How to see red flags
and what they could mean
So, you have chosen to get a puppy from a breeder, but is every breeder the same? How to understand if the breeder is honest and provides quality puppies? How not to get scammed? We will list some very common red flags here and will be happy to hear back from you! Share your stories and ask questions! Please note, that not all red flags mean "scam" - ask your breeder to explain and if you do not feel comfortable with the provided answer - run!
In most cases, price point will filter out all low-quality breeders, but unfortunately, there are high-priced puppies from unethical breeders, too. Let's take a look.
1. "We are not professional breeders", "We breed pets", "pet quality", etc.
There is no such thing as "not a breeder" if you purposely breeder two dogs together. That's what makes you a breeder. If a person's dogs produced a litter of puppies, they are a breeder. "Not a breeder" is a most common excuse people use to cover up their lack of knowledge in breeding, dog genetics and raising puppies. Most "non-breeders" will also say, "we just breed pets", as if it is ok for a pet to be off-color, size, health or temper. "We breed just pets" means - our breeding stock dogs should never be bred.
2. "Old-fashioned", "straight-back", "slopped back", etc.
This is the most common statement we see in low-quality programs. German Shepherd Dog, as a breed, has very specific breed standard that has clear characteristics of the dog's anatomy. A dog is either per breed standard or not. A good breeder knows the breed standard and will never use the above terms to describe their dog.
3. Over-sized, Large-boned, King Shepherds, etc.
Bigger is not better in German Shepherds and once again, anyone breeding dogs that don't fall under breed standard, just created more dogs that have less in common with the breed.
4. Off-color: panda, liver, blue, white, etc.
Faults. What can we say. No quality breeder will ever consider using these in their program.
5. "Bitch for lease", purchasing "pregnant bitch", etc.
Producing females are the base of the breeding program. If you look at the breeder's website or online postings and see that they just bring in new pregnant females every time to produce one litter and then pass them on - to a different kennel - are they really a "breeder"or rather just a hosting facility where puppies are born? Do they really know their females, their temper and health history? We see producing females that are being sold every six month - from one kennel to another. Sometimes two kennels will "partner together" and ship a female back and forth, so she would have a litter in one kennel in spring and second litter in the fall in another kennel and in a history of each kennel this female is only bred once a year, when in reality she produces a litter twice a year all her life. Also, when a breeder purchased "covered female"
6. No dogs on premises - "family raised in other homes"
7. European import
8. Health tested
9. Sales online
10. Multiple breeds
11. Breeding too young/too old females
12. No vet reference/veterinary information
13. Unregistered puppies from "AKC-Registered" dogs