How To Identify A Reputable Breeder

How To Identify A Reputable Breeder

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1. Are the sire and dam both over two years old?


Both sire and dam should be at least 2 years of age or older and have health clearances. Certification for hips and elbows cant be done until a dog is at least two years of age. Having these certifications helps limit the chance that your puppy will develop one of these problems.


2. Do both the sire and dam have health clearances, and has the breeder given you copies?


A reputable breeder should be able to show you proof that both the sire and dam of the litter have had their hips and elbows X-rayed, and evaluated as normal by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or by one of the following organizations; PennHIP, Genetic Disease Control (GDC), or a foreign registry.

They also should have had their eyes examined and certified free of hereditary disease by a veterinary ophthalmologist with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) within the last 12 months.

The breeder should also be willing to answer your questions about any other possible hereditary problems, including but not limited to seizures.

Here are the website addresses for the OFA and CERF. You can go online and check on an individual dog and his/her clearance status by typing in his/her registration number, OFA or CERF number, and Name (usually registered AKC name which includes the kennel name).




3. Have you met the sire and dam? Has the breeders sent you pictures and references?


If distance makes it difficult for you to meet the sire and dam, then the breeder should be willing to reference people who have purchased puppies in the past, names of other breeders, and the veterinarian that cares for their canines.

4. Does the breeder only sell puppies that are at least 8 weeks old? Do they provide a health record of the puppy and instructions on care?


Most breeders will not take a puppy away from its mother before 8 weeks of age. They should also provide a record of vaccinations and de-worming and instructions on care and feeding.


5. Will the breeder provide you with a 3 generation pedigree, AKC registration papers, and a copy of their contract/guarantee?


You should be provided with at least a 3-generation pedigree, AKC registration, and a contract and or guarantee. AKC registration may be done online by the breeder. More information on AKC registration can be found here:

A responsible breeder will guarantee their puppies for any genetic diseases that may occur or against show-ring disqualifications in an animal intended for showing or breeding. The contract should be explicit and a signed copy should be provided to each party. A responsible breeder will take back a puppy or dog (no matter the age) if you are unhappy with it. In fact, many breeders will insist that you return a dog to them if you cannot keep it for any reason. Their concern for the puppies they produce does not end when the puppy goes home with you, but lasts for the canine’s lifetime.


6. Did the breeder screen you as a puppy buyer?


A reputable breeder will ask you questions about what you hope to do with the puppy, where it will live, whether you have a fenced yard, and how you will take care of it. They may also ask you what kinds of dogs you have in the past and what happened to them. This indicates that the breeder cares for the ongoing well-being of the dogs being produces.


7. Do the sire and dam have titles in conformation, obedience, agility, herding, tracking, Schutzhund or other activities?


While a title before or after a dog’s name does not prove anything, it does suggest that the dog has both the ability and temperament to excel in a given activity. Titles also indicate that the breeder is active and interested in the world of purebred dogs that they are breeding for a purpose, not merely to make money.


8. Does the breeder know the breed well?


A responsible breeder will know the Belgian Malinois breed. They will learn about the health and temperament problems that exist in the breed. They will talk to you about these dogs' energy levels and help you determine if this is the right breed for you. An experienced breeder will also know how to recognize certain traits in individual puppies that will help them match the right puppy to the right home.


Now that you have asked all of your questions, be prepared to answer some from the breeder. Responsible breeders do not just sell puppies; they place them into proper homes. The breeder has put a lot into his litter in terms of time, money and love – love not only of his dogs but also for the breed itself. Do not be offended if you are asked questions about YOUR qualifications to be a Belgian Malinois owner. A dedicated breeder will not pressure you to buy his puppies. He will encourage you to discuss the breed, its positive and negative attributes, and talk with other breeders.

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