What to look for in a responsible breeder

the beagle breed

Thinking about buying a beagle – what to expect of a reputable breeder


The definition of a breeder is – one who produces a litter.  A reputable (responsible) breeder is one who cares for the dogs and is really concerned about their welfare.


Here are a dozen ways you can be sure your are working with a reputable (responsible) breeder:


1. A reputable breeder insists you visit her home and meet all her dogs.  In addition to the puppies she will want you to meet their mother and, if they are on site the father and other relatives (grandparents, cousins, aunts).  She wants you to see that the dogs are not confined to kennels and they have many opportunities for human interaction on a daily basis. Additionally this visit provides the breeder with the opportunity top see how you interact with dogs.


2. A reputable breeder will want to show you the paper work pertaining to the pups’s pedigree (father and mothers pedigree)


3. A reputable breeder will want to tell you about significant health problems prevalent in the breed.


4. A reputable breeder has more questions for you than you have for her. You will likely be asked to fill out a questionnaire and catch up on some reading pertaining to the receiving and raising a puppy.  The reputable breeder rarely produces more than 2 litters a year – most of the pups will be spoken for before the litter is born!  If she does not have a pup for you she will gladly refer you to another reputable breeder.


5. A reputable breeder is in no hurry to send her pups off to their new homes – and will NEVER let a pup go before 8 weeks of age during which time she will continue to evaluate each pup for successful pairing with prospective buyers (who she has already interviewed).


6. A reputable breeder is happy to provide you with references of people who have purchased her puppies in the past, other breeders and the veterinarian who cares for her dogs.


7. A reputable breeder will ask you to sign a contract that details not only what to expect of you, but also what to expect of her. The contract will require your agreement to neuter/spay the dog at the appropriate time.

Additionally, if for any reason and at any age, your dog needs to be “rehomed” the breeder will want to be involved in the process.  She would never want one of her dogs to end up in a shelter or be passed from home to home!


8. A reputable breeder works with one breed. She is passionate about the breed and has focused a huge amount of time and energy researching all of its particular nuances.  She has enlightened herself in canine behaviour and uses positive reinforcement to train her dogs.


9. A reputable breeder does not have a day job – her job is to raise the pups, spend lots of time with them and train them. A reputable breeder is aware of the early development of the canine species and applies all the principles to develop the pups temperament from a very young age. Breeding pups to pay the mortgage or put food on the table often times leads to poor breeding choices.


10. A reputable breeder has lots of chews, toys and activity units for the pups to play on to help develop their motor control and sound sensitivity.  Their playground should be a fun place to spend their days with their littermates and mother – with other adult dogs socialising from time to time.


11. A reputable breeder will want to keep in contact with you and will be there for support and advice later on.


12. Finally an EXCELLENT BREEDER will prepare you BEFORE you take your puppy home.  She will have given you references of good books to read, websites to visit, training methods (crate training) and be only a phone call away when you have a question.



Article by:

Maxine van den Berg

KUSA Accredited Beagle Breeder (Fish Hoek – Western Cape)

Beagle Adoption Service
Animal Behaviourist (Ethology Academy)

contact Maxine:

maxine {AT} webafrica {dot} org {dot} za






3 Responses to “ What to look for in a responsible breeder ”

  1. Misha says:

    Hi Maxine,

    Thank you for the article. Are you a breeder in the JHB area?

  2. Tanya Tanya says:

    Hi Misha – Maxine is based in JHB – but i’m sure she has contacts or referrals. I’m going to update the post with her email address if you’d like to mail her

  3. Perth says:

    Hi guys, Maxine is in Cpt. Email maxine@webafrica.org.za . Regards

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