27 things you should know about responsible dog breeders

Behind every well-bred dog is a whole lot of love, hard work, and heart.

by Good Dog

There are lots of harmful false narratives about dog breeders out there. To set the record straight, we recently asked our Good Breeder community on Facebook to tell us what they wish the public knew about responsible dog breeders. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Responsible breeders love each and every one of their dogs like family.

"I love my dogs immensely and in turn love the puppies they produce just as much. They become part of my heart.” –Kristi Cross Grogan, Black Gold AKC Miniature Schnauzers

2. Their puppies are their legacy, and they do everything they can to give them the best possible care.

"I work my behind off making appropriate pairings, providing enrichment and an excellent diet, ensuring husbandry is up to scratch and every dog has its genetic studies done. I work hard at building relationships and supporting my clients. It is draining, tiring and often thankless, but I love my dogs and what I produce and I can sleep at night.” –Jolanda Naarding

3. Their work ethic and ability to function without sleep are unmatched.

"I wish people knew all the hard work, endless nights and research and learning that I do in between breeding dogs.” –Gillian Krueger, Country Pearls Goldens

A very sleepy pup

4. They invest so much into their dogs.

"Raising a litter of puppies is 24/7 for 8-12 weeks and pulls us away from family events, etc." –Jamie Vogel, Vogelhaus German Shepherds

5. And they are truly dedicated to their craft.

“Breeding dogs is both an art and a skill. It requires all the dedication, passion, love, ethics, and hard work of any trade, craft, or profession. Good breeders are made through hard work and continuing education — they don’t spontaneously appear from a cloud of good intentions.” –Susanne Shelton, Austerlitz German Shepherds

6. But they’re not in it for the money.

"Good, responsible breeders don't make any money off the litters we bring into the world, and that’s okay! We do all the necessary health testing, training, education and every little extra thing to make sure the puppies we bring into the world will be amazing lifelong partners for their future families.” –Kimberly Huston Beam

Four tiny Rottweiler puppies frolicking on a lawn

7. In fact, most responsible breeders don’t make a profit at all.

"It’s not about making money, that’s for sure! It’s so much more.” –Melissa Hall

8. They do what they do for the very best reasons...

"Our litters are planned out with specific goals in mind. The puppies produced represent a devotion of not only me as the breeder but the breeders that came before me.” –Maureen Greaves

9. Like preserving their amazing breeds.

"Without dedicated true breed preservation, we would lose so much heritage and history. Why does the world weep for the last of another species lost but not even blink at lost dog breeds?” –Jennifer Mike Bills, MnJ Poodles

A very proud poodle

10. And all the love and joy their dogs bring into this world.

“A true breeder usually has a reason for breeding that they hold so dear to their heart. Every time they sell a puppy to a new happy family, that reason is reaffirmed, and it feels like sunshine.” –Sierra Badley

11. They treat their dogs like any loving owner would.

"We treat our dogs with the same love and respect other pet owners do." –Jen Chandler, Cabeza Grande Kennel

12. But that’s not all they do. Every good breeder is a great teacher, too.

“We take pride in our pups. We teach them how to behave, how to love other animals, how to love people.” –Angela Ruza, Ruza's Bulldogs

A young adult dog playing with their owner on a beautiful green lawn

13. They’re a second mother to their puppies.

“Right now, I am bottle-feeding four pups mom rejected at 3 days, bottle feeding every three hours, and doing the things mom usually does like cleaning and stimulation. The bright side will be when each puppy goes to their new home, seeing the joy on their families’ faces.” –Linda Biniak

14. They’re even detectives when they need to be.

"Breeders will spend hours in tears trying hard to get information from a vet clinic, shelter or rescue to find out if a dog that looks like it could be one from their litter is one from their litter.” –Jennifer Hulbert

A golden retriever helping his owner on the computer

15. They ask buyers a million questions before entrusting them with their precious pups.

"I'm not a breeder — I'm just someone who has received three wonderful Golden Retrievers from three reputable breeders over the past 15 years. A reputable breeder cares so much about their dogs that, in that initial meeting, the breeder will be the one doing the interviewing to make sure each precious pup goes to a good forever home." –Laura Jeffers

16. They don’t just place puppies — they build extended families, packs of love and support.

“When I bought our 3 dogs from a breeder, we didn't just get 3 dogs. We got a lifetime of support and advice from her and everyone she introduced us to. We gained an entire community of wonderful people and true friendships we can count on. We didn't just get 3 dogs, we got a huge dog family.” –Misha Steve Whisenand

17. They never forget their dogs, and they love staying in touch with their new families.

“A few months ago, when our male Golden turned 5 years old, I texted some recent pictures and video of him to his breeder. She knew exactly who he was, and she was thrilled! She caught me up on all his family news. It was beautiful!” –Laura Jeffers

An old dog and a young one lying contentedly together

18. Responsible breeders are incredibly careful with everything they do.

"Responsible, ethical breeders don’t create a life by accident. And no matter what, we will take responsibility for that life until the end.” –Karen Yapp, Autumn Harvest Dood Ranch

"Not all breeders are created equal. Do your research. Find a breeder that doesn’t cut corners or sacrifice health for popular colors or to fit a lower price point." –Colie Leigh, Black Forest Doodles

20. And by doing what they do best, they make the system better, even though they don’t get credit for it.

“We do what we do to help people get healthy puppies from reputable breeders, and to help slow down the over-breeding that backyard breeders do of unhealthy, untested dogs.” –Heather Haddeland, Double H Rottweilers

21. But responsible breeders don’t just breed dogs. They shelter and rescue them, too.

"We are dog lovers, first and foremost. Many of us also rescue, foster, and volunteer!” –Emily Rose Cunningham

A woman instructing three attentive dogs in the morning light

22. They have big hearts, and they support efforts to help dogs in need.

“Breeders are often the staunchest supporters of breed-specific rescue organizations. We care not only about the puppies we breed, but we have a deep affinity for the breed as a whole!” –Roger A. Allen, Focused Intensity Border Collies

23. They don’t shame owners who need to give their dogs up, they’re just there to help – no matter what.

"No matter the circumstances, before you bring your dog to a shelter, contact the breeder you bought the puppy/dog from and tell them you can no longer keep the dog. Even if, for some reason, they cannot take back the dog right then, they will put you in touch with a rescue group for your breed. Please do not let any embarrassment you feel over the situation keep you from contacting the breeder.” –Kathryn Boyle

24. Because responsible breeders stand behind their dogs for life.

"Dogs from good breeders never have to stay at shelters, or even be put down, if the shelter does its job: check for a microchip and/or a tattoo. Either the dog goes back to its owner, or the breeding kennel and their supporters and friends find it a good new home. Good breeders care for their dogs all their lives. They do not close the case when the puppy price is paid.” –Monika Flis

Mama pup booping her puppy on the nose

25. They’ll always take them back or help find them a new home.

"Reputable breeders will always accept their puppies back or help with rehoming. Sometimes rehoming cannot be avoided, but reputable breeders don't want their dogs to end up in irresponsible homes or shelters.” –Karen Lawson

26. The connection between breeders and their puppies truly is forever.

“For breeders, this is a lifelong commitment.” –Kim Smith

"People seem to think our dogs are used up and tossed aside. So not true. <3" –Rachel Marie

27. So when you think about responsible breeders, remember: It all comes down to one little word.

"It truly is a labor of love.” –Ami Rae, SoDel Doodles