Breeder Buzz-Phrases and Warning Words

October 15th, 2009 by Dan

If you have your heart set on a purebred puppy, the next step in the process is locating a reputable breeder. The best places to come into contact with breeders is at dog shows and dog sporting events, however many people choose to seek out their future furry family members on the Internet or in the newspaper. If you’re going to use these methods in your search there are some buzz-phrases that you should keep an eye out for, they’re generally a good sign:

* ” Parents Health Tested”
– this could also read “Parents OFA” (hips), “CERF” (eyes) or “Parents Health Checked.” Obviously you need to have the breeder thoroughly explain what kinds of testing was done and discuss the health of their dogs with you. However, this is generally a very good sign. Please note that puppies cannot be OFA registered! Certification is only available to dogs over the age of 2. Thus the parents hips are evaluated to gain a better understanding of how the puppies joints will turn out.

Weim Puppies

Photo by wasatch.weimaraner


* “Home Raised”
– while this might be something you take for granted, many puppies are raised in a kennel environment. These dogs are often under-socialized and have a hard time adjusting to life in a home. The normal sounds of daily life can cause them to react with fearful or anxious behaviors.

* “Health Guarantee” – A reputable breeder will offer some type of guarantee and will not make unrealistic promises about their dog’s future health. The guarantee will vary by breeder, so you’ll need to discuss it with them to learn the details.

* “Sold On Contract”
– A responsible breeder will always make you sign a contract when you pick up your puppy. These usually detail the kind of care that you promise to give your dog. Remember, the breeder has put countless hours of time, effort and love into raising these dogs! The contract should always state that the breeder will take back the dog if the owner cannot keep it – under any circumstance! Pet contracts will state that a dog will be spayed or neutered.

Climbing Beagles

Photo by Geoff Main


Warning Words
– If you see these in an advertisement for a breeder, keep reading! No matter how cute the photos are, it’s not worth getting involved with these people!


“No Papers”
– First off, good breeders don’t use the term “papers”, they’ll talk about registration. So if a dog has “no papers”, it’s a double whammy! This is usually a sure sign of a back yard breeder or an accidental litter.

“Rare!”
– If an ad says that anything about the dog is rare (meaning coat type, color or markings) it usually isn’t a good sign. Often these “rare” colors are actually not breed standard, meaning they can’t be shown or in some cases, registered. Some of these colors or patterns are linked to health issues (such as deafness in white Boxers and Danes).

“Cheap!”
– Simply stated, breeding is not a money making venture for reputable breeders, but it isn’t cheap to feed mom and puppies a healthy diet, get them vet care and pay for health testing (not to mention participate in the show world!). Keep this in mind when you’re talking to breeders and get a sense of what is about average for a puppy. Don’t go looking for a bargain when it comes to this decision.

Pugs on Stairs

Photo by Danielle deLeon

As a rule, most responsible breeders *won’t* advertise in the newspaper, because they don’t have to! They have waiting lists before their pups are even born. Every breed has a “breed club” and visiting their website can usually direct you to a list of breeders. If you’re interested in a certain breed, this is a great starting point. Remember, there are also breed-specific rescues out there as well! For more extensive information on finding a good breeder, check out our feature article: How To Choose A Reputable Dog Breeder.





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