These are things I have learned the hard way and hope this will save some of you the headache and heartache. You need to know the warning signs to look for when you are buying a puppy.There are some wonderful people in the dog breeding industry that love their dogs. They do all they can to strengthen their breed by breeding better and better dogs each generation. But, as with all businesses, there are people who are in it just for the money, people that cut corners, break the rules and try to make a fast buck. They are unconcerned with whether you get a healthy dog that is close to the breed standards. They just want your money! You need to know how to spot them and to avoid them. There are plenty of reputable breeders out there for every breed.
1. They offer to meet you somewhere
This is a big clue that something is up. Breeders hate to have to pack up the puppy (and maybe the one or both of the parents), drive to a parking lot somewhere and wait for a potential customer to show up (if they do!) Why would they do this? To hide something from you! They don't want you to see the conditions of their kennel, the treatment of their dogs, how many dogs or breeds they have or something else that would clue you in to their operations. If they are intent on keeping you from seeing their operation, they must have something to hide. Avoid them!
2. The dogs live in cages or small pens
Many dogs living their entire lives in small cages or pens is a Puppy Mill. Puppy Mills are the scourge of the dog breeding industry. Real breeders who love their dogs and their breeds detest the Puppy Mills that churn out litter after litter of puppies with no concern to improving the breed or minimizing health issues. These dogs are often sold through pet stores. Never buy from pet stores. You simply should not support the penning up or caging of dogs for their entire lives. Dogs have been domesticated and are meant to be our companions, not simply breeders to churn out litter after litter of puppies. Plenty of puppies are available from people who care for their dogs, who play with their dogs, who bathe and brush their dogs. Buy one of these dogs. You can be much more confident that they are healthy, well tempered and well bred. And besides, it's morally the right thing to do.
You'll feel better about yourself even if you pay a few more dollars. Twenty, fifty or a hundred dollars saved on a puppy by buying from a puppy mill can quickly evaporate with the first vet visit and prescription. Surgeries for knee problems, eye problems or other issues of poor breeding can cost you hundreds or thousands extra.
3. The breeder doesn't have registration papers ready
You can avoid the hassle of trying to get the papers from the breeder by insisting on getting the papers up front. Ask the breeder when you call if they have the papers ready. If they don't, find someone else. It's an added headache you don't need. When the breeder doesn't have the papers and it's time to sell the puppies, it can mean either the breeder is disorganized or that they are having difficulties with the registration organization. If they don't have the papers yet, they may never get them.