If you are convinced that you want a certain breed of dog or cat, here are some tips to help you make a responsible and informed decision:
- Research the breed you are interested in. Know the traits and standards for the breed.
- Talk to people who know a lot about the breed (you can find these people through rescue groups).
- Contact a breed rescue group. Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue publishes a list of rescue breed organizations on many dog breeds in New England (the rescue programs on this list are not sponsored or endorsed by the MSPCA).
- Be wary of “free to good home” and other newspaper ads. Most responsible breeders have waiting lists and don’t advertise in this manner.
- Ask the breeder for references from other people who have purchased an animal from him/her.
- Ask to see the parents of the animal you are considering.
- Usually, responsible breeders focus on one breed. If a breeder has many different types of puppies or kittens, be wary.
- Ask about the breeder’s policy if for some reason you can no longer keep the dog. A responsible breeder will almost always want the dog back.
- Read about what genetic screenings are important for the breed you are interested in. Ask the breeder if these screenings have been done and what the results were. Ask for documentation.
- A reputable breeder will interview you to make sure that you are going to provide an excellent home. The breeder should ask you for references.
- Ask for the breeder’s policy about what happens if something is wrong with the animal. Most responsible breeders will provide some type of guarantee.
- The animals should look healthy, groomed and exercised.
- AKC papers that a dog may have are not any guarantee of pedigree or quality; they are simply registration papers.