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There are several factors to consider in ensuring your new dog has a healthy genetic history. We went through hundreds and finally found 40 reputable dog breeders in the USA with a history of responsible breeding.

Finding good dog breeders is challenging due to how popular the dog breeding industry has become. However, picking a responsible dog breeder over puppy mills is essential for many reasons.

What Are Reputable Dog Breeders?

What Are Reputable Dog Breeders?

In order to find a responsible dog breeder, there are many aspects taken into consideration, deeming their status as “reputable.” The factors listed below showcase these breeders’ commitment to the dog's health and prioritizing care over profit.

Health Guarantees

Breeders will provide a written health guarantee for their puppies to prove that they have no underlying illnesses. Nonetheless, there’s no reason for them to hide anything.

Health Clearances

Reputable breeders must have complete health clearance information for both parent dogs (Here's something from GRCA, for example ).

Clearance on parent dogs should have a “fair” and “clear” grading, but a higher grading is much more preferable, like “excellent” or “good.”

Written Bill of Sale

Any breeder, especially those who can be trusted, must have a written bill of sale. This bill has to indicate the responsibilities of both the buyer and seller.

Thus, it will usually look something like this.

Return of Puppy Guarantee

A responsible dog breeder will require a return puppy guarantee. It means that if you cannot keep your puppy, you will return them to the breeder rather than taking them to the shelter. 

Vaccinations

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 will sell their puppies unseen if they care for their dogs. Furthermore, it’s important for a breeder to see buyers before selling their dogs 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. This way, you can indeed 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. Because of this, reputable dog breeders will also 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 and dogs. Frequently, they encourage questions and will also have plenty of their own. 

If there is an instance that a breeder is reluctant to answer your questions or evasive in their answers, be wary.

Following the above and below guidelines, you must figure out if the place you’re about to buy a dog from is worth it or not. These suggestions must be kept in mind even if the breeder isn’t included in the list below.

Reputable Dog Breeder 2020

The Selection Process for Our 40 Reputable Dog Breeders

In addition to the considerations noted above, several other factors were put into consideration when selecting our forty most reputable dog breeders in the USA.

1. AKC Listing

Being listed in the AKC alone does not immediately mean that they're a responsible breeder. Still, it’s a good sign if a breeder registers with the American Kennel Club in combination with other factors.

The non-profit organization also has a list of programs to showcase the reputability of a breeder further. Furthermore, all of the 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 essential in producing healthy 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. However, 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. All of the listed breeders participate in AKC events with their dogs.

5. Breed Club Registration/Membership

There are many canine breed clubs that breeders can register with. Each breed club has its requirements and membership fees.

Registration with dog breed clubs doesn't guarantee a good breeder. However, it's a sign of commitment to the breed and their checkups.

An example would be 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

Finally, 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 also 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

40 Reputable Dog Breeders in the United States

CTC Aussies

Breed: Australian Shepherd

Location: Ellensburg, Washington

Phone: (509) 962-8945

Website: http://www.ctcaussies.com/

CTC Aussies undergo multiple health tests for better performance. Previous dogs from CTC Aussies have excelled in conformation, performance. The breeder is AKC-recognized and an AKC breeder of merit.

They are also members of the United States Australian Shepherd Association (USASA) and the Western Washington Australian Shepherd Association (WWASA).

Farmhouse Hounds

Breed: Basset Hound

Location: Jasper, Georgia

Phone: (770) 655-3311

Website: https://www.farmhousehounds.com

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 also got recognition from the AKC and has been in business for over 40 years.

Legend Bichons

Breed: Bichon Frise

Location: Sacramento, California

Phone: (916) 560-3354

Website: http://www.legendbichons.com/

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

Website: http://www.embracebordercollies.com/

Embrace border collies undergo multiple health tests before breeding. Previous dogs from Embrace Border Collies have excelled in many standards, especially 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

Website: http://www.dogwoodkennels.com

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.

