How to Find a Humanely Bred Puppy in Colorado

Find A Rsponsible BreederWhether you are looking for a responsibly and humanely bred puppy in Colorado or somewhere else in the United States, one thing is for sure: you must know how to tell the difference between a responsible dog breeder and a puppy mill. Both will advertise on the internet as dog breeders, so how do you tell them apart?

10 tips for identifying responsible dog breeders vs. puppy mills

  1. Responsible dog breeders only sell one or a few breeds of dogs. When you come upon a breeder that sells many dog breeds it is usually because they are just in it for the money and not for the love of the animals or the breed.

  2. Responsible breeders do not sell to pet stores or to people whom they have not met in person.  Responsible breeders want to make sure their pups go to good loving homes and so they are just as interested in checking you out as you are about checking them out. They will not ship the dog to you without first having met you.
  3. Responsible breeders do not have the type of puppy you want available year-round. Dogs go into heat, typically, twice a year. That means if the breeder has 2 female dogs having puppies twice a year there will be four litters of puppies. Usually, they will have a waiting list for people interested in puppies from future litters.

  4. Responsible breeders are glad to show you where the puppies and the breeding dogs spend their time. Their living areas are appropriate for the breed. The dogs have plenty of room to move around, get exercise and relax comfortably. The dog areas are clean and well maintained.

  5. Responsible breeders take pride in their dogs and will know their dogs by name. They care for them like beloved pets not inventory. A responsible breeder’s dogs will be healthy, energetic, bright eyed and won’t be afraid of people.

  6. Responsible breeders will encourage you and your family to visit the puppy often before it is ready to go home with you.

  7. A Responsible breeder will share veterinary records for the parents and the puppy. Similarly, they will share the results of genetic testing. You as a new puppy parent will want to know the genetic and developmental issues you might face with your chosen puppy. Please note: Colorado Canine Advocates is unable to verify the health status of the puppy's parents or guarantee the health of your new puppy. We recommend all new potential puppy buyers visit Orthopedic Foundation for Animals - Companion Animal Research Center to research genetic and developmental issues you might face with the breed or specific puppy you are considering. You can ask the potential breeder what steps they are taking to mitigate the risks.

  8. Responsible breeders care about the psychological and physical needs of their dogs. They provide toys, exercise, and socialize their dogs.

  9. Responsible breeders will be knowledgeable and offer guidance for the care and training of your puppy and will offer support after you’ve adopted your puppy.

  10. A Responsible breeder will have a written contract that guarantees the health of the dog. It will require you to spay or neuter your dog unless you are planning to show it. And, it will often require you to return the dog to the breeder if for any reason you cannot keep the dog.

Before signing a contract or giving a deposit to a breeder:

  • Use Google to check for reviews of the breeder. While even puppy mills will have some good reviews, be sure to look for and read the bad reviews. Look for reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp as a starting point.

  • Ask for references and talk to other families who have previously purchased one of their puppies.

  • Read the fine print regarding the deposit. Some breeders have a non-refundable deposit policy and will not return it in any situation including death or military PCS. If their deposit information is not in writing, get it in writing.

  • Do not buy from people rehoming their “pets” on Craigslist. Craigslist does not allow animals to be sold on their website, but many breeders will advertise their puppies as being rehomed for a fee which Craigslist does allow. If you go this route, just know that a rehoming fee should be a couple hundred dollars at most not a thousand or more.

  • Do not buy puppies from pet stores. Responsible pet store owners do not sell dogs in their stores. 

  • And last but not least, make sure you are ready for a puppy and understand the exercise requirements of the puppy you intend to  purchase. Many a dog has displayed bad behaviors from not getting enough exercise.

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