Many future pet owners prefer getting purebred dogs, and will try to find local dog breeders with that purpose. There are plenty of reasons one may desire a purebred dog – you know exactly 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, and so on.
However, there is a significant difference between getting a purebred dog from a reputable dog breeder and getting a dog from an illegitimate breeder (or puppy mill) that has done a poor job at breeding and raising the dogs. Getting a dog from the wrong breeder may lead to having a dog from an impure breed or a dog with health problems, not to mention that you’d likely be supporting a breeder that mistreats their animals.
You can read more here on how to identify a reputable breeder, and below are some tips on how to find local dog breeders in your area using that criteria that are likely to be reputable and responsible.
ALSO READ: 40 Reputable Dog Breeders in the USA
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 actually trying to find local dog breeders that truly care for their animals can be a challenge.
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.
Ask Another Dog Owner
If you have dog owning friends, family members, neighbors or people you've seen around, particularly those with the breed that 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.
Contact Local Dog Clubs
Pretty much every town and city of a 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 bough/adopted the dog.
Dog shows are full of purebred dogs and their owners. It's very unlikely 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.
Check Out American Kennel Club
The American Kennel Club 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.
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.
Search Online for Referrals
The Internet is full of misinformation on many canine related topics and dog breeders are not an exception. Still, in the sea of false data, there's useful information to be found, 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, reddit.com/r/dogs.
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 go prepared with a list of questions regarding the breeder’s operation – their history, documentation, practice, dogs, etc.
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.
Pay Attention How Breeder Is Treating Dogs
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.
Demeanor and Attitude of the Dogs
Don’t just look at the facilities in which they are keeping their pets – look at the dogs themselves. If the dogs look lively, happy, healthy and energetic, this means that they are being well taken care of and this should tell you that the breeder is trustworthy.
Number of Dog Breeds in the Facility
Most reputable dog breeders focus on one or two breeds. This is because each dog breed needs very specific 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.
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 go see the pups’ parents, etc. If the people at the breeder are just 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.
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.
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.
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 local dog breeders that are reputable, they're likely to even encourage you all types of guarantees because they care for their animals' health.