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Top 5 Red Flags When Buying a Puppy

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting and joyous occasion. However, if you approach these transactions with caution and awareness, the journey of finding the perfect furry companion with a capable and ethical breeder will be so much easier.

red flags when buying a puppy

While many reputable breeders prioritize the well-being and health of their puppies, it's essential to keep an eye out for red flags that may indicate less-than-ideal circumstances. By being informed, you can ensure a happy, healthy, and ethically acquired addition to your family.

Let’s explore a short list of the top five red flags to watch out for when buying a puppy.

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1. A Breeder's Reputation

As the saying goes, a person’s reputation precedes them. The same goes for a breeder. A good breeder will have good word of mouth or a positive presence on the internet.

In today's digital age, gathering information about breeders is easier than ever. Researching online platforms, forums, and social media groups provides insights into a breeder's credibility.

Negative reviews and feedback should raise concerns. Look for patterns in feedback, such as reports of puppies developing serious health conditions or instances of misleading information about lineage or health history. Consistent complaints about lack of communication or unresponsiveness indicate a problematic breeder.

Engaging with dog ownership communities on social media and forums can offer valuable insights. Reach out to local dog clubs, breed-specific organizations, and veterinarians for recommendations. They have firsthand knowledge of who the good breeders are.

Gathering information from multiple sources paints a clearer picture of a breeder's standing and allows you to verity information, especially regarding health and documentation.

If negative reviews outweigh positive ones or if there is a history of disputes or legal issues, proceed with caution. Remember that a single negative review may not be conclusive, but a consistent pattern is a cause for concern.

2. A Lack of Transparency

Reputable breeders prioritize transparency when it comes to their breeding practices and the well-being of their puppies. They willingly share information and provide documentation among so many other things.

However, if a breeder appears evasive, avoids giving detailed answers, or denies access to where the puppies are raised, it should cause concern.

It’s essential to ensure that the breeder has nothing to hide and genuinely cares about the welfare of their puppies. When a breeder is evasive or reluctant to provide information, it becomes challenging to assess the conditions in which the puppies are raised and the overall quality of their breeding program.

A reputable breeder will gladly answer questions about their breeding methods, health testing, socialization practices, and the care provided to the puppies. They’ll be open about any potential health issues or genetic concerns related to the breed.

If a breeder avoids transparency and fails to provide the necessary information or access, it is best to consider other options. Trustworthy breeders understand the importance of transparency and strive to build a solid relationship of trust with potential buyers by demonstrating their commitment to producing healthy and well-adjusted puppies..

3. Unethical Practices

It's crucial to be aware of any unethical practices a breeder might have to ensure you don't support them and potentially end up with a puppy that has health or behavioral issues.

One common unethical practice is the mass production of puppies without considering their health or genetic well-being. Yes, unfortunately, puppy mills are a thing. Puppy mills are notorious for their inhumane and unsanitary conditions, where dogs are often treated as commodities rather than living beings.

Backyard breeders, on the other hand, may lack the knowledge and expertise required to responsibly breed dogs.

Breeders who prioritize quantity over quality often disregard proper breeding standards, leading to puppies with genetic disorders or other health problems. These breeders may cut corners on necessary health screenings or fail to provide appropriate care for the parent dogs.

Another unethical practice is selling puppies too young or without proper socialization. Puppies need time with their mother and littermates to develop crucial social skills and receive adequate care. Breeders who separate puppies from their mothers too early or neglect to provide proper socialization can contribute to behavioral issues later in life.

4. Lack of References and Affiliations

Reputable breeders typically have satisfied customers who are willing to provide references and share their positive experiences.

These references serve as valuable testimonials and can give you confidence in the breeder's track record, integrity and adherence to accepted standards in upholding puppy quality. While we did mention word of mouth and the internet, there's still more to consider.

Good breeders often have affiliations with recognized breed clubs or organizations that promote responsible breeding practices. These affiliations demonstrate a commitment to upholding high standards, ethics and the welfare of their dogs as well as staying informed about the latest developments in their breed.

Without references or affiliations, there is a risk that the breeder may be operating outside these standards or may not have a satisfactory reputation among previous buyers as these serve as indicators of credibility and commitment proper breeding practices.

5. Follow-up and Support

A breeder's level of follow-up support is an important factor to consider. Responsible breeders prioritize the well-being of their puppies even after they are sold and are committed to providing ongoing guidance and support to new owners.

Quality breeders will be available to answer questions, offer advice, and provide resources to help ensure the puppy's successful integration into its new home. They understand that owning a puppy is a long-term commitment and are invested in the well-being of their puppies beyond the initial sale.

Hopefully, they’ve provided enough information and guidance before and during the sale, but occasionally things could pop up.

If a breeder fails to provide adequate follow-up support or neglects to offer guidance on care and training, it raises concerns about their dedication to the long-term welfare of their puppies. Such breeders may be solely focused on the financial aspect of the sale and not genuinely invested in the puppies' ongoing happiness and well-being.

When choosing a breeder, inquire about their post-purchase support and ask for specific examples of how they have assisted previous buyers. Reputable breeders will have a track record of providing ongoing support and building relationships with their puppy owners.

It’s crucial to be proactive when purchasing a pup. By identifying the red flags above and others like them, you can avoid potential issues and make an informed decision that aligns with your values as a responsible pet owner.

Remember, a well-researched and carefully chosen puppy will bring joy and companionship to your life for years to come. So, take the time to find a solid breeder who upholds high standards and ensures the best possible start for their puppies. Your efforts will be rewarded with a healthy and happy four-legged friend who will become an integral part of your family.

Jenna and the JLDD Team

270 views2 comments


You're a backyard breeder breeding mutts to make money and yet you're posting this. This is hilarious.

Jenna Stone
Jenna Stone
May 29, 2023
Replying to

I'm sorry you feel that way! I'm not sure why you keep reading our blogs and insulting the business we work very hard on if you're not interested in a puppy! It's not helping anyone. We would love to know what about our business screams "backyard breeder"? We actually are doing all we can to combat backyard breeders, so clarity would actually be helpful here. Please email us at if you have any actual feedback that isn't just making generalizations without doing research! :) Thanks!

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