How To Know if a Dog Breeder Is Legit? (2024)

Getting a dog stands out as a fantastic moment for families. They get to add a furry friend to the house and show them lots of love. However, getting a dog can pose some challenges if you don’t know what to look for in a breeder.

For example, you may question how to know if a dog breeder is legit, so you need to look into the situation—the process matters for multiple reasons, such as knowing how to avoid being scammed by dog breeders.

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Understanding the Risks of Dishonesty and Scammers


As you look into dog breeders in your area, take into account the dishonesty and scams you could face. Besides just financial loss, breeders can still be the cause of your woes in the following ways:

  • The dog may be proclaimed hypoallergenic when it is not.
  • The breeder may sell you a mixed-bred dog without you knowing it.
  • The dog could have severe health problems the breeder doesn’t mention.

Sometimes, scammers may trick you into sending money, but they never send you the dog. So, make sure you never purchase a dog without a verifiable way to get the dog.

On top of that, some breeders trick you into buying a dog, but the dog is a mixed breed. While mixed breeds work as excellent dogs, some people want a specific species.

Scammers will also not offer dogs the proper health treatments they need. From there, your new dog could have severe health issues, and they may not have the necessary vaccines without notifying you. This can prove to be fatal in some situations as some diseases can lead to death if left untreated.

The Difference Between Breeders and Puppy Mills


So how do you know if a dog breeder is genuine? First, you must understand the differences between breeders and puppy mills. While both breed dogs, they have key differences to show why you must avoid puppy mills and go with breeders or adoption when possible.

Here’s a look at the differences between puppy mills and breeders:

PropertyPuppy MillsBreeders
Profit FocusHigh, with a primary focus on generating income.Low, with a primary focus on the health, safety, and comfort of the dogs.
Quality of BreedingPoor, with dogs often kept in cramped and unsanitary conditions with hardly any exercise or socialization. Great, dogs are typically kept in a clean and comfortable environment with opportunities to exercise and with great socialization.
Health of DogsPoor, with a higher incidence of disease and health problems primarily due to lack of veterinary care and poor breeding practices.Great, dogs are kept in a clean and healthy environment switch regular veterinary care and responsible breeding practices.

Since puppy mills seek profit maximization, they don’t focus on keeping the dogs safe. Instead of offering them safe places to live, they’ll put the dogs in tiny cages and give them just the necessities to survive.

On the other hand, breeders make money and keep all the dogs safe. So they focus on protecting the dogs and helping them to become healthy.

Some puppy mills also don’t treat pregnant dogs properly, so they end up developing health problems later. Alongside the parents and puppies, they don’t offer dogs everything they need to grow into healthy dogs.

In short, puppy mills exist to make money, while breeders exist to bring happy and healthy dogs to families. Once you know how to ensure a dog breeder is legit, you can avoid puppy mills and focus on supporting ethical and good dog breeders.

Tips To Help You Pick a Dog Breeder


As you’ve seen, finding out the right dog breeder is extremely important when picking out a dog as it can dictate your entire purchasing process. Here are a few tips that can help you pick out a dog breeder.

Check Their Online Reviews

First, you need to look into that breeder’s online reviews. When you go online, you should look up the breeder and the business to see if you can find reviews. From there, you can see what other people say about the breeder to get a sense of the quality.

For example, some people will point out their positive experiences and mention why they would recommend the breeder. However, you should avoid the breeder if you see too many negative reviews compared to positive ones.

While breeders will have a few negative reviews, you should look for the best breeders in the area. Doing so will ensure you get healthy dogs as you avoid any scams.

Meet the Dog Beforehand

To ensure you avoid a dog breeder scam, you must get the dog before you pay. Make sure you can see the dog and have them nearby before you agree to the purchase. While a breeder won’t let you leave without paying, you should never hand over money until you have the dog.

Sometimes, scammers will try and get you to buy the dog before you ever meet your furry friend. However, such a tactic usually indicates they want to hide something, or they plan to scam you.

Instead, meet the dog in person and spend some time with them. Once you have the dog, sign the contract, pay the money, and adopt your new puppy.

