Finding good dog breeders is challenging because of how popular and lucrative the dog breeding industry has become, resulting in many places to choose from nationwide.
However, picking a responsible dog breeder over puppy mills is essential for many reasons.
Table of Contents
- What Are Reputable Dog Breeders?
- The Selection Process for Our 40 Reputable Dog Breeders
- 40 Reputable Dog Breeders in the United States
- CTC Aussies
- Farmhouse Hounds
- Legend Bichons
- Embrace Border Collies
- Dogwood Border Terriers
- Ultimate Bulldogs
- Glenna Wright Glentom Bull Terriers
- Balgaire Cavaliers
- Silvercreek Chesapeakes
- Natelsong Chihuahuas
- Llys Draig Corgis
- Kenmar Hounds
- Horizon Dobermans
- Vom Haus Hall (Cook Farm Kennels)
- Kicking Bear
- Mi Karma German Shorthaired Pointers
- Nalyn’s Golden Retrievers
- Daynakin Great Danes LLC
- Legends Greyhounds
- Boondocks Irish Wolfhounds
- Rhamah Italian Greyhounds
- Dove Hill Labradors
- FFT Lhasa Apsos
- Rhapsody Maltese
- Belle Harbour Newfoundlands
- Involo Papillons
- Stonehaus Poodles
- Coral Bay Pugs
- Majestic Giants
- Roki Yama Shibas
- Snoebear Siberians
- Absolute Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- EveningStar Kennels
- Venture Weims
- Cherokee Legends Bulldogs
- Camloch Collies
- Cutwater Portuguese Water Dogs
- SilverHill Rottweilers
- Mockingbird Hill Kennel
- Suma Kennels
There are several factors to consider to ensure your new dog has a healthy genetic history and avoid supporting shady practices.
We’ve spent weeks going through hundreds of dog breeding businesses in the country and found the 40 most reputable dog breeders in the USA with a history of responsible breeding.
What Are Reputable Dog Breeders?
Many aspects will quality the right breeder as “reputable,” but it’s mostly a commitment to the health of the breed and prioritizing care for that specific breed over profit.
To help you find a responsible dog breeder, here are the factors considered when picking out these reputable breeders in the USA.
Breeders will provide a written health guarantee for their puppies because they are confident in the genetics behind their puppies. There’s no reason for them to hind anything.
While breeders might not complete some health clearances on very young puppies, reputable breeders will have complete health clearance information for both parent dogs (here’s an example from GRCA).
Clearance on parent dogs should be a minimum of “fair” and “clear” grading, but higher grading is preferable – that being a rating of “excellent” or “good.”
Written Bill of Sale
Reputable breeders will provide a written and signed bill of sale for their puppies that also outlines the responsibilities of the buyer and seller in the transaction. It will usually look something like this.
Return of Puppy Guarantee
A responsible dog breeder will require a return of puppy guarantee, which means that at any time, if you cannot keep your puppy, you guarantee that you will return the puppy to the breeder rather than taking them to the shelter.
Any breeder that cares for their dogs will have this clause.
Any responsible breeder will make sure that their puppies are up to date on their vaccinations before sending them home to you.
The breeders will provide you a proof for this, and the vaccinations must follow WSAVA’s guidelines (or guidelines of any other reputable health organization like AVMA).
No Sale Sight Unseen
No reputable breeder would have sold their puppies sight unseen. Because they care for their dogs, it’s important for a breeder to see buyers before selling dogs to them and for you to see a puppy before buying one.
This action lets the dog breeder ensure that you are a responsible buyer who knows what they’re getting into, and you can be sure that you are receiving a healthy puppy.
Age Appropriate Sale
The first 8 to 12 weeks of a puppy’s life are crucial to their health and socialization, and the mother dog plays an essential role in this.
For this reason, reputable dog breeders will not separate puppies from their mothers until a minimum of 8 weeks old.
Willingness to Answer Questions
Any responsible breeder will be willing to answer any questions you might have about their breeding program, dogs, and distinctions.