Ultimate Bulldogs

Breed: Bulldog

Location: New Milford, New Jersey

Phone: (201) 753-1393

Website: http://www.ultimatebulldogs.com

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

Website: http://www.glentombullterriers.com

Glenna Wright Glentom Bull Terriers undergo health testing, including echocardiogram, UPC ration, patella (kneecap) luxation clearance, and BAER testing.

This kennel creates offspring from their champion show dogs. They are members of the Bull Terrier Club of America (BTCA), BTC Dallas, and Texas Gulf Coast BTC members.

Balgaire Cavaliers

Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Location: Seabeck, Washington

Phone: (360) 830-5760

Website: http://balgairecavaliers.com

Balgaire Cavaliers perform all applicable health screens as recommended by the Parent Club for this breed. They also provide a health guarantee for their puppies.

Previous dogs from Balgaire Cavaliers have excelled in conformation and performance. They 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.

Silvercreek Chesapeakes

Breed: Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Location: Smyrna, Delaware

Phone: (201) 891-5090

Website: http://www.silvercreekcbr.com/

Silvercreek Chesapeakes are among the most reputable dog breeders because their puppies undergo health tests. This kennel has been a member of the ACC since 1989 and is a recognized AKC breeder.

Natelsong Chihuahuas

Breed: Chihuahua

Location: Crescent City, California

Phone: (562) 305-4377

Website: http://www.natelsongchihuahuas.com

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. This kennel is also active in AKC conformation.

They have 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

Website: http://www.louisianacorgis.com

Llys Draig Corgis health tests all of their breeding dogs, thus fully guaranteeing all of their puppies as safe and healthy. They have taken part in agility, obedience, herding, and Rally activities.

This kennel is also 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.

Kenmar Hounds

Breed: Dachshund (Miniature Longhaired)

Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Website: http://kenmarhounds.com

Kenmar Hounds dogs are all health tested. Their dogs are all AKC champions or grand champions and participate in conformation, performance, and obedience. They 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.

Horizon Dobermans

Breed: Doberman Pinscher

Location: Richmond, Texas

Phone: (281) 300-9472

Website: http://www.horizondobes.com/

Horizon Dobermans dogs are all bred with health, type, and temperament in mind. Their dogs also take part in conformation and agility. This kennel is also a member of the 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

Website: http://www.vomhaushall.com

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. They take part in AKC conformation, agility, performance, obedience, and tracking. They are also members of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and gained recognition by the AKC for breeding with heart.

Kicking Bear

Breed: French Bulldog

Location: Temecula, California

Phone: (951) 719-4159

Website: http://bullyrat.tripod.com/

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

Website: http://www.mikarmagsp.com/

Mi Karma German Shorthaired Pointers dogs are from certified healthy parents. Their dogs also take part in conformation and performance.

They are affiliated with the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America, Mason-Dixon German Shorthaired Pointer Club, and the Shawnee Kennel Club, Inc. They are also an AKC breeder of merit and a registered AKC member.

Nalyn’s Golden Retrievers

Breed: Golden Retriever

Location: Stoughton, WI

Phone: (608) 873-7749

Website: https://nalynsgoldens.com

Nalyn’s Golden Retrievers dogs are annually tested and certified healthy. Their dogs take part in rally, obedience, agility, and conformation. They are members of the Golden Retriever Club, Valdosta Kennel Club, Inc., and are an AKC breeder of merit.

Daynakin Great Danes LLC

Breed: Great Dane

Location: Ferndale, Washington

Phone: (888) 219-7846

Website: http://daynakingreatdanes.com

The dogs from Daynakin Great Danes LLC take part in conformation, agility, and performance. They are affiliated with the Great Dane Club of America, Inc., Willamette Valley Great Dane Club, and Inland Northwest Great Dane Club.

They are also members of the Western Great Dane Club of BC, Mt Baker Kennel Club and are an AKC breeder of merit.

