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[ How to Recognize a Reputable Breeder ]

This page was last updated: 04/06/2015

Published in the Rottweiler Breed Column of the AKC Gazette:


Where does the “responsibility” of a Breeder end?  Does it end when the Breeder chooses the sire/dam of progeny?  Does it end when the Breeder observes breed/club health requirements for the sire and dam (eyes, hips, etc.)?  Does it end when the Breeder sells the puppy to a Buyer?  Do you rescue what you Breed?    Where does the responsibility end?

Suppose the Breeder takes the time to select the sire and dam with health clearances, then what?  How about temperament?  Has the ‘responsible’ breeder considered that many of the progeny will be living in pet homes? homes with children?  Does the Breeder test puppies (PPT/Puppy Personality Test) before placing them in homes or does the Breeder simply sell the show prospects, first, then what is left over is sold as “pets?”  Is the Breeder willing to say “No” to a prospective Buyer if the Breeder feels that the Buyer is not ‘right’ for the breed?

Then what of the pet home Buyer?  After the ‘check’ is cashed, should the Breeder be responsible for that puppy?  mentor the Buyer?  for how long?  Does the Breeder place the puppy and then if the puppy is not out winning in the conformation ring, is the Breeder still responsible?  until when?  until the puppy dies?

If the Breeder does keep in contact with the Buyer for the life of the dog, then does the Breeder assist the Buyer in locating a new puppy from a responsible Breeder?

If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, then in my opinion YOU ARE NOT A RESPONSIBLE BREEDER!


Where does the “responsibility” for the Buyer end?  Has the Buyer researched/experienced the breed history, purpose, health issues, space requirements, etc. or because of past/current contact with the breed?  Has the Buyer taken the opportunity to take the AKC “Choosing the Right Breed for Your Family” test on the AKC web site?  Has the Buyer contacted a national breed club representative for Breeder recommendations and information about the breed? …or simply looked at the ads in the newspaper or online for local Breeders?  Has the Buyer considered the cost of lifetime dog ownership/care? fenced yard? puppy training crate?  Is the Buyer willing to take the time to socialize and train the puppy?  Is the Buyer willing to accept the advice, from a responsible Breeder, if the Breeder advises that the breed is not right for the Buyer?  

Is the Buyer willing to WAIT for a puppy from a responsible Breeder, or is the Buyer in a hurry to have a puppy for Christmas, a birthday, etc.?  How far is the Buyer willing to travel for “the right puppy?” …is distance an important issue or is locating the puppy/breed best suited for the Buyer’s family/home for the life of the dog the priority? 

If you are a Buyer, have you asked the Breeder for references? health clearances?  a 4-generation pedigree with titles (at both ends of the sire and dam’s names), specifically titles related to temperament and/or training following the dog’s names.  I always advise Buyers to pay attention that the sire, dam and the four-grand sire/dam have at least three champions and three obedience/working titled dogs.  Is the Buyer willing to interview other pet owners from this Breeder?  Does the Buyer have a veterinarian who is familiar with the breed?  Has the Buyer researched local pet laws/restrictions and property/home insurance restrictions?  Does the Buyer own his/her home or will the Buyer be moving/transferring to other locations with restrictions?

Does the Buyer feel COMFORTABLE with the Breeder???? and the Breeder’s knowledge of the breed?

Thank you, Glenn Pollock, who is a long time Rottweiler breeder, trainer, and AKC  Obedience & Rally judge.  The American Rottweiler Club, Inc., website:     Gwen Chaney, Indianapolis, IN 

How to Recognize a Reputable, Responsible Breeder by Glenn Pollock

Whenever I am asked by people, that wish to buy a puppy, how to recognize a poor breeder from a responsible breeder, I offer these tips that I think help determine if the "breeder/seller" is truly interested in the breed/dog or just in the money.  

I tell people that if they phone for information about buying a puppy, and they ask the "breeder" if he/she has any "male puppies" and the "breeder tells them "yes" and merely quotes a price, and gives you directions to come "buy" his/her puppy...hang up and RUN.

If the "breeder" just wants you to take a "look" at his "cute little puppies" to have you "fall in love with one", then RUN! If the "breeder" offers you a "special" such as "buy one, get one free," or tells you there is a "sale" on puppies now, etc., RUN VERY FAST!

