Now that you know the basics about how to pick the right pup for you from a litter and you have decided to go with a breeder for your next dog, you may be wondering how to pick a breeder. Unless you know someone personally or have a strong recommendation from a friend, it’s hard to know how to evaluate a breeder.

Of course you have other options besides a breeder when it comes to getting a puppy. You can go to a shelter, or to a rescue organization or to a reputable breeder. And don’t be misled into thinking only “mutts” are at shelters or rescue organizations. It’s estimated that nearly a quarter of all dogs at these facilities are purebred and have been given up for various reasons.

We would also not recommend going to a pet store as many of these establishments purchase their dogs from so called “puppy mills” and we would not recomend buying a dog from a Craigslist ad either as there are just not enough safeguards built in, either for you or the pup.

For the purposes of this post, we’re assuming you have decided to go with a breeder. Here’s what to pay attention to when looking for a breeder:

Get a recommendation such as one from the AKC (American Kennel Club), or a local breed club in your area or your veterinarian.

Once you find a breeder, you’ll want to ask plenty of questions such as inquiring into your potential puppy’s ancestry. Be sure to ask about the parents’ and even the grandparents’ temperaments.

Talk to the breeder about the energy level of both the breed you are considering as well as the energy level of the individual pup.

Carefully observe the pup in question. If the puppy is super active at the breeder’s, the chance is good he will act the same way when you get him home.

Look at several puppies, not just one. You want to go with the one you feel fits you and your family best.

Be sure to get information on people who have adopted from this particular breeder in the past and then contact them to see what their experience was like.

No breeder worth his or her salt will ever allow you to take a pup that is less than eight weeks old. If they try to push a pup that is younger than eight weeks on you, walk away.

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