How to Judge a Dog Breeder

Dog Breeders – how do you know who to trust?

What should you think about when you decide to get a dog? There is lots of information on this website about Finding a Dog. I’ve given you things to think about before you start, such as what kind of dog you should have and where to get it from.

Kennel Club Assured Breeder
Me and my dogs

I’ve written posts several times about puppy farmers and how to spot them. I regularly refer to the links on the Kennel Club website about puppy farmers, or commercial breeders. I think the KC website is a great resource when looking for a dog and it makes me sad that people think of the Kennel Club as snobbish and only caring about the showing of dogs, because welfare is at the heart of what they do.

Rescue or breeder

This post is a response to the ongoing social media battle that people have around the view that buying a dog from a breeder is automatically wrong and immoral. “There are thousands of dogs in rescues that will otherwise be put to sleep if they are not re-homed.” That’s not true.

The Dogs Trust say the following:

“We never put a healthy dog to sleep. If we can’t find a dog a new home, or there are reasons why they can’t be rehomed, they will always have a home with us. Dogs who need very specific home environments that may take a long time to find, like some of our sponsor dogs, are very happy staying with us.”

The RSPCA say the following:

Our policy states that we will not euthanase a healthy, rehomeable animal. We will euthanase an animal only if this is in the best interest of their welfare. This means preventing further suffering, whether that’s physical or mental, if they can’t be rehabilitated with a view to either release (if wild) or rehome (if domestic).

Shop or adopt

One post I have seen from a vet included the comment “Around 800,000 puppies are bought in the UK each year. The rescue population stands at around 80,000. It is far more common to shop and not adopt.

It is absolutely true that since the start of the pandemic demand for dogs has massively increased. I am sure you know plenty of people who have been working from home and have decided to get a dog. Sadly, many people don’t do the research and think long-term, so these dogs are now being dumped into rescues.

Kennel Club Assured Breeder
the right kind of breeder?

There is no reason you cannot buy a puppy from a breeder, if you want to. Except how do you know what kind of breeder you are buying from? How do you judge the breeder? How do you make sure you are not perpetrating horrible, cruel breeding practice?

Making a judgement

One social media group criticised me for mentioning that I was a breeder. I was told: “it’s impossible for us to judge breeders, I feel sure you are a good one – but, you will know, many who seem good, are not. And how can we tell? We can’t.

“It’s not a question that we cant accept it, it’s that, if we let you post about your kennel, there are many others who would post as well and use us as a place to advertise.”

I disagree entirely with this. It is easy to judge!

Kennel Club Assured Breeder
Judge me

Start with health tests

Someone contacted me this week to ask what hip scores should be as a friend was thinking of getting a puppy. I said it depends on the breed and found the list of breed scores on the KC website.

I said that if the health tests required for the breed are carried out, the breeder is invested in producing healthy puppies. So you can judge them to be responsible. Here’s a link to the list of health tests required for a Border Collie. You can search by breed to see others.

Is the breeder registered?

If the breeder has registered with the Kennel Club as an Assured Breeder, they have gone to a great deal of trouble. You don’t just pay the fee, you have to apply and go through a rigorous inspection every three years. They look at everything! It’s a very detailed process and you can be sure that only a breeder who really wants the best for their dogs will put themself through it.

Different types of breeder

There are different breeders and not all of these are KC Assured Breeders. Nor are they puppy farmers. Many people have a litter of puppies from their dog because they love their dog and want another one the same. That’s fine. These people are what are often referred to as ‘hobby breeders‘.

Unfortunately, hobby breeders don’t know much about breeding and are often clueless when they advertise their puppies or look at the people coming to buy. You learn from experience and if you only have one litter, you may be unable to judge the quality of home you are sending your puppy off to.

Kennel Club Assured Breeder
for the love of dogs

So if you want to make sure you are the best home for your puppy, go to an experienced breeder. Not least because they will give you ongoing support and advice, if you need it. They will also guarantee to take the puppy back from you if your circumstances change.

Look at the adverts

Here’s an advert:

“working Labrador puppies. They have been reared in a home environment and have been well socialised. They are used to dogs, cats, chickens and children. Both Dam and Sire are working dogs and also much loved family pets. Both parents are available for viewing with the puppies. We also have extended family that can be seen as the Dam has been home bred, all from working lines. The Dam is a 4 year old black bitch and the Sire is 2 year old red dog. Both have been health tested. The puppies will be Kennel club registered and have been Microchipped and vet checked. We have 3 puppies available currently.”

What do you think? Lots of details about the parents. Home environment, much loved family pets. Health tested, KC registered and microchipped. I would look at these puppies.

Here’s another advert:

“Ready to go new home! Chow Chow beautiful puppies! Very nice colour, puppy trained, very funny, playful, good around kids around another dog! Mum beautiful, she is family members.”

What about that one? Not much information. Not KC registered, despite being a pedigree breed. I would NOT trust this person.

One more:

“Cockapoo female pup ready 12 Nov will be microchipped and have 1st injection… She is very mischievous and loving 1st to see will buy”

There are no pictures of the mum with the puppies, feeding. It is just a photo of a puppy being held up and a picture of an adult dog. ‘1st to see will buy’ encourages you to rush into it. Er, no.

Not recommended

I found another cockapoo advert says ‘Both parents are fully health tested’. So you could start by asking what health tests they have had? Make sure you know what health tests they should have had?

Be critical

Look at lots of breeders and adverts. Ask lots of questions. Challenge the breeder! I have nothing to hide, so I am happy to answer any questions thrown at me. As you can see from my website!

PS: I don’t advertise. I don’t need to. My previous puppy owners keep coming back for more! 😀

Buy the Workbook

The Workbook – A Year With Your Puppy is available to buy. I have written and designed this to be a hands-on, interactive book for you. It will help you survive the first year with your puppy, but also act as a memento of that time and the journey you have been on. You can write notes and stick in pictures of your puppy throughout the year. Lovely!


Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME, by filling in your email address below?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.


NB: I am not a dog trainer, or a dog behaviourist, just a dog breeder and

2 thoughts on “How to Judge a Dog Breeder”

    1. Hi Mandy, I don’t really have specific requirements, other than wanting a ‘pet’ rather than a ‘working’ home. I do expect people to have done plenty of research and know exactly why a Border Collie is the right dog for them. I want people to care about the dog they get and to expect the healthiest possible dog, with the best temperament. Please read the FAQs on the Breeder info page for more details? Thanks

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