What are backyard breeders, and how can I avoid them?

Responsible breeding requires knowledge, skill and experience that backyard breeders are sorely missing.

by Good Dog

In addition to puppy mills, backyard breeders are another set of irresponsible breeders to look out for.

“Backyard breeder” is a broad term that encompasses a number of problematic practices. It is typically a fundamentally ill-informed, profit-driven semi-professional whose irresponsible methods put the health and welfare of their breeding dogs and puppies at risk.

More than anything else, backyard breeders simply lack the education and resources required to responsibly breed, house, or raise dogs at all.

Sometimes, they’re uneducated breeders who treat their dogs like pets, letting them breed without proper health testing or awareness of potential genetic issues. In other cases, they’re well aware of the heritable diseases their dogs might carry but breed them anyway. These unethical breeders also often ignore guidelines on overcrowding and ensuring that puppies are ready for happy, healthy lives when they leave their mothers.

Online, these breeders may offer click-to-purchase opportunities. Typically when you’re shopping on the internet, one-click purchasing is generally a nice, convenient way to buy necessary everyday items. But getting a dog shouldn’t be as easy as buying a pair of shoes in a store or purchasing a tube of toothpaste.

If a website selling puppies isn’t asking prospective dog owners key questions to determine their suitability for raising a certain breed or even a dog in general, they are neither looking out for the best interests of their dogs or even the puppy’s potential owners.

If an online store or breeder’s site doesn’t want to give you their names, contact information, and crucial items like dog health clearances and vet information, you can bet that they’re probably hiding something. It’s absolutely crucial that the place you get your puppy is upfront and forthright with all the necessary information.

Learn more about Good Dog’s breeder code of ethics here and how we’re doing our best to reduce the noise and confusion prospective dog owners face when looking for their new best friend. And if you’re ready to learn what responsible dog sources look like, read more about good breeders, good shelters and rescues.