As you begin to search for your new dog, it’s important to research where that dog is coming from and whether or not the source is reputable. Frequently prospective puppy buyers fall victim to online scams, poor breeding that results in health issues later on, or even the wrong breed! Sure, it’s easy to search “Cavapoo puppies for sale” and find a list of breeders, but it’s wise to think twice before committing to just any breeder that pops up on that list. Here’s a list of what to look for in a dog breeder before you commit!

Puppies Won’t Come Home Before 8 Weeks Old

It often takes eight whole weeks for the puppies to be completely weaned from their mother’s milk and begin relying solely on solid food. Another simple reason you should never get a puppy before 8-weeks old is because they won’t be properly socialized. During the first 8-weeks of life, puppies spend time bonding with their mother and siblings, building relationship skills, and learning what behavior is appropriate around other dogs. Play biting, for example, allows the litter to learn bite inhibition, learning how to be gentle enough yet still play rough together. Dogs who leave their mothers too early often suffer from behavioral issues since they lack these social skills. All this is in addition to the fact that it’s also illegal in 24 states! A responsible breeder will keep puppies until they’re of the proper age to be sold; if you find puppies available sooner than 8-weeks, don’t walk, run!

The Breeder Should Have Questions for You

While it’s common for you as the buyer to have a few questions, you should also expect a reputable breeder to have questions for you. Generally, a good breeder will want to screen potential new homes and ensure it’s the best fit for each puppy. There are times that you may be asked to fill out a puppy application form that may include questions about what you’re looking for in a dog as well as your current lifestyle and housing situation to allow the breeder to gain a better understanding of how to best suit your needs and make a determination on whether you’re a good fit for one of their puppies or not.

The Breeder Will Take the Dog Back Under Any Circumstances

Most responsible and reputable breeders care deeply about their dogs and have put lots of time, money, and effort into creating the best offspring possible in their respective breed. Good breeders have no issue taking dogs back due to unforeseen circumstances causing someone to no longer be able to care for their dog. The breeder can then market the returned puppy to a home that has been screened just as it was the first time, ultimately keeping their dogs out of shelters and in homes with adequate care.

There Won’t Be Lots of Breeds to Choose from

Most breeders stick to the breed they are proficient in and most passionate about. When a breeder has one or two selected breeds they focus on, this isn’t anything to worry about. When you come across a breeder with 5+ breeds available to purchase, that may indicate a puppy mill type situation where all dogs are bred at a rapid rate to produce income rather than having the breed’s best interest at heart. Situations like these often result in poor breeding practices and unhealthy dogs due to a lack of genetic health screening.

You’ll Be Able to See the Facilities

Okay, this may be tricky in recent years, with covid restrictions preventing many in-person greetings. However, a good breeder should generally be able to schedule a time to go over everything in a video conference using services like facetime, zoom, or skype. If you have trouble scheduling, be patient because breeders truly are busy people with lives of their own (after all, it’s no easy feat to ensure 8-12 puppies are nursing properly every 2 hours through the day and night for weeks on end). Still, if your breeder outright declines your viewing of the facilities, this could be concerning and may indicate they don’t want you to see something.

You’ll Meet the Mother

Many websites claim that the breeder should have both parents on site. However, this is a widespread misconception. Many breeders will outsource for their programs only breeding to the very best dogs in their respective breed. Many of the most successful dogs are owned by other breeders dedicated to showing and titling their dogs. This could mean your breeder paid a stud fee in order to breed their female to an outstanding male owned by someone else, which would mean you’re unable to meet both parents on site. However, you should always be able to meet the mother dog of your puppies since it would be unethical to separate the mother from her puppies before 8-weeks.

You’ll Receive a Health Guarantee

Having such a guarantee is a safety net for new owners. Some breeders offer a 1-2 year health guarantee, while some outstanding breeders offer a 10-year health guarantee! The length of guarantee provided may differ depending on how long your preferred breed is expected to live on average. For example, a Great Dane has an 8-10 years life expectancy, so it may not be advisable to offer a 10-year health guarantee. In breeds like the Australian Cattle Dog, where the life expectancy is around 15+ years, it would make more sense to offer this extended health guarantee. Generally speaking, the length of this health guarantee should speak to the confidence your breeder has in the health of the puppies they’ve produced. If your breeder doesn’t offer a health guarantee of any kind, you may want to think twice!

Now that you know what makes a good breeder make sure you vet yours thoroughly before purchasing your puppy to ensure you don’t make any mistakes that will cost you and your pup later on. 

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