Look Into the Conditions

As you visit the dog, make sure you check the conditions of the home. For example, you should see where the dogs live, how they spend time together, and their parents. That way, you can ensure the dog has grown up in great conditions.

For example, seeing the dogs spend most of their time in small cages poses a red flag. On the other hand, if the dogs interact with people and the litter seems happy, you can rest easy about the situation. 

You can see if the mother lives in a great and healthy condition. Some breeders raise puppies in their homes for proper social interactions with humans. By judging the situation, you can better understand the breeder. 

Moreover, if your breeder denies to show you their workplace or doesn’t let you interact with their dogs in a meaningful manner, there’s a high chance that they won’t you there and are not treating their animals well.

See If They Track Health Information

Dog breeders are responsible for maintaining the dogs’ health under their care. Therefore, they must keep track of any health records and keep the dogs healthy. 

For example, dogs need to receive shots once they reach specific ages. Therefore, the breeder needs access to those records so the owners know what vaccines the dogs received. Otherwise, they could run into issues with the vet.

If the breeder doesn’t keep track of the information or won’t let you access it, you may want to find another breeder. After all, you don’t want to discover your dog lacks vaccines or has specific health conditions before you adopt them.

Honest and Open With Questions

While you discuss puppies with a dog breeder, you must see how they react to questions. Dog breeders always receive questions, mainly regarding new pet owners. Because of that, they understand the importance of questions and do their best to answer them.

However, a scammer will dodge questions or avoid straightforward answers. If it seems like the breeder wants to hide information from you, you can’t trust them. However, if a breeder doesn’t know the answer but will find it, you don’t need to worry as much.

Doing so doesn’t provide perfect information, but you can get a feel for the breeder. From there, you can see if they want to share information or if they want to trick you.

Check for a Contract

Before you get a dog, you must sign a contract to complete the process. Signing the contract creates an agreement between you and the breeder confirming that the breeder gave you the right to adopt the dog.

However, a scammer may not offer a contract since they want to trick you into giving them money. If they don’t involve an agreement with the process, you must be suspicious of the breeder and avoid any purchases.

On the other hand, don’t just sign a contract right away. Instead, ensure you read over the agreement and understand the conditions so that you don’t run into any loopholes or legal troubles with the situation.

What if I Don’t Know for Certain?


Even after you do all your research and feel you understand how to know if a dog breeder is legitimate, you may not know whether you should support a breeder. You’ll need to judge the situation and determine if you can trust the dog breeder. However, think about how you answer these questions as you decide.

  • Will the dog breeder give me a dog?
  • Is the dog breeder open and honest with me?
  • Do the dogs at the breeder’s place seem comfortable, healthy, and safe?

If you answer yes to these questions, you can rest easy knowing you found a legit dog breeder. While the prices may vary, you don’t need to worry if you get the happy and healthy dog you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Know If A Dog Breeder Is Legit?

You can find out if a dog breeder is legit by checking out their reviews. Moreover, before you purchase your dog, make sure to meet your breeder and get all the necessary documentation about your dog’s breed and current vaccination to ensure your breeder is legit.

How Can You Tell A Dodgy Dog Breeder?

If your dog breeder asks for upfront payments, doesn’t provide the dog’s complete vaccination history, or has really poor reviews, chances are that they are a dodgy dog breeder that you should definitely avoid.

What To Check Before Buying A Puppy From A Breeder?

Look for any visible scars, injuries, or health issues. After that, request a complete vaccination history from your breeder. Moreover, examine the environment the puppy lives in and how socialized it is. Moreover, if you have allergies, spend some time with them to ensure you don’t go through any flare-ups.

Conclusion For How To Know if a Dog Breeder Is Legit?


If you ask yourself, “how do I know if a dog breeder is legitimate,” make sure you do some research. Looking into dog breeders and checking them will help you pick one who treats their dogs correctly.

While dog breeders need to make money, they should treat the animals respectfully. Ensure you avoid dog breeder scams and do your best to find a good breeder. Doing so will help you find a healthy dog to make your family happy.

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