Buying from a breeder
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​How do I find a good breeder?

If a breeder asks to meet you in a shopping mall, parking lot or somewhere else away from their breeding facility to get your new pet, DO NOT purchase from this person.

Print out our guide (PDF) to take with you to a breeder’s home or facility.

puppy in pet store cage

Signs of a reputable breeder

  • Gladly shows you their entire home or facility where animals are kept, and introduces you to all their animals — both adults and offspring — including the mother of the pet you are considering purchasing
  • Openly talks about positive and negative traits of the breed
  • Provides veterinary records that show that the animals are healthy
  • The home or facility is clean and spacious, with the opportunity for the animals to receive regular exercise and socialization outside of their kennels/cages
  • The person breeding the animals specializes in one or two breeds
  • A good breeder will ask you questions about your lifestyle and experience to ensure you’re a good match

Good breeders of puppies and kittens:

  • Do not breed females who are too young or too old. Generally dogs and cats should not be bred at less than 18 months and should only be bred once in every two heat cycles
  • Expose puppies and kittens to household noises and new experiences, ensure they are handled gently by many different people and are kept clean, warm and well fed
  • Send puppies and kittens to new homes at eight weeks of age or, preferably, at 10 weeks
  • Are knowledgeable about common heritable (genetic) disorders in the breed and will discuss how they breed and test to avoid the disorders
  • Provide, at no extra charge, valid paperwork for registration and veterinary records, including vaccinations and deworming, for the puppy or kitten you are purchasing
  • Ask you to return the puppy or kitten to them if it does not work out

Signs of a bad breeder

  • Agrees to sell you a puppy or a kitten without meeting you (e.g. over the phone) and doesn’t allow you to come and meet them and/or their animals before purchase
  • Sells their animals to pet stores or brokers
  • Has run-down or crowded facilities, is reluctant to show you their facilities or has dirty, unhealthy and/or fearful animals
  • Sells animals without vaccinations and deworming and veterinary check, or guarantees against health problems including genetic defects
  • Claims an animal is purebred but does not have the registration to prove it
  • Will not take an animal back if a problem arises or offers another animal if the first one gets sick, rather than helping with your veterinary bills

woman lying with cat