If you've purchased one of these animals, we will help you provide for it's veterinary care. We just hope you will be educated and help prevent puppy mills in the future. We have seen health and behavior problems with these animals because of how they have been raised and cared for. We hate to see this and want to prevent it as much as possible.
This is a link to one of the pages on the AKC site about some puppy purchasing concerns to help you get started looking for the right puppy.
I've looked at alot of puppy purchase contracts. I'll try to record some of the things I think are a sign of a reputable breeder and a good contract.
One thing I have seen is that reputable breeders are willing to take back the animal at any time during the animals life it the purchaser is no longer willing to keep it. They may not offer a refund, but they are trying to insure that their puppies and kittens do not become a burden on society and do not fall into the hands of unscrupulous people.
Most reputable breeders will require that animals sold as 'pet quality' be spayed (technical term 'ovariohysterectomy') or neutered before or near the animals puberty. However I've seen some breeders, particularly of giant breeds require the pet reach puberty before spaying or neutering. I am in agreement with that as early spay/neuter can have implications for problems later on for large and giant breed dogs.
Reputable breeders will not breed a dog before 2 years of age or a cat before 1 year old.
Reputable breeders have 'proven' their breeding animals. They have proven the animals in one or more ways. They have earned championship titles in the show ring, proven to be champions in obedience, tracking, field trials, agility or in several other ways.
Reputable breeders have ensured each dog has been screened for heritary defects known to their breed.
Reputable breeders have raised the pups in a clean, loving environment. Most reputable breeders only have a limited number of puppies available a year. They only have a few breeding females and will only breed them to have a litter once per year. It can be hard to find a puppy from a reputable breeder - because they don't have that many puppies! But, most will be happy to speak to you about their breed and will direct you to someone that is another reputable breeder. Or they will put you on a waiting list if they want you to have one of their puppies. Most reputable breeders don't advertise. You have to find them. But they are out there and are the gems of the dog and cat world.
Backyard breeders is a term that I use for people that are breeding their dogs for their own reasons but may raise the puppies in a great environment. Some of these people may rise to the level of 'reputable breeder' or may be slipping down the slope into puppymilldome. In my experience, although I don't support 'backyard breeders' most of these people give various reasons for breeding their dogs.
One reason is to recoup the expense of purchasing the dog they bought. I won't go into why that is not really very logical, it may be self fulfilling but the reality may be a very costly one.
Another reason is I am given when someone wants to breed their dog 'just once' is that they want their family to experience the 'miracle of birth'. I'd much rather have them experience that at the humane society after assisting in at least a few day's worth of euthanasias. But some people will not be dismayed. Some of these people think, 'but, hey, my dog is a purebred, the pups won't end up being unwanted animals at the shelter'. I think that thinking is erroneous and I wonder how many of the purebred dogs that are euthanized got there. This is a big problem in our area still.
One common reason I am given is 'my dog has such a good personality, I'd like a pup from her/him'. Well, yes it is hard to get a dog with a good personality. Oh, wait, most dogs have good personalities - so that really isn't a good reason in my book. And most dogs have more than one pup in a litter so the others have to be found homes for. I even get people that tell me they have had others tell them they would like a pup from that dog. My answer to that is yes, most of us would like a puppy and frequently say that to others to make them feel good and to give the other a compliment.
Now, look, I hope I'm not just upsetting people. My main goal is to help people see my logic to the benefit of pets. Most of my clients are reasonable people and most (likely >98%) of the pets are spayed or neutered at an appropriate time without having reproduced. Of those that aren't spayed or neutered are owned by responsible and reputable people or breeders. Many of my patients could have, or may have proven their 'right' to breed but the owner was responsible enough to see why they shouldn't anyway. I just really hate thinking about all the animals in our country that are euthanized for being homeless. I also hate thinking about animals in puppy mills that are treated as chattle. Look at the videos in the links above. That is reality repeated over and over again. I want all the dogs and cats in the world to have the cushy home I provide for my pets and not be kepted caged 24 hours a day every day of their life. I want to see all my new puppy and kitten patients come to us in good health having been raised in an appropriate manner so they don't have psychological scars or behavior problems that set their owners up for consequences.
Okay, that is enough for now. Feel free to email me additions to this page.