Finding a puppy--She is here -New pic 4-7-22

I ended up with a rescue pup last Spring. I had lost my last Cavalier last summer and was finally ready for a new pup. Good healthy Cavaliers are neither common nor cheap! Part of me wanted a different breed to avoid comparisons while part still longed for another Cavalier.

I searched for Cavalier breeders while also checking out rescue sites. I found a breeder a couple of states away and after we checked each other out it looked like she would have a suitable puppy soon. Meanwhile I saw a picture of a little Chihuahua mix puppy being brought in from down South. I applied and was accepted. I thought about getting both puppies, but the logistics of getting the Cavalier were proving to be difficult. Reluctantly, I decided to just get the rescue. He came neutered, microchipped and ready for trouble!


Depending on where you are, my trainer breeds lovely Great Pyrenees. She’s in NJ and has about a litter a year. Very laid back livestock dogs. Her one male is #1 UKC right now.

oh he’s adorable. Wonder what his mix is? min Pin?
I’ll bet he can be a lil devil.

Yes, he looks a lot like a Min Pin now. He is sweetly sleeping on my lap right now. Awake, he is a lil devil! But happily he is sweet with strangers and other dogs.


They are abundant here. Sadly I am not a fan of FB Pyrenees( even though they are good dogs) as my neighbor across the road had a wandering one and she wandered over here every day for years! Drove my dogs crazy.

Very cute @MsM !

I like the breeder route as well. I got a beautiful Standard Poodle very cheap from a local, very reputable poodle/doodle breeder and I kept in contact with this breeder and 10 years later she gave me a Golden Doodle (for free). Both were females about 18 months old and had been bred for the first time and they had some problems so she didn’t want to breed them again. Perfect, sweet dogs and they had some good training and manners.
When this breeder knows I’m in the market, and she doesn’t have an adult available, she also contacts me with reduced puppy prices when she needs to sell one quickly.
I got burned trying to go the rescue route. Lesson learned.

Is this a real story or are you being sarcastic?

Because, in my opinion, there is no such thing as a “reputable poodle/doodle breeder” because that is not actually a breed, but anyone that breeds a bitch before 18 months is a bad breeder.

Any breeder who is dumping their 18 month old brood bitches because 'they had problems and she didn’t want to breed them again" is a puppy mill.

In order to be CHIC certified by OFA, both Goldens and Poodles need to be tested for hip dysplasia, which can’t be tested through OFA until 24 months. (Yes, I know OFA will accept PennHip, but I don’t know any breeder that would breed before 18 months even with excellent PennHip scores). That’s a puppy.

To be already done with them by 18 months is sickening.

I won’t even get into the “when she needs to sell one quickly.” Why would a breeder need to sell a puppy “quickly??”


Agreed, 100%

No good breeder is producing mutts for the designer dog market and they certainly aren’t breeding puppies (and yes, 18 months is still a puppy, hell, they would still be IN the puppy classes at AKC conformation shows). And how many “reduced” puppies does she need to move? Sounds like a classic, if slightly “nicer” puppy mill breeder to me and breeding before being able to do hips, eyes, and elbow? What a monstrously huge red flag, especially on breeds prone to hip problems like goldens & standard poodles!

iris2006, if that was an honest post, then you need to reexamine where you get your dogs from. I’m sure your dogs are lovely and sweet and they certainly deserve to have a great home (all dogs do!) but you are supporting an unethical breeder who is not doing her best by her dogs or their offspring, not in the slightest!


Okay, education time! Things to look for in a good breeder:

  1. Health certs on parents as appropriate for the breed. Don’t know what’s appropriate, ask Encyclopedia Google but if you get some spiel about “oh, my lines have never had a problem” and no paperwork or OFA number to go look it up yourself, that’s a problem.

  2. Age of the parents - if #1 was taken care of correctly, you shouldn’t have to worry to much about this one. As a general rule, bitches shouldn’t be breed before they are 2 - 3 years old. They’re still growing themselves and young bitches are more prone to stillbirths, small litters, and welping problems. On the other side, breeding a bitch much past 7 or 8 has it’s own problems. Obviously, there are exceptions to this side but if all the bitches are expected to be producing until they’re a decade old, that’s kind’a horrifying.