Legends Greyhounds

Breed: Greyhound

Location: Austin, Texas

Phone: (737) 881-9025

Website: http://legendsgreyhounds.com

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.

The dogs from this kennel take part in conformation. They are also 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

Website: http://www.boondocksirishwolfhounds.com

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.

They also take part in conformation and performance. This kennel 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

Website: http://rhamah.com

Rhamah Italian Greyhounds are fed a species-appropriate raw diet and even visit a holistic veterinarian. Refined dogs from this kennel take part in conformation, agility, and obedience.

They are also members of the Italian Greyhound Club of America, Inc., Greater Atlanta Toy Dog Association, Sawnee Mountain Kennel Club of Georgia, and an AKC breeder of merit.

Dove Hill Labradors

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Location: Culpeper, Virginia

Phone: (540) 825-4358

Website: http://www.dovehilllabradors.com

Dove Hill Labradors guarantee for all known hereditary defects, such as hips, eyes, and elbows, and screenings happen for congenital heart problems. Their dogs take part in conformation and performance.

This kennel is 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

Website: http://www.fleetfiretimbers.com

FFT Lhasa Apsos provide health guarantees for the puppies they breed. They are among the top reputable dog breeders because they take part in conformation and agility.

This kennel is a member of the American Lhasa Apso Club, Inc Twin Cities Lhasa Apso Club, and is a recognized AKC member.

Rhapsody Maltese

Breed: Maltese

Location: Buda, Texas

Phone: (512) 750-9816

Website: http://www.rhapsodymaltese.com

Dogs in the Rhapsody Maltese breeding program are health screened for health issues common to Maltese. Their dogs take part in conformation, agility, performance, and obedience.

This kennel is also a member of the American Maltese Association, Inc., Austin Kennel Club, and is an AKC breeder of merit.

Belle Harbour Newfoundlands

Breed: Newfoundland

Location: Winnebago, Minnesota

Phone: (507) 399-1645

Website: http://www.bhnewfs.com

Belle Harbour Newfoundlands are OFA tested for hearts, hips, elbows, and their dogs take part in conformation and obedience.

They are a member of the Newfoundland Club of America, Inc., North Central Newfoundland Club, Key City Kennel Club, and is an AKC breeder of merit.

Involo Papillons

Breed: Papillon

Location: Sicklerville, New Jersey

Phone: (856) 875-0901

Website: http://www.involopapillons.com

InVolo Papillons perform all applicable health screens on the sire and dam as recommended by the Parent Club for this breed. They take part in AKC conformation, agility, performance, and obedience.

They are a member of the Papillon Club of America, Inc., Metropolitan Area Papillon Club of Washington, DC, Greater Delaware Valley Papillon Club, and are an AKC breeder of merit.

Stonehaus Poodles

Breed: Standard Poodle

Location: Huntington, Massachusetts

Phone: (413) 667-0089

Website: https://www.facebook.com/stonehauspoodle/

Stonehaus Poodles research the parents of all litters for health issues and have had the recommended testing done before breeding. Their dogs also constantly have multiple testings done.

Stonehaus Poodles also take part in conformation and agility. Stonehaus Poodles is also a member of the Poodle Club of Massachusetts and an AKC breeder of merit.

Coral Bay Pugs

Breed: Pug

Location: Loxahatchee, Florida

Phone: (561) 906-3716

Website: http://www.coralbaypugs.com

Another one of Florida’s reputable dog breeders, Coral Bay, reg., Pugs sires and dams, have indeed undergone the applicable health screens as recommended by the Parent Club for this breed.

This kennel takes part in conformation. They are also members of the Pug Dog Club of America, Inc., Pug Club of South Florida, and are an AKC breeder of merit.

