All the veterinarian records with all deworming dates, shots, urine and fecal cultures. Many breeders will not have the cultures done. For me it proves two things. One, an excellent breeder would have them done. Two, they would be done to verify there is no urinary problems and no worms. I would want to know that before I purchased the dog. Otherwise, you have to have them done and it is not inexpensive.
The final veterinarian certified report that all duties have been carried out by the breeder.
Legibly written (or typed) daily progress reports by the breeder. Be sure it is dated.
A Certified Pedigree showing at least three generations of the family tree. I will give you an example in this section showing you how to make sure test were done and which ones.
The Contract. You should already received it or you wouldn't be there. Ask for privacy and compare to the one you have. Make sure there has been no changes made or negotiable item changes are still there. The logic here is she hasn't pulled a switch; you've already read the one she sent. Why would you read it again?

The Next Step is:
AKC Breeders
Finding Your Puppy
Puppy Mills
Breed of Their Own
Elsie's First Year
Buying a companion dog from a breeder is a very expensive endeavor. You will be purchasing a purebred that you will be responsible for spaying/neutering by breeder contract. There is an 80/20% chance on finding a reputable breeder; you have much research and learning to do. Depending on many variables, expect to pay anywhere from $1500 - $4000 for a puppy. The breeder you find may not be in you area. Do not just look at a picture on the internet and send in the deposit. Be sure of the credentials that a breeder make themselves out to be. The biggest mistake is not checking out the breeder's place of business first. By the end of this section, you'll know everything I didn't know and should have. It will save you a lot of time and energy when trying to find a breeder of the purebred of your choice.

At the end of this page will be a link to the comprehensive report I wrote to the AKC and the Great Pyrenees Club of America after I realized just how swindled I was. This guide was inspired by what I went thru and Elsie, my rescue dog.

While looking at a breeder's website, advertisements or at the breeder's business, you may see these emblems or awards shown below. They are important to know so you can immediately disregard unworthy breeders.


                                       The AKC Seal is given to certified breeders with the AKC

                                       The Club Member Seal means the breeder is a member of the Parent Club                                            

                                       The Bred With Heart Seal recognizes all breeders who meet specific
                                       heath testing standards and participate in continuing education. There
                                       are many other requirements involved to be awarded this honor.

The Breeder of Merit Awards take a considerable amount of hard work. Winning dog competitions have been successful for the breeder or from clients who own the kennel's dogs. These are the breeders you can trust. They have Champion Line Dogs.

These Breeder of Merit Awards are the best of the best for any breeder. They must certify all health tests are completed as recommended by their breeds Parent Club. They must promise to continue educational studies in their breeding practices. Comply with all laws regarding ownership and maintenance of their dogs. Lastly, to uphold all traditions of breeding purebreds that are happy and healthy. There are prerequisites that have to be fulfilled in order to qualify first. This program deserves the prestige it takes to be among the best. For more information on just how hard it is to be this level of a breeder, check out the AKC website.

A good breeder has a clean large agricultural area. Kennels inside and out are picked up and clean. There should be a wide-open fenced area free for running and play. A mother and new puppies should have their own space inside safe and warm. Look at the flooring cleanliness of kennels, size of kennels in relationship to size of breed. Do the dogs seem happy? Have they mentioned how important it is to dip your shoes in bleach? Is that bleach out of the range of the animals? The significance of the bleach is to disinfect against Parvo (a highly contagious viral illness) and other diseases.

Be sure the breeder takes you on a tour of their business grounds. With your new knowledge, along with the question/answer sheets in the Appendix, you will soon have a good idea if your breeder is reputable. A good to excellent breeder mostly likely have their ribbons and awards displayed. Is this breeder obviously organized with all paper work together in one place; better yet each dog having its own file?