They often encourage questions and will have plenty of their own. If a breeder is reluctant to answer your questions or evasive in their answers – be wary.
Following the above and below guidelines (and common sense) on comparing between responsible dog breeders and puppy mills, you must figure out if the place you’re about to buy a dog from is worth it or not, even if the breeder isn’t in the list below of most reputable American dog breeders.
The Selection Process for Our 40 Reputable Dog Breeders
In addition to the considerations noted above, several other factors were considered when selecting our forty most reputable dog breeders in the USA.
1. AKC Listing
AKC listing alone does not signify a reputable breeder. Still, it’s a good sign when a breeder puts forth the effort to register with the American Kennel Club in combination with other factors.
The non-profit organization also has a list of programs to emphasize the reputability of a breeder further.
All of the reputable dog breeders on the list below are in recognition by the AKC.
2. Contact Information Listing
A responsible and reputable breeder won’t hesitate to provide their contact information and make themselves available to current or future clients.
We only selected breeders that publicly offered a phone number, email, and URL for their kennel and were easy to get in touch with.
3. Health Testing and Clearances
Health testing and clearances are crucial in producing genetically sound puppies.
Reputable dog breeders on our below list are all from health-tested and cleared AKC registered parent dogs.
4. Participation in AKC Events
Participation in AKC events isn’t a marker of a reputable breeder on its own, but it is a sign that a breeder is dedicated to producing a well-rounded dog and willing to put the work in to do that.
Top dog breeders listed below all participate in AKC events with their dogs.
5. Breed Club Registration/Membership
There are numerous canine breed clubs that breeders can register with. Each breed club has its requirements and membership fees.
Registration with dog breed clubs does not guarantee a good breeder, but it is a sign of commitment to the breed and another level of checkups (see the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America).
All of the responsible breeders on our below list have at least one breed club.
6. AKC Breeder of Recognition/Merit
The AKC has a program that recognizes reputable dog breeders as businesses of recognition or merit.
These breeders have incredibly successful breeding programs and have produced dogs that excelled in AKC competitions and sports.
Not all reputable dog breeders on the list are businesses of recognition or merit, but a large number of them are, and we’ve considered this as a ranking factor.
40 Reputable Dog Breeders in the United States
Breed: Australian Shepherd
Location: Ellensburg, Washington
Phone: (509) 962-8945
CTC Aussies undergo health testing for Hips, Eyes, OFA, CERF, MDR1, and HSF4.
Previous dogs from CTC Aussies have excelled in conformation, performance; the breeder is AKC-recognized, the United States Australian Shepherd Association (USASA), and the Western Washington Australian Shepherd Association (WWASA).
CTC is also an AKC breeder of merit.
Breed: Basset Hound
Location: Jasper, Georgia
Phone: (770) 655-3311
Farmhouse Hounds basset hounds undergo thorough health testing and are bred from imported championship European line dogs and American bred Bassets.
This family-owned breeder has recognition by the AKC and has been in business for over 40 years.
Breed: Bichon Frise
Location: Sacramento, California
Phone: (916) 560-3354
Legend Bichons are bred from championship lines and undergo all necessary health clearances before breeding.
Previous dogs from Legend Bichons have excelled as show dogs, therapy dogs.
The AKC recognizes them as a breeder of merit, the Bichon Frise Club of America (BFCA), and is known as a breeder of certified therapy dogs and WKC champions.
Embrace Border Collies
Breed: Border Collie
Location: Paso Robles, California
Phone: (805) 296-8844
Embrace border collies undergo health testing for Hips, Elbows, Eyes, Thyroid, CEA, TNS, CL, BAER, CERF, MDR1.
Previous dogs from Embrace Border Collies have excelled in AG, CO, HD, OB, RA, TH, and nose work.
This breeder gained recognition by the AKC and the BCSA (the Border Collie Society of America.)
