How to choose a breeder

How to choose a breeder 

Barbara Dreamy Doodles

Barbara from “DreamyDoodles” with one of her girls. Barbara is the “Queen” of doodles, and has a passion for making the prettiest, most healthy, puppies you can find. I HIGHLY recommend her puppies.

What determines if a breeder is “responsible” or “reputable?”
The Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club
states that responsible breeders should raise their animals with the intent to produce healthy dogs, and to ensure that all animals are provided responsible homes and socialization.  
Would you consider a dog who lives in a “facility” as a socialized dog?  Would you consider a barn or kennel, the same thing as a home?  While the “dog house” may be humane, clean, and satisfactory, we don’t consider it a HOME.

What is a puppy farm?
When people hear the word “Puppy Farm” they instantly think, “inhumane conditions, poor puppy health” etc.  However, this isn’t usually the case.  Especially with Aussies and AussieDoodles, most breeders keep clean and healthy conditions for their dogs.  But in the end, these breeders are still considered a “puppy farm”.  They are breeding dogs, with the intention of selling puppies, and after these dogs are too old to have puppies, these un-socialized, sometimes isolated dogs are given away, or sold to families. That’s a “farm,” no matter how you look at it. Obviously, there are several variations of a puppy farm.  While some breeders have 20 breeding females, some may only have 5-6.  Either way, these dog’s only job is to produce puppies.

AussieDoodlePuppyQuinHow can you avoid adopting a dog from a puppy farm?
Here is a way to find out if your breeder is a farmer.  Ask the breeder to send you a video of where their dogs are “kept.”  Or, ask them to send you a video of people interacting with the sire and dam.  Most likely, they will tell you they can’t produce one because they “don’t have a good camera” or “don’t know how to use youtube.”  In that case, ask the breeder if you can come for a visit.  They will probably say, “we don’t allow visits, as this could introduce a virus on our property.” The reality is, they don’t want you to see their facility. It is extremely difficult to keep a “kennel” with multiple dogs, clean and smelling fresh. They simply don’t want to deal with the hassle.

But this breeder wants me to fill out an application, they must really care about their puppies, right?
In some cases, yes.  But in many cases, it is a “cover up” or a “tactic” to make you THINK you are LUCKY to get one of their dogs.  Have you ever filled out a credit application to buy a car?  All of a sudden, you start worrying you might not get approved.  When you are approved, you feel a sigh of relief, and somehow, that price, doesn’t seem so bad anymore. In some cases, I’ve even seen breeders REQUIRE you to feed a certain brand of food or vitamins that THEY sell. And if you don’t buy from them, they will not guarantee their health of the dog. As if the dog won’t be healthy if it doesn’t eat the food the breeder sells?  AwesomeDoodle has a process to make sure our puppies are going to only the most loving and able homes, as well. We consider the puppy to be the lucky one to be going to a fine, forever home.

Questions to ask a breeder: Talk to and visit several breeders, to get a sense of who is willing to spend the time with you. Here are some of the questions you can ask while you are interviewing breeders:

Let’s see your dogs!
Ask the breeder for videos of their puppies and adult dogs interacting with humans, like this video. If they can’t provide that, go no further.

How does your deposit system work?
A reputable breeder will let you place a REFUNDABLE deposit before puppies are born. Puppies should not be a “Door buster,” sold to the first person who happens to email after a litter is born. If a breeder has a “non refundable” deposit policy, that’s a deal breaker. At AwesomeDoodle, we would never want to hold your deposit hostage, just because you changed your mind. If you changed your mind, why would a breeder want to force you to buy a puppy?

How does the pick process work?
At AwesomeDoodle, we believe you should pick the puppy that YOU WANT. Never allow the breeder to pick the puppy for you. This is simply a tactic for them to give you the less attractive puppy because, “It fits your family lifestyle” while they sell the prettier puppies to the customers who will pay high dollar. In addition, you get to pick your AwesomeDoodle in the order of our deposits received. You placed your deposit and your waited, you deserve to pick first! Whether you pick your puppy when it’s a week old, or a month old, YOU should get to pick the puppy you want, based on the order your placed your deposit.

Where do the puppies live? The answer should be “in the house with the family.” A puppy who’s born into family life has a better shot at growing up relaxed and friendly. A pup isolated from humans in a backyard, garage, or basement is more likely to wind up shy or aggressive. Click here to see where AwesomeDoodles are raised.

