Breeder Characteristics

Trait Puppy Mill Commercial Breeder Backyard
Reputable Hobby   Breeder Reputable Experienced Breeder

Motive for Breeding

To make a profit

To supply the demand & make a profit

To produce puppies for profit, often for the kids, or to have another just like one of the parents.

To better the breed & continue a well thought out plan.

To perfect a specific type to leave a legacy.

Breed Club Member

Hardly ever

Has a network of business contacts instead.

May masquerade

 as a member

Yes & Extremely dedicated

Yes & very active, generally an officer


Not interested in breed improvement

Does not specialize in specific breed

Works independently, lacks guidance

Invites knowledge

Is a mentor, writes books/articles, conducts seminars

Breeds to the Standard

Uses any available stock.

Focuses on general appearance.

May not even know what it is.  Breeds to any convenient dog.

Strives towards the ideal

Often helps to define it.

Activity in dog related activities (shows, trials, rescues)

Does not need to promote establishment; sells to brokers--pet shops, etc.

Does not need to promote establishment, sells to brokers, pet shops etc.

Often rescues only to attain more stock. Rarely attends shows or trials

Shows and trials to prove worth  Shows & trials to objectively test breeding stock.

Often judges, provides seminars, writes articles, and willingly mentors serious Hobby Breeders.


of the Breed

Often pretends to know some.

Claims that it's not important.

May share false/incomplete info

Studies continuously

Impacts the breed for many decades with knowledge of dogs over many generations.

Sells pets with spay/neuter contract and tries to stay in touch with new owners

Often issues papers via generic "registries"

All pups sold have full breeding rights.

May charge more for "breeding" papers.

Yes, and diligently follows up on progeny

Always differentiates breed/pet quality and insists on frequent updates

Keeps up with health and  temperament issues affecting the breeding and provides in depth guarantees

No need to, mostly supplies brokers and pet shops

Meets minimum standards as required by state law.


May refuse to acknowledge most problems. Considers shows and trials as too "political".

Goes above and beyond standard requirement

Maintains a solid support system -accepts  full responsibility for  every puppy produced

Performs health testing for all breeding stock  for  genetic diseases affecting the particular breed.

No interest  may offer papers as proof of quality.


No interest May provide undocumented paperwork for appearances sake.

Is unfamiliar with health testing usually statements of good health are stated to impress consumers.

Intensive testing always a priority

Often initiates club sponsored seminars and clinics.

Maintains  records on all dogs in gene pool including progeny.

Often supplies brokers and pet shops, records unavailable.

Dogs and puppies are often auctioned off in lots, records unavailable

Focuses mostly on current dogs, no records or knowledge of genes.

Attempts to continuously track every puppy produced

Bases entire breeding program on extensive gene pool data.


Clean environment always maintained

Minimum  standards vary greatly in cleanliness.

Minimum standards maintained for  state inspections.

Conditions may vary greatly depending on available income, usually makeshift accommodations.

Usually "home raised with love" and well cared for.

Often Cluttered but always healthy and mentally stimulating

Expected longevity with any particular breed

Will continue as long as the sales are coming.

Depends on popularity of specific breeds.

Unrealistic expectations - easily disillusioned.

On a mission-plans to stay for the long haul.

Involved with the breed/  breeding for decades-makes a lifetime commitment

Health Guarantee provided

No cuts into profits

7 day guarantee mandated by state

No health guarantee beyond proof of 1st set of shots, if that.  Not qualified to give advice if problem arises.

Offers written guarantee and is available to answer questions to new owners.  Good knowledge of history in dogs.

Extensive knowledge of health history, offers replacements to owners of genetically affected dogs.

Ability to meet the parents of the litter

If available, may be in poor physical condition.

If available, dogs are not used to contact with people.

May or may not be well loved & cared for companions, often unwilling to show entire litter or parents to buyer.

Shows friendly mother and entire litter in clean environment, stud dog too if in residence.  Helps buyer choose appropriate puppy.

Can explain how breeding was planned to emphasize specific qualities & can speak at length about how puppies compare.

What you can expect after purchase

Nothing, may not be able to contact at all.

No concern for dog after sale is final.

Tells you if you can't keep it to take it to the pound or shelter.

Available for questions, and wants to keep in touch.  Will take back dog or puppy at any time.

After purchase will help with training and grooming, available for all questions and knows the answers.


Lowest End of Range

Priced according to market, but is marked up from original source for profit. 

Mid Range to move puppies quickly

High end of mid range

Price will not reflect all that is invested

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Revised: December 10, 2013

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