  3. How many & how often? Good breeders are breeding for a purpose and it’s not to sell cute puppies. They breed a litter, figure out what went right & wrong with it and move forward. Some only have a litter every 2 - 3 years as they move their bloodlines towards their goal. If they always have litters or the bitches are bred every season, that’s a huge red flag.

  4. What are they breeding for? Are they PROVING it? I’m not a conformation snob…I’m all for people breeding less than idea looking field or performance dogs IF they can articulate what they’re aiming for and why they’re sacrificing form for function. But if they say they’re breeding “working belgian malinois” and not a one of their dogs has made it in any bite ring and none of them are actually working for a living, well, they’re making excuses for breeding poorly conformed dogs. No, “great family pets” is not a breeding goal. It’s a SIDE EFFECT of a breeding goal.

  5. You can meet the parents and they are living in a situation appropriate for the breed. If you’re there to meet a lovely maltese puppy and momma can’t be found and there’s always an excuse on why all the adults are missing, chances are that lap dog is living in a cage out in barn. Good breeders are eager to show off their parents and any cousins they have, not hide all the adults from potential puppy folks.

And FINALLY, there’s a contract with a return clause! If the breeder won’t guarantee to take the puppy back in the event that you get hit by a bus, that’s a huge red flag. Good breeders want to ensure that their dogs never end up a shelter and they do that by stepping up themselves anytime a dog they produced needs help.

Lecture done!


THIS, thank you! Fantastic post, it should be a “sticky” :+1:


Lots of money being made by Back Yard Breeders making ‘Pandemic Puppies’ as everyone wanted a puppy to keep the kids entertained or something for adults to play with while stuck at home.
Many of these pups, now almost fully grown will be hitting the rescues soon as folks get tired of the work puppies cause and the novelty has worn off.

PSA for puppy shoppers- There’s many SCAMMERS working online so be very careful.
AKC is even warning puppy shoppers.


I can’t even imagine a scenario where the mother isn’t present when a prospective buyer is looking at a puppy. In theory, they are still in the whelping box at that point?! I’d be very suspicious of a puppy without a dam. Was it stolen?

Totally ok not to have the sire on site, as many good breeders don’t keep the sire and dam. It does happen, but it’s less common. It’s way too easy to ship chilled or frozen semen rather than keep breeding bitches and dogs. Many of my breeder friends keep bitches only. Some of them will also have a dog or two, but they don’t always breed their dogs to their bitches because they may be too closely related.


Oh, yeah, totally not a problem to not have the dad around BUT only showing a potential puppy person PUPPIES is a red flag and yes, it happens all too often.

If you go to see a puppy, make it clear you want to meet any relatives and other dogs in their breeding program and don’t let them weasel out of it. Not only will you winnow out the worst of the puppy mills (cause they’re not stupid enough to show you their shit & sore covered breeding stock) but you will also get a good idea on what that cute fluff ball will really turn into.

And, of course, be aware that whelping and nursing CAN hit a bitch hard. My breed, which is a double coated herding breed, is notorious for nursing moms loosing all their hair and looking like some sort of diseased coyote. Some bitches can eat all the time and still be skinny while nursing a big litter. If mom is looking a little worse for wear but the other dogs are in good condition, it’s probably okay.


Well done, AltersAreUs! A good breeder will essentially vet you as a potential owner as well. Don’t be offended when they ask all kinds of questions and request references from your vet. They really care about their dogs.