Dogwood Border Terriers
Breed: Border Terrier
Location: Jones, Michigan
Phone: (269) 244-8556
Dogwood Border Terrier sires and dams all have the necessary health clearances before breeding and fit well among the most reputable dog breeders.
Previous Dogwood kennel dogs have taken part in conformation and barn hunt.
Dogwood kennels are an AKC breeder of merit and a member of the Border Terrier Club of America.
Location: New Milford, New Jersey
Phone: (201) 753-1393
Ultimate Bulldogs undergo health testing through OFFA and Gensol. Guardian Ultimate Bulldogs are a show kennel, and all puppies are AKC Champion sired and from the best bloodlines in the world.
Ultimate Bulldogs are members of the Bulldog Club of America, Long Island Bulldog Club, and The Capital Bulldog Club.
They are also a Hall of Fame Bulldog Breeder and an AKC breeder of merit.
Glenna Wright Glentom Bull Terriers
Breed: Bull Terrier
Location: Glenwood, Arkansas
Phone: (870) 356-4722
Glenna Wright Glentom Bull Terriers undergo health testing, including echocardiogram, UPC ration, patella (kneecap) luxation clearance, and BAER testing.
Glenna Wright Glentom Bull Terriers breed champion show dogs.
Glenna Wright Glentom Bull Terriers are members of the Bull Terrier Club of America (BTCA), BTC Dallas, and Texas Gulf Coast BTC members.
Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Location: Seabeck, Washington
Phone: (360) 830-5760
Balgaire Cavaliers perform all applicable health screens on the sire and dam as recommended by the Parent Club for this breed and provide a health guarantee on their puppies.
Previous dogs from Balgaire Cavaliers have excelled in conformation and performance.
Balgaire Cavaliers are a member of the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, Inc., and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of Puget Sound.
They are also AKC-recognized breeders of merit.
Breed: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Location: Smyrna, Delaware
Phone: (201) 891-5090
Silvercreek Chesapeakes are among the most reputable dog breeders because their puppies undergo health testing, including hips, eyes, PRA, DM, EIC, and DNA ID profiling. Silvercreek Chesapeake offspring have achieved titles including GCH, UD, OTCH, QAA, NA, NAJ, OA, OAJ, and WDX.
Silvercreek Chesapeake has been a member of the ACC since 1989 and is a recognized AKC breeder.
Location: Crescent City, California
Phone: (562) 305-4377
Natelsong Chihuahuas make sure the applicable health screens have been performed on the sire and dam of their puppies as recommended by the Parent Club for this breed.
Natelsong Chihuahuas are active in AKC conformation.
Natelsong Chihuahuas dogs are an AKC breeder of merit and a member of the Chihuahua Club of America, Inc., Evergreen Chihuahua Club, and the Southern Oregon Kennel Club.
Llys Draig Corgis
Breed: Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Location: Downsville, Louisiana
Phone: (318) 547-0241
Llys Draig Corgis health test all of their breeding dogs and fully guarantee all of their puppies. Llys Draig Corgis have taken part in agility, obedience, herding, and Rally activities.
Llys Draig Corgis are a member of the CWCCA (Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America), PWCCA (Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America), BCWCC (Bluebonnet Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club), and Ruston, Louisiana based D’Arbonne Kennel Club.
Breed: Dachshund (Miniature Longhaired)
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida
Kenmar Hounds dogs are all health tested. Kenmar Hounds dogs are all AKC champions or grand champions and participate in conformation, performance, and obedience.
Kenmar Hounds are a member of the Dachshund Club of America, Inc., Florida East Coast Dachshund Club, Florida Gulf Coast Dachshund Club, Fort Lauderdale Dog Club, and are an AKC breeder of merit.
Breed: Doberman Pinscher
Location: Richmond, Texas
Phone: (281) 300-9472
Horizon Dobermans dogs are all bred with health, type, and temperament in mind.
Horizon Dobermans take part in conformation and agility. Horizon Dobermans is a Doberman Pinscher Club of America, Doberman Pinscher Club of Houston, Houston Kennel Club, Inc., an AKC breeder of recognition, and a legacy award recipient.