How often are the puppies handled? Puppies should be handled by lots of different people beginning very early in life so they’ll grow up to be comfortable and safe around humans. Ideally, the breeder throws regular puppy parties, inviting lots of guests over to play with and handle the pup. Five minutes of daily pats on the head by the breeder won’t cut it. Click here to see AwesomeDoodles getting smothered with love.

Can I meet the parents? Meeting the father may not always be possible, but you should certainly meet the mother. A puppy’s parents give you better insight into her future personality than does her breed. A friendly, well-behaved Mamma or Papa dog is a good sign, both that you’ve found a good litter and a good breeder. A skittish mama, or a dog who doesn’t greet you at the door, is un-socialized. AwesomeDoodle has a “bio” (and some videos) for every member of the AwesomeDoodle crew.

How many litters do you raise at a time? A breeder with just one or two litters at a time, will have the time to give them the care and handling they need, to make them incredible dogs. AwesomeDoodle typically has only one litter on the ground at a time, so we can give all the attention that puppies deserve.

Can I have copies of the health clearances? Many breeds are prone to certain genetic conditions. The breeder should offer health clearances–documentation from an independent agency, such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the Canine Eye Registration Foundation–that the parent and grandparent dogs were tested for hereditary problems.

Can I talk to someone who’s bought a puppy from you? Good breeders should be happy to give you references; even better, they’ll refer you to other breeders as well as customers. Feel free to ask us for a reference for any one of our puppy owners. Mouse over “puppies” on the upper right of the website to see all our past litters.

Signs of a reputable breeder

Keep your eyes open when you’re visiting breeders. Here’s a check list of what to look for in a good breeder.

The dogs live inside. Puppies who are going to be family dogs should be raised inside with the family, not in a backyard, basement, garage, kennel, or “facility.”

The dogs and puppies are relaxed around people. If the parent dogs and puppies seem comfortable with humans, that’s a good sign that they’ve been properly cared for and socialized.

The place is clean. Don’t worry about the dirty dishes in the sink–just make sure the dogs’ living area is safe, sanitary, and that they’re supplied with fresh water, beds, and toys.

The breeder participates in dog shows or competitions. A good breeder is motivated by enthusiasm for the breed, not by making a little extra cash.

The breeder asks you to sign a spay/neuter contract. If you’re buying a dog who’s not going to be bred, the breeder should ask you to sign a contract promising to spay or neuter your pup, to avoid contributing to pet overpopulation.

The breeder doesn’t specialize in sizes or colors that are unusual for the breed. For one thing, extremely small or extremely large dogs are more likely to have health problems. For another, trying to breed for rare colors or extreme sizes is a sign that the breeder is more interested in making money out of a sales gimmick than in producing great puppies.

The breeder is up-front about the breed’s drawbacks, whether that means a tendency to develop certain health problems or a temperament that’s not for every owner. A good breeder wants you to love and care for your new dog for his entire lifetime, and she knows that’s more likely if you’re well prepared.

The breeder wants to meet the whole family and welcomes you to make several visits. To make the best match, the breeder will want to meet everyone who’ll be living with the puppy. And she’ll want you to take the time to make the right decision.

The breeder asks you lots of questions. This shows she wants to know exactly what kind of home her puppies are going to. She may ask who’s going to be home during the day, what your dog-owning history is, and why you’re interested in the breed. Don’t be defensive; she’s just doing her job, which is taking care of the pups she brings into the world.

The breeder will take the dog back, at any stage of the dog’s life, if you’re unable to care for her. A good breeder will insist on this. Again, she wants to make sure the puppies she brought into the world will always be taken care of.

The breeder won’t let you take the puppy home before she’s at least 7 weeks old. Playing with her litter mates teaches your puppy a lot about getting along with other dogs. A puppy who’s taken away from her litter mates too early is at a major disadvantage in her canine social skills.

Bottom line: Before buying a puppy, take the time to research and find a responsible breeder. Puppies from good breeders are more likely to grow up to be healthy, temperamentally sound dogs.


We found this snippet below, on another breeder’s web site. AwesomeDoodle will NEVER treat you this way. We will NEVER make you feel like you are “high maintenance.” We work hard, and we’re happy to do it.

Would you get a dog from a breeder who makes these statements?