Buying from Dog Breeder

Updated on October 23, 2012
E.M. asks from Chicago, IL
16 answers

So, a few days ago I asked for suggestions on dog breeds. A couple of you said to consider miniture pinschers. Well, I found a breed I really like -- a mix between a minpin and pug (aka Carlin Pinscher). I haven't been able to find a breeder in my area, so I may end up using one that is a couple states away.

I've never bought a dog from a breeder. So, my question for all of you: how do I make sure they are reputable? Are there professional associations/organizations that I can contact? Better business bureau? References? What's the standard process for this?


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So What Happened?

I understand the benefits of getting a dog from a shelter, but that wasn't my question. I was looking for insight from those who have bought dogs from breeders, so that I don't run into the problems some of you have described. I want specific qualities and believe that this mix would be a good fit for our family. I don't care that it isn't a recognized breed -- this isn't a status thing.

To Leah: I was once "recognized" by an acquaintance, based on my screen name/location. I ran into her one day and she said, "Hey! Are you on Mamapedia? Was that you that asked XYZ?" Which was fine under that circumstance, but I later needed advice on a more sensitive/personal issue that may have hurt someone's feelings had they figured out who I was. So, I changed my screen name to Anonymous. (I since deleted the sensitive question.)

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answers from Chicago on

If only more people really knew what happens at breeders, more people would get their pets at the shelter. Please consider a shelter animal!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

Of topic I know, but there are so many dogs in need at the shelters.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My ex is a vet and puts hundreds of dogs down each year because there aren't enough homes for them all. Irresponsible breeders and owners are the cause of this. Therefore, I can't say that I think any breeder is reputable.

I also hope you aren't paying much if anything for the mix you are describing, otherwise you are being ripped off. It's just a mutt. I don't care what they call it or what kind of a mix it is. It's still a mutt. You can get one of those at a shelter for a small adoption fee.

My ex works with They have dozens of dogs in foster homes in need of forever homes, and they are in the Chicagoland area. You could also check the Anti-Cruelty Society in downtown Chicago.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

The AKC has a list of breeders.

However they often do not recognize "designer breeds" as AKC, so you may not find your breed on their list.

I have had three Golden Retrievers I purchased from professional breeders. I personally would not buy a dog without first SEEING the breeder's facilities, and seeing the parents. All reputable breeders will have parent's health reports detailing the parents' health clearance history, according to whatever the common health issues are with that breed. They will also have a family tree (with health history of THOSE dogs) you can see.

You can probably find FB groups for your breed of choice. The members there will be a wealth of info.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

This is all a personal choice....I personally would not purchase a dog from a breeder I could not have contact with to physically see the facilities in which the dogs are kept. My friend got both her Rottie's from research she did and an online breeder. 1 rottie was close enough for her to visit and the other had to be shipped from Georgia, which I thought was awful. They put him in a box and stuck him on a plane. Horrible.
Talk to your local vet, ask millions of questions, make sure they are AKC recognized and try your best to see the dog before you get it. A heads up for you, you should be very careful when choosing a breed, especially if it is a "designer" breed. At this time they can not be called a "purebreed" as that takes many generations to achieve. The breed is yet to be refined and you may get an ill tempered pup. Take into consideration your household and children. Due to it's newness, there are good, even tempered pups as well as the opposite. Do your research well, see and interact with the pup before it comes home. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

My daughter rescued a lab/blue heeler mix just over a year ago. Since her apartment doesn't allow dogs the dog stayed with me. Everything was fine for several months. The puppy drove me nutty because she just wouldn't learn what she was supposed to do or not do. As in chewing, going potty in the house ect but she had a decent loving personality ----- All of that changed rather suddenly when she started attacking my smaller dogs. Chocolate labs were the 'popular' dogs a few years back and many were inbred and some are simply nuts. This dog would be fine and then all of a sudden attack. It was like she had a screw loose in her head. I eventually had to put her down. It was a horrible decision to have to make but she could not be re-homed. I could not chance that she would attack a small child or other animal. Besides the fact that I would feel enormous guilt the liability would financially ruin me.

I would not ever get a dog from a breeder I did not know. Even though this dog was a mix breed the inbred insanity came through in her. You are better off going to a shelter to get a dog that has been observed by trained professionals to make sure you are not getting a dog with a pedigree of inbreeding. There is nothing more horrible than to have put down a healthy young dog who you actually love but can not keep.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

Make sure the breeders (and the dogs) are registered with AKC or CKC. I am not sure if there are other kennel clubs, but you should look into that. I got our Boston Terrier from a CKC registered breeder. Not all kennel clubs will recognize new breeds or mixed breeds as pure so the breed you are looking for may be considered a mutt. I don’t know if Carlin Pinschers are considered pure bred canines, but the kennel clubs will have info on that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would normally suggest the AKC, but your dog is not a pure bred. There are other organizations out there, ask if they belong to any. The standards may or may not be as high as with the AKC, but the fact that they joined one is a good start.