Vom Haus Hall (Cook Farm Kennels)
Breed: German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds
Location: Reidsville, North Carolina
Phone: (336) 613-9020
Vom Haus Hall German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds are all bred from parents with certified hips and elbows, and puppies come with total health and hip guarantee.
Vom Haus Hall German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds take part in AKC conformation, agility, performance, obedience, and tracking.
Vom Haus Hall German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds are a member of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and gained recognition by the AKC for breeding with heart.
Breed: French Bulldog
Location: Temecula, California
Phone: (951) 719-4159
Another California-based reputable dog breeder, Kicking Bear French bulldogs, is a health-tested AKC champion dog breeder.
Previous dogs from Kicking Bear French Bulldogs have excelled in conformation, agility, performance, obedience, and tracking. Kicking Bear Kennels are an AKC breeder of merit.
Mi Karma German Shorthaired Pointers
Breed: German Shorthaired Pointer
Location: Stephens City, Virginia
Phone: (540) 868-0264
Mi Karma German Shorthaired Pointers dogs are from hips, elbows, heart, eyes, and Optigen CD OFA CHIC certified parents.
Mi Karma German Shorthaired Pointers take part in conformation, performance, and Mi Karma German Shorthaired Pointers are members of the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America, Mason-Dixon German Shorthaired Pointer Club, Shawnee Kennel Club, Inc. and is an AKC breeder of merit and a registered AKC member.
Nalyn’s Golden Retrievers
Breed: Golden Retriever
Location: Stoughton, WI
Phone: (608) 873-7749
Nalyn’s Golden Retrievers dogs are from hips, elbows, heart certified with OFA parents that have their eyes cleared annually by a board-certified ophthalmologist.
Nalyn’s Golden Retrievers take part in rally, obedience, agility, and conformation. Nalyn’s Golden Retrievers is a member of the Golden Retriever Club, Valdosta Kennel Club, Inc., and is an AKC breeder of merit.
Daynakin Great Danes LLC
Breed: Great Dane
Location: Ferndale, Washington
Phone: (888) 219-7846
Daynakin Great Danes LLC dogs have their hip x-rays, thyroid and cardiac tests OFA-certified, and eyes CERF’d.
Daynakin Great Danes LLC takes part in conformation, agility, and performance. Daynakin Great Danes LLC is a member of the Great Dane Club of America, Inc., Willamette Valley Great Dane Club, Inland Northwest Great Dane Club, Western Great Dane Club of BC, Mt Baker Kennel Club, and is an AKC breeder of merit.
Location: Austin, Texas
Phone: (737) 881-9025
Legends Greyhounds is another option of reputable dog breeders in Texas as they screen and breed only from genetically clear stock to achieve healthy puppies.
Legends Greyhounds take part in conformation. Legends Greyhounds are a member of the Greyhound Club of America and Travis County Kennel Club.
Boondocks Irish Wolfhounds
Breed: Irish Wolfhound
Location: Nichols, Iowa
Phone: (319) 471-2458
Boondocks Irish Wolfhounds dogs have their hips, elbows, heart (annually), and eyes (annually) tested, and all puppies are liver shunt and CERF eye tested before leaving the breeder.
Boondocks Irish Wolfhounds take part in conformation and performance. Boondocks Irish Wolfhounds is a member of the Irish Wolfhound Club of America, Northstar Irish Wolfhound Club, Scott County Kennel Club, and an AKC breeder of merit.
Rhamah Italian Greyhounds
Breed: Italian Greyhound
Location: Dacula, Georgia
Phone: (404) 909-9604
Rhamah Italian Greyhounds are fed a species-appropriate raw diet and even visit a holistic veterinarian.
Rhamah Italian Greyhounds take part in conformation, agility, and obedience. Rhamah Italian Greyhounds are a member of the Italian Greyhound Club of America, Inc., Greater Atlanta Toy Dog Association, Sawnee Mountain Kennel Club of Georgia, and is an AKC breeder of merit.