If the "breeder" does not ask you questions such as why you are choosing a (breed) ,  what you want to do with the puppy, where the pup will live, if you have children, where will the dog be kept, etc., then RUN!

If the "breeder" tells you that he/she bred "Phoebe" so that they could have one of her pups, or to let the "children witness the miracle of birth", or that they felt "Phoebe" needed to be bred before she was spayed....RUN! The WORST breeder will tell you that he/she bred "Phoebe" for the money (that they'll get from selling the puppies).

If the "breeder" tells you he/she is "selling the puppies for a friend" and that he/she does "not have the mother", this could mean that the puppies are from a Puppy Mill source, especially if the puppies are NOT registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) but are the puppies are registered with the American Canine Assoc. (ACA).

If the "breeder" does not have a 4 or 5 generation pedigree on the litter or have more than just the AKC papers to show you, RUN! 

If the "breeder" tells you that the litter has "champion bloodlines" ask the "breeder" how many champions there are in first and second generation. If the "breeder" has to go back beyond the sire/dam, or grand-parents to find an AKC title (CH, CD, CDX, UD, TD, TDX, FC, etc.) then RUN!

If the "breeder"/seller has more than one or two breeds of dogs that they breed, then  be careful. Also, if the "breeder" has more than one litter per bitch per year, then be careful...generally it is recommended to only breed a bitch 2 out of 3 heats or less.

Reputable breeders generally specialize in a single breed or two and often only have one litter or two per year, even if they own more than one bitch. If the "breeder" tells you he/she has both "parents" on the premises, be careful...most reputable breeders select their "stud" carefully and often will send their bitch away to be bred to the stud most suitable to produce puppies that will be a credit to their breed with correct conformation, temperament, trainability, and good , reputable breeders are generally breeding to improve their breed. Most good, reputable breeders are involved in showing their dogs in one or more of the following: field trials, herding trials, obedience trials, conformation, coursing events, therapy work, tracking trials, Search & Rescue, agility, etc.

GOOD, REPUTABLE, RESPONSIBLE  breeders are concerned about their puppies and are committed to PLACING  them in loving homes. GOOD breeders will ask lots of questions and are qualified to answer your questions and will tell you if they feel that their breed is not for you. GOOD breeders will tell you about the benefits and the problems of their breed. Many good breeders have contracts, and many of them will take back or help you place puppies/dogs if the buyer is not satisfied or is unable to keep the puppy/dog. Good breeders may make you feel like you have been examined by the Spanish Inquisition, but they will be there for you throughout the life of the dog, to answer your questions, share your joys, and so many other benefits they offer. GOOD breeders may often be able to give you names of previous puppy buyers as references or refer you to their veterinarian as a reference. GOOD breeders sell "Pet" puppies with AKC Limited Registration papers and/or require spaying and neutering of the dog. GOOD breeders breed to improve their breed, and they breed show quality and/or working quality dogs that meet the AKC standard for their breed...which means that the dogs are BUILT/structured correctly with proper, working temperament (suitable to 'work' with people)...all that is required to make a good family pet.

POOR breeders will take your money and they will RUN!...and they really don't ever want to hear from you again. They sell you a puppy and then you are on your own...or shall I say the puppy is.

After you have purchased a puppy (a member of your family now) from this GOOD, RESPONSIBLE  breeder, then you must be responsible enough to train your puppy and ensure that it becomes a CANINE GOOD CITIZEN (CGC)...a credit to its breed, breeder and owner/family.

Note: When purchasing a puppy, remember that you must trust the "breeder." *AKC papers are no guarantee. The AKC relies on the honesty of the "breeder," and you must therefore determine if the "breeder" is worthy of trust. The mother of the puppy is evident...the father is not! When there are several males and females in the same pen, how can the "breeder" tell which dog sired the litter?   (*Definition: AKC papers = Birth certificate, and a birth certificate is certainly NO proof of potential)

**Scientific studies have proven that "nature" (60%; genetics) is just as important as "nurture" (40%; environment, socialization, care after birth)."   (Twins separated at birth share many similar personality traits and habits.)                               

Looking for a puppy?
The American Kennel Club Breeder Referral Representative Hotline:
Call 1-900-407-7877