It is often a little challenging and sometimes very difficult to locate a breeder in your area, especially if you are considering a rare or more unusual breed of dog. There are also problems in locating breeders of even more common breeds, especially if you wish to obtain a puppy from a specific line or championship dog. These issues, as well as some of the considerations on choosing the right breeder, can make finding the right person for you a concern.
There are some very specific ways to locate a breeder, as well as some pitfalls to avoid in finding a breeder. It is important to keep in mind that just because someone says that he or she is a breeder, does not necessarily mean that they are ethical and place the dog's health and well being above the potential profit they may earn. Most breeders will be quick to point out that breeding dogs and selling puppies is not a get rich quick scheme, it takes years of knowledge, experience, commitment to the breed and hard work to develop the kennel's reputation. In addition, most breeders commit extensive time and energy into showing or training their dogs for competitions, therefore further enhancing both the breed as well as the reputation of the kennel.
The most common ways to find a breeder include word of mouth, advertisements, internet websites and attending dog shows. Each one of these options has pros and cons to someone looking for a dog or puppy, and each one will be discussed in detail below.
Remember that a reputable breeder will have questions of a potential owner as well. The breeder may refuse to sell a puppy to a home they don't feel will make a good match, or if they feel that the breed would not be appropriate for the individual or family for some reason. Often breeders will require potential owners to complete interviews, or to at least complete a written information sheet about the house, other pets, living space and experience with prior dogs and expectations for the puppy they are asking to purchase.
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is the oldest way of finding out about quality dogs or puppies. Typically, breeders and owners will be very outspoken about what kennels or breeders offer healthy, well tempered dogs of any breed. They will also be honest about your options as a potential buyer to be able to obtain a puppy from the breeder. Many well-established breeders with championship lines in the kennel will never have to advertise a litter for sale, and will typically have a waiting list of approved buyers. This is usually because they will only breed their females once every year or every other year, and are very selective about selling their puppies to people they don't personally know or are not referred by another known breeder.
If you are willing to wait for a litter and puppy that meets your needs, this is often the very best possible option. New owners or people without connections to breeders may find it difficult to connect with these types of breeders, as they are very selective about selling puppies.
Larger kennels that are breeding larger numbers of dogs or several different breeds may run advertisements in dog magazines, advertise on the breed registry pages, or even advertise in local newspapers and magazines. Many times, potential owners will still need to wait for a puppy or upcoming litter, and will still need to complete and pass the screening process.
Remember that advertisements can be misleading. Be sure to actually go to the physical location of the kennel and check it for cleanliness, care of the adult dogs and puppies, and overall appearance of the facility. Going to the kennel is a wonderful way to watch the owner interact with the puppies and adult dogs, as well as provide you the opportunity to interact with the dogs at the kennel as well as the breeder.
If you are traveling a distance to view the kennel or to talk to the breeder, be sure to phone in advance and set an appointment. This will save a wasted trip if the breeder is not home, plus it will also allow you to ask what information the breeder may require of you as the potential buyer.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of websites selling all varieties and breeds of dogs. Internet sites can be very misleading, but they can also be a great place to start researching and to find out information about the breeder. Always follow up with an in-person visit, and avoid buying a puppy "sight unseen" off an internet site. It is extremely unlikely that a reputable breeder will ship a puppy off without ever meeting the new owners, unless there is extensive communication between the potential buyer and owner, and there are unique circumstances preventing an in person meeting. There are some breeders that refuse to ship puppies, and require that the new owner pick them up in person. There are also breeders that will charge additional fees to have the puppy shipped. Remember that if you are working with a breeder over the internet, there is considerable risk involved in assuring the condition of the kennel or the puppy, especially if you have never met with the breeder or toured the kennel.
Attending local dog shows and kennel club events in your area can be a great way to find out about different breeds of dogs, as well as watch the breeders and handlers from different kennels interact with their dogs. As a potential buyer, this can help you decide which breeder or kennel you prefer, as well as allow you to get a feel for breed standards and various aspects of showing the breed.
If you are looking for a dog that has hunting abilities or is good at agility events or obedience, consider attending some of those competitions as well. It is always a good idea to watch owners and dogs interact, as well as doing some research and fact finding before you decide on the breeder that is right for you.