Dove Hill Labradors
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Location: Culpeper, Virginia
Phone: (540) 825-4358
Dove Hill Labradors guarantee for all known hereditary defects, such as hips, eyes, and elbows, and screenings happen for congenital heart problems.
Dove Hill Labradors take part in conformation and performance. Dove Hill Labradors are a member of the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac, Warrenton Kennel Club, and is an AKC breeder of merit.
FFT Lhasa Apsos
Breed: Lhasa Apso
Location: Cottage Grove, Minnesota
Phone: (651) 334-3042
FFT Lhasa Apsos provide health guarantees for the puppies they breed. FFT Lhasa Apsos are among the top reputable dog breeders because they take part in conformation and agility.
FFT Lhasa Apsos is a member of the American Lhasa Apso Club, Inc Twin Cities Lhasa Apso Club, and is a recognized AKC member.
Location: Buda, Texas
Phone: (512) 750-9816
Dogs in the Rhapsody Maltese breeding program are health screened for health issues common to Maltese.
Rhapsody Maltese take part in conformation, agility, performance, and obedience.
Rhapsody Maltese is a member of the American Maltese Association, Inc., Austin Kennel Club, and is an AKC breeder of merit.
Belle Harbour Newfoundlands
Location: Winnebago, Minnesota
Phone: (507) 399-1645
Belle Harbour Newfoundlands are OFA tested for hearts, hips, elbows, and Belle Harbour Newfoundlands take part in conformation and obedience.
Belle Harbour Newfoundlands is a Newfoundland Club of America, Inc., North Central Newfoundland Club, Key City Kennel Club and is an AKC breeder of merit.
Location: Sicklerville, New Jersey
Phone: (856) 875-0901
InVolo Papillons perform all applicable health screens on the sire and dam as recommended by the Parent Club for this breed.
InVolo Papillons take part in AKC conformation, agility, performance, and obedience.
InVolo Papillons is a member of the Papillon Club of America, Inc., Metropolitan Area Papillon Club of Washington, DC, Greater Delaware Valley Papillon Club, and is an AKC breeder of merit.
Breed: Standard Poodle
Location: Huntington, Massachusetts
Phone: (413) 667-0089
Stonehaus Poodles research the parents of all litters for health issues and have had the recommended testing done before breeding.
Their dogs had hips, thyroid, cardiac, sebaceous adenitis, neonatal encephalopathy, degenerative myelopathy, eyes, and Von Willebrand’s testing done.
Stonehaus Poodles take part in conformation, agility, and Stonehaus Poodles, a member of the Poodle Club of Massachusetts and an AKC breeder of merit.
Coral Bay Pugs
Location: Loxahatchee, Florida
Phone: (561) 906-3716
Another one of Florida’s reputable dog breeders, Coral Bay, reg., Pugs sires and dams, have undergone the applicable health screens as recommended by the Parent Club for this breed.
Coral Bay, reg. Pugs take part in conformation: Coral Bay, reg. Pugs are a member of the Pug Dog Club of America, Inc., Pug Club of South Florida, and is an AKC breeder of merit.
Breed: Saint Bernard
Location: Burlington, Kentucky
Phone: (859) 653-4515
Majestic Giants guarantees their puppies to be free from life-threatening genetic health problems for a period of 1yr.
Majestic Giants dogs have excelled in AKC conformation, performance, and obedience. Majestic Giants are a member of the Northern Kentucky Kennel Club, Inc.
Roki Yama Shibas
Breed: Shiba Inu
Location: Parker, Colorado
Phone: (720) 436-4493
Roki Yama Shibas dedicates themselves to the excellent health of the Shiba Inu breed.
Roki Yama Shibas take part in conformation and obedience. Roki Yama Shibas are a member of the National Shiba Club of America, Plum Creek Kennel Club, and is an AKC breeder of merit.
Breed: Siberian Husky
Location: Edinboro, Pennsylvania
Phone: (814) 450-3285
Bred with pedigree, Siberian Huskys get raised by this kennel with structure, type, health, and temperament in mind.