Breeders will be assessing your character the whole time you are there. She will be asking you questions as well as you should be asking questions. In the Appendix are two pages dedicated to What Questions the Breeder should be asking and What Questions You should be asking them. Print them off and bring them with you. If a question is missed then ask it. Keep in mind not to use your emotions to make this decision. Financially, you are about to pay a lot of money for a companion dog. Both the breeder and you will be summing each other up yet for different reasons. As a breeder, it is their job to be sure you and their breed is a good match. A good breeder wants to be sure that the person they are selling to understands the needs of the dog, what your personality is and will you be able to take care of the dog in all situations mentioned in other sections. A good and excellent breeder will always be there to help whenever you need it
Print the Code of Ethics from the Parent Club website if you haven't already
Testing has to be done on any dog sold including puppies and parents by the breeder. There is a very thin line here. Some say testing has to be performed on all breeding stock. You are not breeding this puppy. Call the Parent Club for confirmation on their rules.
Bring your check lists. Pay attention to what questions you are asked by the breeder. A good breeder makes sure a new owner and the dog are a match. You start to ask the seller questions from your list. When you start feeling you are are not getting the answers but the run around, you are most likely dealing with a breeder who just wants to sell dogs. In other words a puppy mill breeder.
Ask to see the parents. At least one parent should be on the premises. If there are none, leave.
Ask for a tour of the business. You will see stalling, hesitation or excuses.
The breeder has to give you the following if you want to purchase the puppy:





Should the veterinarian's report be a simple check list, you can rightly assume it was a quick exam, if even done, and a thorough exam was not done. You will do your own little exam a few steps below.
These three important papers should all be able to identified as the same dog. This would mean that they all have the same AKC litter number. For example, what happened to me was the veterinarian  report said Girl 13.4 - the AKC application had her AKC registered number - the daily breeders report said girl. It is absolutely impossible to confirm this is all the same dog. Unless the breeder has marked each dog with its own AKC litter number, with the number on a collar for example, it will also be impossible to know if is the same dog. This is a tough one. The papers may all be in order; your conscious and instinct will have to dictate what you do with purchasing.
The breeder will insist the puppy was bathed before you came. From the exam you are going to do, the outcome will be one of the following: the breeder did not bath the puppy or is a very lousy bather, they may have bathed the puppy and ignored any potential problems, or while bathing she discovered a problem and is upfront about it, not just changing dogs out. You will need to discuss an explanation and planning for medical treatment. If you still want the dog, insist in writing on the Contract (both of them) that the breeder pay the medical bills related to this problem minus the first office visit cost; you are responsible for that anyway. Bath the dog when you get home anyway.

