The most important part of finding your new puppy, is to find the right breeder!

This is just  an outline of what I feel everyone should be looking for, when seeking out a decent & reputable breeder to buy their puppy from.

First, what is a breeder? A breeder is anyone that mates two dogs together intentionally! Whether on a regular basis or only once ever... the owner of either Mum or Dad of the puppies is referred to as a breeder... or 'the' breeder.

Myth:  A good breeder and her dogs are registered!  Fact: Being registered means nothing when it comes to health or conditions. Even dogs with serious physical or mental issues can be registered, as long as their dam & sire are. A breeder can have her dogs & puppies living in tiny filthy cages, starving & full of disease and parasites, yet still be registered.

Myth: A registered dog proves the purity of its lineage.  Fact: There are several cases of breeders having more than one male, yet only have one registered. They just use the CKC papers from the one male for all puppies born in their home.      

If no health guarantee is being provided, you can request the breeder’s veterinarian information, on the Parent dogs. Finding out the health of the Parents, is the only way to learn whether she's had difficulties, or medical issues with them. Don't expect all breeders to give up this information, as it is in some regards private, and sometimes not readily available. However, if a breeder is refusing, and not offering a health guarantee on their puppies... this is cause for concern. Its probably best that you walk away.

Myth: A good breeder has a fancy, well kept expensive home. They are well dressed & the dogs we see look beautiful.  Fact: This is not always the case at all. Most good breeders in fact, live modest & average lives. Be cautious of a breeder that has an expensive lifestyle. You may in fact find their dogs to be living in cages and kennels, and quite often only let out for appearances sake. Keep in mind of how much time & effort, as well as the mess and disorganization involved with having a few too many dogs. Does this breeder seem the type to tolerate, and be accepting of all of this? Too clean, could mean the dogs are treated as object to be admired, versus a valuable family member.  Just as a breeder that is dirt poor, with far too many dogs, living in a run down shack... is also a red flag. You don't want your new puppy to come from either situation.

Now that we’ve established some vital things to look for, and you’ve found a breeder you think may be suitable. It’s time to ask to see Mom & Dad or Dam & Sire of the puppies. Some breeders use outside studs and the males aren't always available for viewing. (males owned by someone else) In this case just seeing Mom will have to do.

Check to see that Mum looks healthy & cared for.

Remember, you can't base your decision on her disposition or personality toward strange people soly on her attitude at this time. Keep in mind, that she may be protective of her babies, and not entirely receptive to a stranger visiting. Especially after she has already witnessed strangers holding her babies, and watched them leave her home with them. However, does she have what seems to be a healthy over all appearance? Remember she has just had puppies, so she may not be at her best; but you should be able to see past that. Her coat should be clean, brushed, and free of mats.

Make sure Mom is the size that you are hoping for your puppy to be, when grown. Ask for Daddy's size, and weight if he's not there to view. Baby's size & weight will nearly always be that of the parents. If Mommy & Daddy are 10-14 pounds, and the breeder is telling you the babies will remain 5-6 pounds... this breeder is either purposely lying to make the sale, or has no idea of what they are doing. Just because a female has a lot of tiny babies, does not mean these babies will remain tiny. They are similar to us humans in this regard. Puppies will be born smaller than normal, due to sharing a cramped space in Mums tummy, but usually grow to normal size as adults. In most cases, puppy's adult weight, will be similar to those of the parent dogs. 

Always try to avoid the extremely undersized, or 'runt' of the litter when possible. As cute and adorable as they are, they aren't always healthy, nor size appropriate for your home environment. They are generally much more delicate, and require additional .

Now while during your visit, take a good look around. Do you see toys, doggie beds, treats, clean & filled food and water dishes etc? These are things to be looking for. Can you hear lots of dogs barking from one room, basement or other area in the house? Maybe ask if you could see a few of these dogs, or even the room itself. Don't be too alarmed if the answer is no, to seeing the room. Some breeders are cautious about outside germs. Or sometimes there may be a dog being kept from you because of biting issues etc.but there's no harm in asking.

More often then not the breeder just might prefer to send the dogs to another room to keep things quieter & calmer during your visit. However the breeder should not have a problem with bringing a few of the dogs out to visit you on a one to one basis. Let them know you’re just curious. As you see the dogs, also check that they look healthy, well fed & cared for.

Listen carefully as the dogs are being brought out. Do you hear cage doors or latches being opened or closed? Is it taking longer than it should for them to enter & then come back out of a room?  Or do you hear the shuffling of their feet & them telling the dogs to step back as they open & close the door?

These are indications that you could be listening for... are the dogs running free in that room or locked up in pens & cages?

Most breeders don't have the time to keep up grooming practices on each & every dog when they have several  dogs to care for, but the dogs should 'not' be noticeably filthy, full of mattes, or thin and lethargic looking. As long as they all look healthy, happy and reasonably clean you should be satisfied.

Watch how the breeder deals with her dogs. Is she loving towards them & the puppies? Do the animals tend to show her love in return?

As long as you feel satisfied at this point, you have probably chosen a good or decent breeder. Congratulations on doing your homework & finding a good breeder!