to download photos of beautiful dog areas and say “this is where we keep our dogs” download photos of dogs and puppies and post these photos saying puppies available. So be very careful.

Finally with all the information you now have it is always a good idea to talk to your own vet to get your own expert advice 😊

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