If you're still not sure about buying a pet shop puppy, print out this
page and bring it with you. Ask these questions:
• Have both parents tested for hip and elbow dysplasia? (It's
been found in every breed except greyhounds, so don't let them tell
you it's not a problem.)
• What specific health problems are in the pedigree of each puppy?
• What's the personality of the mother and father like? A responsible
breeder provides copies of all health tests -- can the pet shop do
How do I find a responsible breeder?
Finding a responsible breeder is not difficult for most breeds, and
the reward -- a healthy, well-adjusted, well-bred puppy -- is worth
it. Here are some ways to get started:
• Call the CKC or visit their Web page of breed referral contacts at
• Use the Internet to look up the breed you're interested in. You'll
find a wealth of information.
• Go to shows, fun matches or any kind of dog event -- there will be
plenty of people there to offer suggestions and advice. Be extremely
careful when evaluating breeders who run ads in the newspaper.
How do I avoid "backyard breeders"?
Backyard breeders operate in much the same way pet shops do. Money is
the bottom line. Watch out for any breeder who:
• Usually breeds the same pair they own to each
other over and over again.
• Will sell a whole litter as show puppies.
• Talks about money before anything else.
• Doesn't ask you questions about yourself and why you want a puppy.
• Says the parents "don't need tests." All purebred breeds suffer from
genetic diseases, including cancer.
• Can't provide a good answer to the question: "Why did you decide to
breed these two dogs"?
• Can't provide copies of OFA, GDC or OVC results (hip and elbow),
CERF exams (eyes) or other tests along with the pedigree.
• Breeds dogs younger than two years of age (two is the minimum age
for hip certification by OFA).
• Has puppies always available. Responsible breeders have smaller
numbers of carefully-planned litters.