Red Flags vs Green Flags in “Dog Breeders”
Updated: Feb 16
Too many people nowadays get a dog because they are “cute” without doing any legitimate research on which breed and/or breeder is best suited for them. But finding a good quality breeder can be difficult as backyard breeders may seem like a reputable breeder because they have "AKC paperwork." But paperwork is simply paperwork and the AKC paperwork is more like a birth certificate. AKC papers or a pedigree doesn't mean a dog is good quality. AKC does not require any safety, health/genetic, nor temperament testing.
The Main Difference: The Purpose
-Backyard Breeders Damage the Breed. Their soul purpose for breeding is to make a profit. They do not care about health test, genetics nor what happens to the puppies once they’ve received their “payday.”
Responsible, Reputable Breeders Improve the Breed. Their soul purpose is for the betterment the breed, and enjoys doing it. They will rarely make a profit as they are spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on medical tests, stud fees, shipping the female to the stud, a proper whelping setup, birthing supplies, supplements, shots and de-worming for the puppies, registration, and so on.
Red Flag #1 🚩
-Backyard Breeders do not do any health/genetic testing on the female or stud.
Nor does any temperament assessments to evaluate if the female and stud are good candidates. They breed two dogs together just because they can. A BYB does not evaluate each individual pup for quality and temperament, and will allow the client to choose the puppy from the whole litter.
Green Flag #1 ✅
-Reputable Breeders do specific and expensive genetic and health testing on the female and stud. They evaluate the parents, making sure both are good candidate for breeding. They will will take the time to handle and evaluate each individual puppy and understand which puppy will be best suited for each individual, couple or family. They may allow you to choose the gender, or between two puppies if very similar.
Red Flag #2 🚩
-A Backyard Breeder only has “pet dogs” and has little to no involvement in the dog world. This breeder does not test dogs in shows, trials and the Pedigree is a list of pet dogs. A BYB knows little to nothing about the pups ancestry nor the breed.
Green Flag #2 ✅
-A Reputable Breeder is actively involved in the dog world, is involved in training, dog shows, sport clubs, agility, competition/trials. The Pups pedigree is filled with dogs who have obtained show titles/working certificates. The breeder is highly knowledgeable about the pups ancestry, and the breed.
Red Flag #3 🚩
-A Backyard Breeder will not do an interview of the individual/couple/family and will not require a signed contract. A BYB does not investigate if the new owners are capable of taking care of the puppy nor care about what happens once the puppy is sold.
Green Flag #3 ✅
-A Reputable Breeder does an interview with the individual/couple/family seeing what their lifestyle is, and see if they can properly care for the puppy, and will not sell to impulse buyers. A Reputable breeder cares about what happens to the puppies and WILL have a contract saying if things don’t work out the puppy must come back to the them (the breeder.) NOT to uncle Joe, NOT to the neighbor and definitely NOT the Shelter… back to THEM. They will also help with any issues you come across. They will also recommend training, and will require spaying and neutering.
Red Flag #4 🚩
-A Backyard Breeder will sell a puppy under the age of 8 Weeks old. which is not only illegal in 16 states, but can lead to many behavioral issues as a puppy will miss out on a crucial socialization period with their litter mates. This breeder will also not do any other socialization, desensitization, nor training with the puppies.
Green Flag #4 ✅
-A Reputable Breeder will never allow a puppy to go to their new home under the age of 8 weeks. A reputable breeder will also expose the puppy to safe and new sights, sounds textures, and even start crate training! These puppies should have a basic idea of potty training by the time they come home. (Due to proper setup and training)
Red Flag #5 🚩
-A Backyard Breeder will allow anyone to come visit the puppies at any age without properly disinfecting. They may not allow you to see the female or stud. Other dogs on the facility may not be friendly.
Green Flag #5 ✅
-A reputable breeder will NOT allow a person to visit the puppies under a certain age, typically under 4 Weeks. This breeder will require you to wash your hands, and spray your shoes when visiting to prevent the puppies from catching anything. This breeder will allow you to see the facility and meet the female and stud if on property (If no current litters under 4 Weeks).
Red Flag #6 🚩
A Backyard Breeder will allow you to take 2 puppies from the same litter home.
Green Flag #6 ✅
A Reputable breeder would never allow a person to take more than 1 puppy home. As they understand that that is is huge undertaking and these puppies can easily develop Litter-mate Syndrome. Litter-mate Syndrome is when 2 puppies bond with each other more than bonding with the owners. They become incredibly co-dependent and easily develop separation anxiety. As well as they hit maturity they might fight often and it can be severe.
The United States has a huge overpopulation problem because of Backyard breeders and Puppy Mills. These people soul purpose is to make a profit, and rarely care about the mother dog, stud, nor the puppies after being sold. And buying from them just allows them to continue operating. And of course backyard breeders through misinformation and encouragement have a way of turning uneducated buyers into more backyard breeders.
Dogs are not things, robots nor breeding machines. They are living beings, by no choice, are completely dependent on us for their survival and quality of life. Dogs need basic care such as proper nutrition, proper vaccinations/regular health check ups, grooming, training, exercise, and mental stimulation. Few dogs get the proper care they need which leads to many health and behavioral issues.
Lack of training + exercise is the number one reason why dogs develop "bad behaviors" and then are blamed, dumped or abandoned, and too often put down. Dogs were bred for a job, and if they don't have the proper exercise, training, or supervision dogs will create their own jobs which typically includes the things we don't want them to do. (Fence fighting, digging up flowers, chewing shoes..etc) As Well as Lack Of Proper Socialization in the first 4-6 months of a dogs life creates a fearful, shy dog, which often combined with poor temperament (as aggression and temperament is genetic) leads to fear biters. Which are then again blamed, dumped or put down.
If Everyone who breeds dogs were simply held to a higher standard, and only bred dogs with excellent conformation, stable temperament, clean health, working titles, and only sold to those who were capable of caring for a dog(+ signed a contract) we would have top quality dogs in this country, and a whole lot less if any dogs in the shelter.