When we did a site visit with the breeder we got our dogs from, she first wanted to see how we handled puppies from a litter that had been committed to other buyers. Did we know how to pick up and hold puppies? Did we respect the puppy’s needs or overwhelm it with ours? Subtle stuff that she confirmed later. Then she showed us her kennel and “playgrounds” for her dogs. Along the way, we met the three generations of our puppy-to-be’s family and saw AKC winner’s photos of them and some that went before them. (We were awaiting a puppy from her next litter). Their temperaments were lovely and they were all happy dogs. Something that was also interesting and important IMHO was that other breeders of champions would acquire puppies from her to add her bloodlines to their programs as well as to show them and she would select studs from other breeders’ lines to complement hers. In other words, thoughtful and successful.


I can’t even imagine this breeding scenario being confused with a “good breeder.”

I have a kennel; one of my breeders has a kennel. But we would all like you to see what this breed is as adults. Of course the puppies will be adorable and who doesn’t love a puppy? A good breeder wants you to love the breed. They would want you to interact with their adults if they had others on the property.

There’s a breeder in my area & my breed who likes to do “puppy picnics” for potential puppy people to meet the entire litter when the pups are around 6 or 7 weeks old. Moms & other dogs are rarely included because that “kennel” produces notoriously snappy and unstable adult dogs. And while their breeding stock is health tested, some titled, and all kept in good condition, so damn many of their dogs end up in our breed rescue due to bad temperaments because, surprise surprise, they do NOT take their dogs back if the owners have problems with them, even though it is in their contract.

So going through the standard checklist, meeting the adults in the kennel is the only red-flag a newbie would run into with this “breeder” unless they did some pretty in-depth research and outreach with the breed rescue or tracked down other past buyers.

Yes, I agree; that’s a good idea then. And/or ask for names of people who own offspring so you can ask how their puppy grew up, as well as about their interaction with the breeder. A good breeder can give you lists of names of satisfied puppy owners.

Sady, this kind of breeder makes people believe in “hybrid vigor” when really the answer is to select for the right traits. Including temperament.

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When we bought my daughters Mini Aussie the breeder met all this criteria and she also insisted we get the dog vet checked within 48 hours and send the results and confirmation to her.

This puppy was NOT cheap but she has been worth every penny.

She was not a professional breeder, just had the one dog ( who was a part of her family) but she gave us a wonderful dog. I am hoping to find that again as I search for my big dog.

Lots of great breeders own just one dog.

Generally speaking - a “professional breeder” is a puppy mill. Most breeders don’t really make a profit from breeding dogs - it might seem like they will if they sell 8 puppies for $1500+ each. But the expenses that have gone into the dog prior to breeding add up to at least that, if not more. Putting titles on dogs is expensive, even if you handle them yourself (show, field, agility, etc.) Mostly in the cost of training and travel, not show entries themselves.

My breed friends are just coming home from our national show - a breeder that shows at their national shows wants their breeding stock shown and recognized amongst the best breeders in the country. But they do it because they love the breed. There is no payment from winning those things but the recognition of the breeding program is important, and a huge thrill for the breeders/owners who are recognized at that level.

I’d hate to add up what I’ve put into showing/training my dogs. It’s a lot, but it’s a hobby so I don’t consider it a “cost of doing business” and make up for it on the other end with payment. Especially since I own males, and they require the same training/travel/shows as the bitches who are bred. But as the sire owner I only get a stud fee (price of one puppy) for a breeding. I would have to stud my dog out every week to recoup his show expenses. (And, no one wants my dog - or really, any dog - that much.)


Yeah, no good breeder I know makes enough to cover the costs of training, titling, and then breeding their dogs. The breeder for my current up & coming puppy is a prime example. The mom was shown to her bronze grand championship, has obedience, rally, herding, trick, you name it on the back end (with all the classes and training that took), then health certs, then repro vet & semen transport cause covid meant she couldn’t take her bitch cross country for a live cover … my breeder friend literally spent a mid-five figures to buy, campaign, and breed that bitch. Got one puppy. One.

Now she had a decent sized litter the next time around but even spread across ~8 pups, there is no way she’s ever coming close to even there. And this breeder normally has one “active” show dog of breeding age, an up & coming prospect and one or two retired dogs that are altered.

Anyone making enough to live on by producing puppies is cutting one or more corners off of the “good breeder” handbook.