You need to start your own exam. Do not let the breeder stick her nose in. You should tell her you are very informed about what you are looking for. For females, look at the genital area. Is there any discharge? The more yellow and gluey the worse the urinary tract infection or UTI. You will see or start to feel the fur around that area feels glued together. Little puppies should not be having UTIs at this age unless from an unclean kennel. This will also back up the vet did not do a thorough exam if he pronounced the urinary system fine.
Again for a female, check her vulva (where urine is released) is it nice and pink most likely with fur around it? That is a good sign. If it looks weird to you and has a brown substance around it at the base, that is an inverted vulva. This is a problem and is a possible sign of more substantial congenital problems internally.
Do Not let the breeder tell you that this is just vaginitis. Vaginitis is an inflamed vagina. Is is a side effect of the UTI is. Puppies do not get this condition from not being properly cleaned by the mother. If you are buying an eight week old puppy, the mother has been taken away before this time which means the breeder has not been cleaning the puppy. The fact remains that it is a symptom which makes the puppy lick and lick that region. The puppy is essentially cleaning itself.
Please be aware that a dishonest breeder will say she just had the puppies at the vets and they were cleared of any health problems. UTIs just don't happen in 24 hours. This is the reason to have the culture done.
For male puppies, be sure their testicals have descended. Are they there first of all. Second, gently feel around for a marble sized lump in them. If there are not any, this is a problem. Is the penis inverted? These are all signs that this puppy should not have been for sale and certainly did not have a good exam.
Look at the ears for both genders. They should be nice and pink. Should you see brown crud or smell, this indicates an ear infection treated only by antibiotics. In the case that your puppy is constantly scratching at its ear, it most likely ear mites. Passed on by cats with little physical contact. The breeder must have a cat to get it started in the litter, has to be diagnosed by the veterinarian, then you can use a over the counter or home made solution for the problem. Also have your cat checked if you too own one. This is not your fault especially if you don't have a cat. It is the breeder who is responsible for it happening.
This statement is only coming from me because I believe in it. I do not find it in any Code of Ethics but for me it is a health consideration. Does the breeder go from one pup to the next without washing her hands, changing gloves or using a squirt of antibacterial gel? Like humans, we pass germs around by a handshake. The difference is we have built up our immunities. The same as a breast feed baby, a suckling puppy mother's milk has immunities it needs to get started. Once they are not being fed by the mother they are open to anything until their immunities are building themselves up. I feel it important that constant contact in a littler box leaves them all at the same stage. Once human germs enter the equation, I believe it should be as sanitary as possible. Again, my own opinion.
Bring a camera if you don't have a cell phone. When you have chosen a puppy and gave the breeder a deposit (get a receipt), make sure you watch the breeder mark the dog with your name, claiming it in some way. Many use different colored collars. Collars are easily exchanged. Ask and watch for her to use a permanent marking pen to put your name on the collar. Some like to paint their nails. Once that is completed, get out the camera and start taking pictures from every angle. These are later used to compare and make sure you have the correct puppy. Yes, the dog will have grown since then but the markings are there always and are easily identifiable.
It is your right and in the Code of Ethics to be shown all testing results on the puppy. This kind of breeder will not just hand them over, especially if they were not tested. She is counting on your stupidity or playing off your emotions that you know this rule. Ask for the test results!!!!
Before you sign the contract, ask for privacy and double check everything! The one item you will not have before the sale is made is the Certified Pedigree. The most important information to look and compare on the Certified Pedigree. I will teach you the instructions for this technique a bit farther down the page.
At the end of the sale, the breeder has to give you an Application for Registration with the AKC. The information from the breeder should be filled out prior to handing it to you. It consists of: the dog's AKC number, Names of the Sir/Dam, gender of the dog, color and markings, registration type, transfer of ownership date, name and address of new owners (that's you) and all required signatures.Take the application, check that all that information is there, then put it away. There is no reason the breeder should have it in her hands again. You will complete the registration and payment online yourself.
By the rules of the Code of Ethics, including the AKC's own Code, the new owner is the one to complete the registration. A breeder who tries to convince you she'll finish it if you just give her a signed $30 check made out to the AKC; DON'T DO IT. These kinds of breeders make it sound as though they are doing you a nice service. You will give her the name. She will write in the name starting far right of the beginning of the name line. This leaves her room to put her kennel name in the front of yours so it will be registered as another dog for her kennel. This was done to me and it was easy to change. Just don't let them sell you this kind service.
Lastly, in this long list of advice, this one is a take it or leave it. You have bought a companion dog that by contract you can not breed (unless you are just going to do it anyway), it has to be spayed/neutered. At some point if some unbelievable event occurs you may have to present proof the procedure was completed. There really is no reason you need to file the application unless you want to spend $30 just to have the certificate. There is no law saying you have to. Let's say you have purchased a show dog, then you do need to register it so you may compete in shows. At this point, why bother. Save the money and get a great welcome home present for your new family member.
Below is an image of a real Registration Certificate.
The little red box is where your address will be. It is covered for confidentiality.
The blue arrows show three items on the certificate. One, notice the type of registration it is. This one is a Limited which is what you would receive for a companion dog. Two, the arrow is showing you there has been no testing on the Dam. You will also see that first on the Certified Pedigree. Not having been tested has put your puppy at risk. Regardless of which way you interpret this rule breeding stock has to be tested. The Dam is obviously breeding stock. The last arrow specifically shows you that you can not register any puppies if you were to breed this registered dog. This will coincide with your contract clause of no breeding.
This image is the Certified Pedigree. It contains a plethora of important information about lineage. It is an intense paper for owners of show dogs. It has to contain all official documentation to compete. For a companion dog the only use it has is to check for correct testing and are there health concerns. I am only going to cover the basic elements you'll want to know. You'll soon realize most of it comes from the registration form.
As mentioned before, I wrote a report about all the breaches of contract and Code of Ethics of a dishonest and disreputable breeder I stupidly dealt with. Since that letter I have been thru the Adoption Process and a the Puppy Mill. This guide encompasses it all.

Click on Bella Luna if you wish to read. After all it is her story..

Please take this experience seriously. I created this website just for you to gain more knowledge to avoid bad breeders.
In this guide, certain testing has been mentioned several times. All breeds must have certain testing requirements. They in the Code of Ethics for that breed, there is also all encompassing breed list of heath testing requirements at Common testing for all breeds are listed below. The abbreviations you will find on the Certified Pedigree are in bold lettering.