Snoebear Siberians take part in conformation, agility, performance, obedience. Snoebear Siberians is a member of the Siberian Husky Club of America, Inc., Erie Kennel Club, and is an AKC breeder of merit.
Absolute Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Breed: Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Location: Eunice, Louisiana
Phone: (337) 255-3508
Absolute Staffordshire Bull Terriers have titled dogs in AKC, UKC, and FCI: American, Canadian, Mexican, and European champions!
Westminster, Eukanuba, and World dog show winners!
Absolute Staffordshire Bull Terriers take part in conformation and performance.
Absolute Staffordshire Bull Terriers is a Staffordshire Terrier Club of America, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Puget Sound, Texas Gulf Coast American Staffordshire Terrier Club, Acadiana Kennel Club, Inc., and is an AKC breeder of merit.
Location: Aguanga, California
Phone: (951) 763-0433
One more of California’s reputable dog breeders, EveningStar Kennels’ Vizsla puppies, is selectively bred for temperament, health, intelligence, and conformation.
All puppy parents undergo thorough tests for genetic conditions. EveningStar Kennels take part in conformation and obedience.
EveningStar Kennels is a Vizsla Club of America, Inc., Vizsla Club of Southern California, Orange Empire Dog Club, and is an AKC breeder of merit.
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin
Phone: (920) 553-8516
Venture Weims parent dogs have all health clearances. Venture Weims take part in conformation, performance, obedience, and tracking.
Venture Weims are a member of the Weimaraner Club of America, Weimaraner Club of Northern Illinois, Northstar Weimaraner Club, Manitowoc County Kennel Club, Inc., an AKC Breeder of Merit.
Cherokee Legends Bulldogs
Location: Syosset, NY 11791
Phone: (516) 721-1279
Breeding since 1966, Cherokee Legends Bulldogs is handled by Cody Sickle, the only AKC Platinum Bulldog Breeder of Merit.
This kennel is a Bulldog Association of America, Long Island Bulldog Club, and conforms in competitions handled by the AKC.
Location: Western New York
Email: [email protected]
This kennel is an active member of The Collie Health Foundation, Collie Club of America, and the Rochester Collie Club.
They are also a certified Breeder of Merit by the AKC. Their goal is to create healthy and sound Collies to do any activity their humans wish.
Cutwater Portuguese Water Dogs
Breed: Portuguese Water Dogs
Location: Chester, CT 06412
Phone: (203) 536-1305
Cutwater Portuguese Water Dogs has been breeding top-quality Portuguese Water Dogs since 1986.
This kennel is a Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, Inc., Nutmeg Portuguese Water Dog Club, Inc., and Ox Ridge Kennel Club, Inc.
They also compete in terms of Conformation, Agility, Performance, and Obedience.
Location: Kenly, NC 27542
Phone: (919) 949-4122
SilverHill Rottweilers ethically breeds over 60 Champion Rottweilers, Obedience competitors, service, & therapy dogs.
This kennel is a Gold Breeder of Merit by the AKC and a Carolina Working Group Association member.
They’re also members of the Salisbury North Carolina Kennel Club and Fayetteville Kennel Club, Inc.
Their dogs compete in Conformation, Agility, Performance, Obedience, and Tracking.
Mockingbird Hill Kennel
Breed: Miniature American Shepherd
Location: Osceola, MO 64776
Phone: (417) 326-9662
This kennel certifies as a Silver Breeder of Merit, which has produced 15 champion dogs.
This kennel is a member of the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA, Inc.
They also compete in terms of Conformation, Agility, Performance, and Obedience.
Breed: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Location: Marshfield, MO 65706
Phone: (417) 299-3185
Suma Kennels breed quality Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs since 1997. Their dogs are AKC Show Champions and conduct health tests on their dogs before we consider breeding.
They are considered a Silver Breeder of Merit, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America, Inc., and their dogs compete in conformation.