Finding a Reputable Breeder

You have decided you are ready to add a dog to your family, you have considered the breeds that are most suited to your lifestyle, and now you are looking to get a puppy.  How do you find a reputable breeder?  What makes a good breeder, and what do you need to know to make sure you make the right choices? 

There are many passionate, amazing breeders out there, committed to breeding puppies who are both physically and mentally healthy.  They spend years learning about their breed, choosing the best breeding stock they can, and undertake all of the health screening tests available.  But there are also breeders whose only concern is making money by selling puppies – How can you tell the difference?

Click here to find out more about what to expect from a Reputable Breeder.

Puppy Farmers & Puppy Scams

In the past, breeders may have advertised a litter via a newspaper classified or a sign at their front gate.  These days, most prospective puppy purchasers start looking online.  Unfortunately, this has meant that unscrupulous breeders and puppy farmers have the perfect opportunity to increase their sales – presenting a glossy façade full of cute puppy pictures, offering delivery of pups straight to your door, and commanding premium prices for ‘rare’ or ‘unusual’ colours or mixes of breeds.

To meet the demand for puppies and to ensure constant turnover, these operators house lots of animals, often in poor conditions, breeding them at every season/heat cycle to produce a continuous supply of puppies.  Some breed specifically to produce novelty colours without any consideration for the physical or mental health of the puppies they produce. 

These puppy farmers are happy to take your money, but their interest stops as soon as you have your puppy.  Worse still are the puppy scammers who take money for puppies that do not even exist, leaving families heartbroken and out of pocket.

The Victorian Government has introduced laws to help protect people from Puppy Farmers and Puppy Scammers.  You can learn more about protecting yourself by reading clicking here.

The Signs of a Responsible Breeder

If you are looking to source a puppy, it is a good idea to speak to any potential breeders at length before going to visit.  All puppies are super cute and, once you have a puppy in your arms, it will be hard to resist.  It is a much better idea to have all your questions answered ahead of time and to make sure you are dealing with a responsible breeder, one who cares about their puppies and wants the best for them. 

Things to look for:

Breed Knowledge

Your breeder should have excellent knowledge of the breed and be able to answer all of your questions about what they are like to live with. 

A Responsible Breeder will be honest in regards to the amount of grooming, exercise and training the breed needs to stay happy and healthy and will want to make sure you are prepared to meet these needs.

They will want to make sure that you have made the right choice of breed and may ask you questions about your lifestyle and expectations to make sure you can provide the right kind of home for one of their puppies. Click here to learn more about the questions you should ask your breeder.


Health Testing

Your breeder should be able to list for you all of the breed-specific health issues that are known to affect the breed.  They will be able to tell you which of these have screening tests and should be happy to provide you with copies of any health testing results for the parents of any litter. 

Limited Breeding

Most reputable breeders will only have a small number of litters each year, some even less frequently, only breeding a litter every couple of years. 

Raising healthy, well socialised and handled pups takes an amazing amount of time and energy, so be very wary if the breeder you contact has lots of litters to choose from.  Do not be surprised if you have to wait for a litter to be born, or to go on a waiting list.  A well-bred, healthy puppy is well worth the wait.

Involved with a Single Breed

Most reputable breeders concentrate on just one breed, being passionate about preserving the unique qualities of that breed for future generations to enjoy.  Some may branch out into breeding another breed, but be wary if the breeder you contact seems to breed lots of different breeds.

Keen to Meet You in Person

A good breeder will want to meet you in person if it is at all possible.  They might suggest meeting you at a show or breed club event so you can see and interact with adults of the breed, or they might invite you to their home to meet the parents (or at least the mother) of the litter. 

Once the litter is born, they will have times that you can visit the puppies.  On these visits, you will be able to see the mother interacting with the pups and see the conditions in which they live.

Your breeder will be keen to discuss the handling and socialisation activities they are doing with the litter.

Support and Information

Responsible and caring breeders consider their puppies as part of the family and want to make sure that they have long healthy and happy lives.  To this end, they will want to make sure you have all the information you need before your puppy leaves their home, and will provide ongoing support and advice as your puppy transitions into your family. 

You should expect to receive written information about the breed, your puppy’s parents, health issues and testing results, information on preventative veterinary care and records of vaccination and worming, as well as loads of information about caring for your puppy. 

Your breeder will want to follow up once your puppy has settled in and answer any questions that may have come up.

Good Breeders take responsibility for every puppy they breed, often providing advice and support throughout your puppy’s entire life.  They are excited to hear updates, celebrate birthdays, and connect you with other owners who love the breed as much as they do.  If your circumstances change, they should be willing and happy to either take the dog back or help you find it a new home.

How do I find a Reputable Breeder?

If you are looking for a Pedigree, Pure-bred Dog, your breeder will need to be a member of the Dogs Australia 'Controlling Body' in their state. In Victoria, that means they need to be a current, financial member of DOGS Victoria.

DOGS Victoria Registered Breeders must adhere to all of Dogs Victoria’s Rules and Regulations as well as their Code of Ethics as well as meeting all of the State Government’s requirements for breeders.

An excellent place to start is by visiting the Breed Directory and visiting the breed information page for your chosen breed. 

On each breed page, there will be a listing for the Affiliated Breed Club (if there is one) as well as the contact details of breeders who have chosen to list their kennels on the website.

Most Affiliated Breed Clubs have a Secretary or Puppy Officer who can assist you in finding a reputable breeder or in suggesting breeders who may be having a litter in the near future.  Some numerically smaller breeds might not have an individual Breed Club, but may be represented by a Group Club such as the ‘Hound Club’ or the ‘Working Dog Club’.  

What if I am after an older dog rather than a puppy?

If you have decided that a puppy might not be the right choice for you, then you may be looking for a dog that is a little bit older. 

Many Affiliated Breed Clubs also run a ‘Breed Rescue’- finding homes for older dogs whose circumstances have changed (maybe their owner has been forced into care, or there has been a family breakdown) or for dogs of the breed who may have ended up in a pound or shelter.

The Breed Clubs are also a good point of contact in regards to older dogs who may be looking for a home – maybe a retired breeding animal or an adolescent that has been shown, but is no longer suitable for breeding.

These animals are often beautifully cared for, well-travelled and have already had some training, so they make great pets for someone who has not got the time for the high-demands of a baby puppy.