Guide to Finding a Breeder

How does one even begin to find a reputable breeder? It can be a confusing and seemingly overwhelming task. And with the proliferation of breeders now advertising on the Internet, it is not always easy to determine whether or not a breeder is reputable and responsible. What is most important to remember, however, is to be patient and to research well. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

National Breed Clubs
Each AKC registered breed as a national organization formed to protect the breed. Many have a Code of Ethics to which members must subscribe. Most breed clubs maintain a list of breeders, organized by the area of the country in which they are located. The American Kennel Club links you to these organizations through its Breeder Referral Search at The AAKC also provides a comprehensive list. [Note: link breeder referral list here]

Regional Breed Clubs
Most breeds have regional clubs with an active membership. Many of these organizations also have breeder lists. In addition, if the club is localized, members will know of litters planned by others in the club, and can forward those names on to you. Local breeders may be able to put you in contact with the regional breed club; the AKC also lists some of these organizations.

Dog Shows
Breeders can almost always be found ringside at a dog show. If there is a dog show in your area, check to see when the breed in which you are interested is scheduled to be shown. As most exhibitors are busy, not to mention stressed, just before entering the ring, it is best to wait until the dogs are finished showing before approaching. Most exhibitors will be happy to tell you about their dogs, and may also be aware of other breeders who are planning litters. Many all-breed clubs list breeders in the catalogs purchased at their shows. If you are attending a local show, check the catalog to see if there are breeders listed.

Word of Mouth
Most of the individuals you meet will not be the breeders of the dogs they own. Talk to a number of folks about their breeder experiences to get a sense of the ethics and reputation of a particular kennel. Look for familiar themes among the people you talk to. Then make an appointment with the breeders that appear to be universally respected.

We do not recommend looking in the newspaper classifieds for a dog. Reputable breeders rarely advertise in such publications.