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Many future pet owners prefer getting purebred dogs and find local dog breeders with that purpose. There are plenty of reasons one may desire a purebred dog: you know what the dog looks like and what you’re getting, you know what the dog’s health will likely be, you know that specific breed's personality and traits.

There is a significant difference between getting a purebred dog from a reputable dog breeder and buying a dog from an illegitimate breeder (or puppy mill) that has done a poor job at breeding and raising their dogs. If you buy a dog from the wrong breeder, this may lead to an impure breed or a dog with health issues and behavioral problems, not to mention that you’d be supporting a breeder that mistreats their animals.

Before buying from any place, know how to identify a reputable breeder and choose a legitimate place. Below are some further tips on finding local dog breeders in your area using those criteria that are likely to be reputable and responsible.

RELATED: 40 Reputable Dog Breeders in the USA

16 Tips to Find Local Dog Breeders

(and how to pick the right one)

16 Tips to Find Local Dog Breeders (and how to pick the right one)

Saying that people should look for reputable dog breeders is one thing, but trying to find local dog breeders who truly care for their animals can be challenging. Use the below tips to get the best dog buying experience and avoid supporting puppy mills.

1. Ask Your Veterinarian

A good and experienced veterinarian will likely have some information on a few local dog breeders in your area. Ask your vet or his/her colleagues for any leads. If you don’t trust your veterinarian, then you'll need to find a better vet first for other reasons.

2. Ask Another Dog Owner

If you have dog-owning friends, family members, neighbors, or people you've seen around, particularly those with the breed you want, ask them where they adopted their pets and if they can help you find local dog breeders in the area. It’s not unlikely that you’ll find friends or friends of friends that have dealt with dog breeders before.

3. Contact Local Dog Clubs

Pretty much every town and city of good size has dog clubs and breeder clubs that you can contact and ask for information regarding that specific breed. These breed/dog clubs can be a great resource for you not only to find local dog breeders but also for other questions you may have regarding the breed after you've bought/adopted the dog.

Visit Local Dog Shows

4. Visit Local Dog Shows

Dog shows are full of purebred dogs and their owners. It's doubtful that most of those dogs are strays adopted from a shelter. Owners of these purebred dogs are the people that can usually give you the best advice regarding reputable dog breeders.

5. Check Out American Kennel Club

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a reputable website that provides a good amount of information regarding dog breeders in the U.S. They don’t endorse, license, or recommend breeders, but their database here will likely list a breeder in your local vicinity.

6. Look at Pup Quest Website

Another great resource is the Pup Quest website. It’s run by licensed veterinarians and has a somewhat large database of reputable dog breeders in the U.S. They also have a lot of useful information on avoiding puppy mills and how to find local dog breeders in your own area by yourself.

7. Search Online for Referrals

The Internet is full of misinformation on many canine-related topics, and dog breeders are not an exception. Still, there's useful information to be found in the sea of false data, so ask around in dog-related forums, subreddits, websites, and Facebook groups.

Here are a few to try out: DogForums.com, Dogster Community, DogForum.com, and of course Reddit: /r/DogAdvice and /r/Dogs.

8. Keep a List of Questions

When you find local dog breeders in your area, that's just the first step on your quest to buy a purebred dog. Next, you must verify the quality of dog breeders you found. The first step is to prepare a list of questions regarding the breeder’s operation – their history, documentation, practice, dogs, etc.

Inspect the Breeding Facilities

9. Inspect the Breeding Facilities

Just asking the breeder is usually not enough for determining the quality of their operation – ask to inspect the facilities in which they are breeding, treating, and raising their pups and dogs. All reputable breeders will be happy to show you around.

10. Pay Attention How Breeder Is Treating Dogs

To avoid puppy buying scams, it should go without saying that you don’t want to work with a dog breeder that mistreats their animals. Most reputable local dog breeders will go directly to showing you the pups you can purchase; however, you should also ask to see how the mothers of those pups are doing and look around at the way the staff is treating other dogs, not for sale.

11. Demeanor and Attitude of the Dogs

Don’t just look at the facilities where they are keeping their pets – look at the dogs themselves. If the dogs look lively, happy, healthy, and energetic, this means that they are well taken care of, and this should tell you that the breeder is trustworthy.

12. Number of Dog Breeds in the Facility

Most reputable dog breeders focus on one or two breeds. This is because each dog breed needs particular and personalized care. If you find local dog breeders that deal with dozens of different breeds, this more than likely means that they are a puppy mill that doesn’t take good care of their dogs. You should report them.

13. See How the Staff Behaves

It’s a good idea to wait and see whether people at the local dog breeder will offer you to come several times and interact with the dogs, if they offer to see the pups’ parents, etc. If the people at the breeder are trying to rush things and sell you a puppy as soon as possible, this is probably a breeder you don’t want to deal with.

Dog approved breeders

14. Confirm Local Dog Breeder's Credentials

Always ask to see the breeder’s credentials – whether they are registered with the AKC, their documentation on the pups’ lineages and breeds, their records for vet visits, etc. Look them up online and try to find as much information as you can.

15. Ask for References

Most reputable dog breeders will have a reference book or records of their clients’ opinions and feedback. Ask to check them out as they can give you an insight on whether you want to deal with this breeder.

16. Contracts and Health Guarantees

Lastly, never work with a dog breeder that doesn’t offer you a written contract and health certificates for the pup they are selling you. When you find reputable local dog breeders, they're likely even to encourage you all types of guarantees because they care for their animals' health.

Common Questions about Finding Responsible Dog Breeders Locally

You know that you shouldn’t typically buy a puppy from a pet store because they may be from a puppy mill. But even with all of the above information about finding responsible dog breeders, you may still have some questions. The following should clear them up.

How Can I Find a Reputable Breeder?

The best way to start is by asking friends and family if they know any reputable breeders. You can also ask your vet or check a reputable website, such as the AKC.

What Dog Breeds Are Good for People with Allergies?

Some good breeds for people with allergies include the Poodle, Maltese, Irish Water Spaniel, Italian Greyhound, Basenji, Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzer, Chinese Crested, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Bichon Frise, and Bedlington Terrier. Keep in mind that everyone’s allergies are different. You should always talk to your doctor before getting a dog if you have allergies.

How Do I Check If a Dog Breeder Is Registered?

Most responsible breeders are registered. Look for registration with the American Kennel Club or Canadian Kennel Club. You can also check for breed-specific registries or newer ones, such as the Jack Russel Terrier Club of America or the American Border Collie Association.

Is Dog Breeding Ethical?

It is better ethically to adopt a dog from a shelter than to get one from a breeder. That being said, by following the above advice, you can maximize how ethical your purchase from a breeder is. The main goal is to ensure that your breeder treats the dogs and puppies well.

READ NEXT: 50 Dog Adoption Questions They’re Going to Ask You

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16 Best Tips on Finding and Pick Local Dog Breeders