Buying a Purebred Puppy or Dog From a Breeder

The first thing you need to know about buying a puppy from a breeder is that there are basically two types of breeders. We will call them "reputable breeders" and "back-yard breeders". Reputable breeders breed dogs because of their love of and devotion to their chosen breed. They do not profit from breeding dogs. In fact, they lose money from it. It is very costly to provide all the necessary veterinary care, nutrition, pet supplies, etc., not to mention all the time and energy necessary to show and breed the dogs, interview potential puppy buyers, and follow up with the new owners to make sure the puppies are healthy and happy. Many reputable breeders become mentors to the new puppy owners. Back-yard breeders, on the other hand, breed dogs for a profit. They think to themselves, "Wow, I just paid $1,000 for my purebred puppy. If I can just breed it, I can make $1,000 on each puppy I sell." They don't care whether their dog meets the breed standards, whether it might look healthy right now but carry a hidden genetic problem that can be passed on to the puppies. Take hip dysplasia, for example. It's a devastating health problem common in many breeds, yet won't start showing symptoms until later in the dogs' lives, usually way past the age you would breed them. A reputable breeder would know that their breed was prone to the problem, and would have had their dogs x-rayed and certified to have "good" hips before deciding to breed them. But a back-yard breeder, even if told about the potential problem, won't want to pay for the x-rays which would cut into their profits. Likewise, they won't pay for proper nutrition and veterinary care for their dogs and puppies once they realize how quickly the expenses start adding up. So needless to say, we do not recommend buying puppies from back-yard breeders, and the pros listed below are meant only for reputable breeders. If you have read our section on pet store puppies, many of those same problems apply to back-yard breeders. In fact, the back-yard breeders most likely bought their dog from a pet store (or from another back-yard breeder who bought their dog from a pet store) originally, since most reputable breeders won't sell puppies to back-yard breeders, as explained below.



The above information mostly refers to purchasing a puppy from a breeder. However, if you are looking to purchase an adult dog, you might be able to find one from a reputable breeder.
There are a couple of common scenerios where breeders would have an older puppy or an adult available. First, breeders typically have multiple dogs in their homes at any given time. When any of their dogs "retire" from breeding, they are usually kept with the breeders as family pets. But occasionally, if for various reasons a retired dog would be happier living somewhere else, the breeder will sell the dog instead. And though the term "retired" might put an image of a senior dog in your mind, in reality many of these dogs are quite young, sometimes only 3 or 4 years old. Secondly, when each litter of puppies are only a few weeks old, the breeders must make an educated guess as to which ones will be show-quality and which ones will be pet-quality. If any of the show-quality puppies later turn out not to be a good show dog for whatever reason, the breeder may put it up for sale as an older puppy or young adult.

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Page Last Updated: October 4, 2021

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