Working with a Golden Retriever as an example, these are the standard tests needed:
The Orange Arrow is the puppy you are looking to purchase.  This Certified Pedigree came from a very very good breeder who most likely breeds show dogs. You will not find many that have such testing appearing on the updated sheet. This puppy's testing has ran the gamet. This paper has been updated to reflect test result. 
The Yellow Arrow is the Sir (or father). It has had DNA, testing as it should due to birth date year and possibly because it is a widely used Sir for breeding. And OFA/OFEL clearances.
The Purple Arrow is the Dam (or mother). You can see that she had no testing done. Had her parents been tested, which they have, indicates that the offspring is cleared.    
Hip Dysphasia: OFA acronym for the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. They do hip testing to rule out this common problem among many dogs especially larger dogs. They have also expanded testing to include elbow and eyes. You may see a letter at the in of the OFA test. There is a good example above with the puppy. It says OFA23G. The letters are grading marks like in school. There is: E, G, and F. Respectively meaning Excellence, Good, and Fair.
Elbows: OFEL: The OFEL is elbow testing. It is the database of test results. You will now see in more recent years the OFA associated with it; usually in front of the OFLE
Opthamologist Evaluation CERF: This acronym is for eye testing. It is not used much any more as the OFA has taken over this exam.
Cardiac Exam including congenital and acquired heart disease: This test can be done by your veterinarian but more likely done by the OFA as of June 2016. As you can see almost all testing is done by the OFA keeping all database results in one place.
PDF format.
First remember you can leave at any time.
Should the breeder not have a website, probable indicates they don't want you seeing their kennels before you get there; hoping once you are there you will buy a puppy.
Assuming they do have a website, is it professional, clean, and understandable?
A website should have pictures of their kennels and their dogs; not prepared clip art or photos. It should also have pictures of their whole business. A page about the breeder and owners containing information about themselves, how they got started, staff etc.
The site should also have all the contact information easily at hand such as name, address, phone numbers and email.
What awards, emblems and ribbons are displayed?
On the occasion you can not find a website or the site is messy, this is a huge clue to keep looking elsewhere.

Are they registered  AKC Breeders? Remember the AKC does not have anything to do with the
actual breeder. Look online for the Parent Club in the region where the breeder lives. The members
list has to be published. See if you can find this member on the list. You have to be certified to be
a member. Also look on the membership roles of a Specialty Club if it is listed. Always remember 
because a member pays their dues to be a club member, does not mean they are honest. Call the  
Parent Club pending any discrepancy you may find.
Find out if they are licensed in the state where the business resides. To do this, call the state's
Department of Marketing and Agriculture. The DMA are the only people who grant licenses to
breeders. While speaking with them, be sure to ask if there are any on going investigations
associated with this breeder.
Do not let a breeder tell you they have a grandfather clause from their municipality. What this means is before the DMA started the licensing of breeders, they were licensed by the municipality. The
DMA law states there is no more grand fathering in of licenses. Everyone must apply for a new one.
Do not purchase from an unlicensed breeder. Ask to see their license. Barring any problems, it
should have the State Seal.
Check the Better Business Bureau. Do you find any filed complaints? Whenever you see a business      
that says Not Rated after trying to contact the business, this means the BBB tried three times
to have the business reply to their request. Seeing this means this breeder has chosen not to         
respond and is ignoring the request. Your concern here should be that the business is in trouble
one way or another. Pass on this breeder and start looking again.
Call the Humane Society in that area to find any complaints they have had about the breeder.
They are a wealth of knowledge about unscrupulous breeders.
Search Google for the kennel name and/or the Breeder's name. Do any questionable complaints
appear from forums, blogs, magazine articles, newspaper accounts or websites people have
put up that warns you away? Start looking again.
Has this breeder been in business a long time, yet has no more than a club membership? This is a
clue that they are more likely a backyard puppy mill breeder.
In my own opinion, to me it is not financially justifiable to buy from a breeder if all you want is a
companion dog. Granted, you may be looking for a purebred only, in which case you would buy
from a breeder, or someone else who can show you all the proper paperwork and it has been
verified by you.

What and Where to Confirm:
The next step is very important. You need to read the Parent Club's Code of Ethics and receive a copy of the contract. In a case where the breeder will not mail, email, or fax you a full copy of the contract, let this breeder pass by. Do not put any deposit on any dog without reading the contract first. Get the contract before anything else! Below are items easily missed when caught up with emotions and not bringing your check lists. These suggestions are for picking out a puppy before eight weeks and buying a puppy on site at or after eight weeks. Keep that in mind as you are reading them.
Now we take a look at the other sided, the disreputable breeder.

This information you should know from the start:
Please look in the Appendix for a printable list of Testing Time Tables. The puppy cannot be tested by OFA before 24 months. However, both parents have cleared. No matter if you are purchasing a companion dog or show dog, this peace of paper is very important