Visit the facilities, taking note of conditions, number of dogs etc. Also ask for the medical history of both parents. Responsible dog owners, esp breeders should have this readily available. Talk to their vet if possible, some vet don't have the time to do this so it may not happen. Make a list of questions to ask.

You want to know things like how many times has she been bred?The number should be very low. It is recommended that a dog be bred no more than 4 times in her life. I know many breeders who stop at 2.

When did they start breeding her? The safe and responsible age 3-5 years old. So no younger than that or older.

What age do they release them to new owners? No matter what someone tells you 8 weeks is best. People may do it younger and it may be fine, but a responsible owner will not do it before 8 weeks.

Why do they breed and more specifically why this breed? It should not be for monetary reasons. Use your best judgement as to the right answer.

I don't know how far you are going to travel but the day you visit the breeder should not be the same day you take the dog.

The first Golden I bought we went to the breeder, met his entire family, the male dog, the female dog. We walked his entire facility, saw where she was being kept. This was all very helpful because we got to see the temperment of the dogs. I had to wait over 3 months to get mine b/c she had not had the puppies yet.

The next Golden I had was the same except the puppies had already been born. In both cases, I had to fill out a questionaire and sign a contract. Good breeders take this very seriously.

Feel free to message me if you have more questions.

ETA: I totally agree with Jim, shelters have great dogs up for adoption. Most shelters can only keep the dogs for 3 days before they have to put them down. Not enough space or funds to do much longer than that. We adopted one from the shelter when I was 8 and we had her until I was 24. She was very healthy, personable and got along well with my other dogs. She was a puppy when we got her, so if you really want a puppy they have them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Sorry off topic but why are you anonymous? You've been on the site for years. Just curious. :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

None of the breeders would be "reputable" because you are wanting a mixed dog. The purpose of a breeder is to better the breed according to the standard. So, if that's what you want, all well and good. Just don't pay a fortune for one since it is mixed. Things like "labradoodle" and "terripoo" are just fancy names for mutt. (and I no way imply mutt is a derogatory term).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Although I read your update and it doesn't look like you are interested in a shelter dog, please know that there are even newborn puppies in shelters or with rescue groups specific to the breeds you are looking for. I would start there b/c it is MUCH cheaper, and you typically will find a healthier dog than with a breeder (many are "puppy mills" over-breeding the females who are sick, or worse yet- inbreeding and in dirty conditions, etc.)

If you're still determined to look at breeders, try to find one that is local that you can visit. Check that the dogs aren't caged and have room to run around and are clean and groomed. Look at their eyes and noses to see if they are runny (a sign of disease and inbreeding) and check references well, both online and by calling people who have adopted, etc.

A good breeder will keep a puppy with its mom, nursing until a good 8-9 weeks, and some laws require this (though it is often a broken law.) The longer a puppy can stay with its mom nursing, the healthier it will usually turn out to be, and the easier to train. I speak from experience here- we adopted a pup who was released at 6 weeks and he had horrible aggression issues that the trainer said could be direct result from being weaned too early.

I think rescue groups are the way to go- most are really reputable and you can search online for specific breeds.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Check to see if there is a Pug or a Minpin rescue near you. I know you want the mix of those two and I know I have a couple of friend's that have gotten a mix from rescues. I don't have pugs but I absolutely love my friend's pugs. Great dogs!!

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I've had AKC dogs and I've had mutts that I rescued from being put down at the pound. I find the mutts are much more intelligent on average and much more healthy.

When I get my next dog it will be a mutt from the pound or shelter. It will be about a year old and either be house broken or almost house broken.

I cannot believe a dog breeder that makes his living by breeding dogs over and over again is going to be reputable. Breeders want a dog to look like its breed says it has to look like. If it is dumb or has a bad hip or a bad back, its a so what as long as it looks like the breed. A dog from the pound has to be smart enough and healthy enough to survive. The dumb and unhealthy die.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

THe best thing to do is to turn to google and look for a breeder check their web site and start from there. I am not sure what interests you in this cross but whatever it is write down some questions for the breeder and pick up the phone. Make sure you ask how many generations they have breed and if the parents are there. If the person is a good breeder they will be more then willing to talk to you and tell you about their dogs. Ask for references and make sure to call more then one.
Yes there are a lot of dogs out there that need good homes but there are also reasons for people wanting a specific breed of dog. I think its great for people to go and adopt a dog from a shelter. This was not an option for us, I wanted a gun dog and I had a reason for it. Like anything else you just need to be careful and do your research. With cross breeds make sure you look into both breeds. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I have not purchased a dog yet, but this is the site I always go to for reference.
Good luck! I wish there was a rule about judgmental people on kills the whole spirit of the site.



answers from Tulsa on

ask for a vet reference and then call the vet. Make sure to google the vets office number and call him or her to make sure it is the vet.
That is how we found ours.

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