Majestic Giants

Breed: Saint Bernard

Location: Burlington, Kentucky

Phone: (859) 653-4515

Website: http://majesticgiants.net

Majestic Giants guarantees their puppies to be free from life-threatening genetic health problems for a period of 1yr. They have also excelled in AKC conformation, performance, and obedience. The kennel is also a member of the Northern Kentucky Kennel Club, Inc.

Roki Yama Shibas

Breed: Shiba Inu

Location: Parker, Colorado

Phone: (720) 436-4493

Website: http://www.rokiyamashibas.com

Roki Yama Shibas dedicates themselves to the excellent health of the Shiba Inu breed. The kennel also takes part in conformation and obedience. They are members of the National Shiba Club of America, Plum Creek Kennel Club and are also an AKC breeder of merit.

Snoebear Siberians

Breed: Siberian Husky

Location: Edinboro, Pennsylvania

Phone: (814) 450-3285

Website: https://www.snoebearsiberians.com

Bred with pedigree, Siberian Huskys get raised by this kennel with structure, type, health, and temperament in mind. Snoebear Siberians also take part in conformation, agility, performance, obedience. Snoebear Siberians is also 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

Website: https://marketplace.akc.org/breeder/absolute-staffordshire-bull-terrier

Absolute Staffordshire Bull Terriers have titled dogs in AKC, UKC, and FCI. Their dogs take part in conformation and performance. Their kennel also has an affiliation with the Staffordshire Terrier Club of America and Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America.

They are also members of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Puget Sound, Texas Gulf Coast American Staffordshire Terrier Club, and the Acadiana Kennel Club, Inc. They are also an AKC breeder of merit.

EveningStar Kennels

Breed: Vizsla

Location: Aguanga, California

Phone: (951) 763-0433

Website: http://www.eveningstarkennels.com

One more of California’s reputable dog breeders, EveningStar Kennels’ Vizsla puppies, is selectively bred for temperament, health, intelligence, and conformation. Additionally, all puppy parents undergo thorough tests for genetic conditions.

EveningStar Kennels take part in conformation and obedience. Their kennel is also a member of the Vizsla Club of America, Inc., Vizsla Club of Southern California, Orange Empire Dog Club, and is an AKC breeder of merit.

Venture Weims

Breed: Weimaraner

Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Phone: (920) 553-8516

Website: http://www.ventureweims.com

Venture Weims parent dogs have all health clearances. They also take part in conformation, performance, obedience, and tracking. The kennel is also 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

Breed: Bulldog

Location: Syosset, NY 11791

Phone: (516) 721-1279

Website: http://www.cherokeelegendbulldogs.com

Breeding since 1966, Cherokee Legends Bulldogs is handled by Cody Sickle, who is, in fact, the only AKC Platinum Bulldog Breeder of Merit. This kennel is also a member of the Bulldog Association of America, Long Island Bulldog Club, and conforms in competitions handled by the AKC.

Camloch Collies

Breed: Collies

Location: Western New York

Email: [email protected]

Website: http://camlochcollies.com/

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

Website: http://www.cutwaterpwd.com

Cutwater Portuguese Water Dogs has been breeding top-quality Portuguese Water Dogs since 1986. This kennel is also from the 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.

SilverHill Rottweilers

Breed: Rottweilers

Location: Kenly, NC 27542

Phone: (919) 949-4122

Website: http://silverhillrottweilers.net/

SilverHill Rottweilers bred 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 also compete in Conformation, Agility, Performance, Obedience, and Tracking.

Mockingbird Hill Kennel

Breed: Miniature American Shepherd

Location: Osceola, MO 64776

Phone: (417) 326-9662

Website: http://www.mockingbirdhillkennel.com

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.

Suma Kennels

Breed: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Location: Marshfield, MO 65706

Phone:  (417) 299-3185

Website: http://www.sumakennels.com

Finally, last but not least, Suma Kennels creates 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 also a Silver Breeder of Merit, a member of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America, Inc., and their dogs also compete in conformation.

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40 of the Most Reputable Dog Breeds in USA (2020)