Search Menu

Getting a puppy is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. When you’re looking for a dog, you want to ensure you get the right one for you — and that starts by talking to a responsible breeder.

But how do you find a responsible breeder? You can use AKC Marketplace as a resource and have this list of questions handy to get to know your breeder, your breed, and your potential puppy better.

Beagle puppies being held in a woman's arms.
©Pixel-Shot -

Understanding What to Expect From the Breed

One of the many benefits of purebred dogs is knowing the breed, and knowing what to expect from the breed. You can ask to see photos of the parents, but understanding the breed will help you get a good idea of how big the puppy will get, what they will look like, and what kind of temperament they should have.

One of the benefits of working with a breeder to get a purebred dog is having an understanding of what to expect from your new puppy once they’re grown. Together with your breeder, you’ll be able to learn more about the specific breed and take your own lifestyle into consideration before deciding on a puppy.

Have the Parents Been Health Tested?

Early detection is key to preventing serious health conditions. You’ll want to be sure that the breeder has tested the parents to be sure that they’re healthy and have no genetic diseases common to the breed.

Specific health tests are recommended for each breed. It’s important to work with a breeder who has an understanding of these tests and the conditions each one tests for.

What Is Your Experience with This Breed?

You’ll want to know what experience the breeder has with breeding and their specific breed. They should be knowledgeable about the breed’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as any genetic diseases that might affect the breed.

Along these lines, you might want to ask the breeder if they’re involved in any breed clubs, organizations, or dog sports.

How Are Their Puppies Socialized?

It’s very important that puppies are properly socialized so they become well-adjusted dogs. You should find out if the puppies have been around people and dogs, and if they’re comfortable with a household environment. The puppies and other dogs shouldn’t be unusually shy or scared. Early socialization will help the puppy better adjust to new surroundings and life with you after you bring them home.

Labrador retriever puppies exploring together in the grass.
©okeanaslt -

Are the Puppies Up-to-Date on Vaccinations?

You should be sure that the breeder has taken the puppy to a veterinarian and knows where they’re at on their puppy vaccine schedule. This will allow you to have the proper medical information when you bring the puppy home. Plus, you’ll know what shots they’ll need next.

Do You Provide a Health Guarantee and Contract?

It’s important to find out what kind of guarantee the breeder provides with their puppies. What happens if you find the puppy has a serious health condition? If you can no longer care for the puppy, will the breeder reclaim it?

When Will We Be Able to Take the Puppy Home?

The breeder should tell you not to expect to bring home the puppy until it’s eight to 12 weeks of age. Puppies need ample time to mature and socialize with their mother and littermates.

Three Italian Greyhound puppies in a whelping box.
claudiio Doenitz

How Can We Contact You After Picking Up the Puppy?

The breeder should be willing to give you their contact information and encourage you to contact them with any questions or concerns you may have. Breeders are an excellent resource and breed mentor for you throughout your dog’s life.

What Requirements Do You Have for People Looking to Get One of Your Puppies?

Breeders should be willing to answer any questions you have. They should ask many questions of you, as well. Breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes, with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations.

Picking the right breeder is important. You want to make sure the breeder is responsible, cares for their dogs, and will be a valued resource for you throughout your dog’s life. And of course, you want to make sure that you are bringing home the best puppy possible.

 At AKC Marketplace, we can help you find your dream dog. You can find AKC-registerable puppies from responsible, passionate breeders, and we provide the tools you need for every step of the process. Visit to start connecting with dog breeders in your area!

Related article: Puppy-Proofing Tips for Your Home And Yard
Get Your Free AKC eBook

Selecting a Puppy

How do you know what breed is right for your family? How do you find a reputable breeder? What questions should you ask a breeder? Download this e-book for guidance on these questions and other important factors to consider when looking for a puppy.
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download