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Dog Breeders differ from each other: How do you know which breeder is best?

So you have decided to open your home to a new puppy and have ruled out the possibility of obtaining a new canine friend from a shelter or rescue, where do you go to find your new puppy dog?

Breeders are individuals or organizations that mates, whelps, raises, then sells puppies. Beyond that simple definition, there is a wide range of diverse kinds of dog breeders, with the differences resting in the quality and quantity of care provided for the mother, father, and puppies. Choosing a good, responsible, reputable breeder is just as important as choosing a good puppy!  Many times, once family finds a great breeder, they find a great pup - because there are no bad pups in a good kennel - careful selection of breeding dogs and great care provided to the litters ensures quality of the dogs produced.

 For the purposes of this page, all breeders are divided into separate categories, although they may overlap and/or seem to be too close. We have used our own experience and observations and information obtained from the web (source).  We also believe that anyone that produces at least one litter of puppies IS a breeder. It is upsetting to see advertisement of litters for sale and owners claims "we are not breeders, we just had one litter", as if a dog breeder is a negative act. If a dog owner does not see themselves as breeders, and truly does not want to produce puppies, they will be responsible in their ownership of a dog and will not allow any pregnancies to become possible.  

Professional Dog Breeders

Professional breeders look at themselves as a legitimate business and run the operation as a business which includes recordkeeping, accounting, and reporting income to the IRS. They may keep more dogs, have more litters per year, and have more experience with all aspects of the operation. They are likely to have contracts to sign, health guarantees for their puppies, and life time support in the form of information about all things related to their puppies. This life time support also extends to taking back a dog in the event that a family can no longer keep him.

Their breeding stock  dogs are per breed standard - excellent conformation, temperament, titled, shown, health - certified. These breeders are proud of the lines, show ratings and overall presentation of the pups. They know most (if not all) dogs on the pedigree, and are very selective where their pups go.

Sale price of the pups could be anywhere $3,00-$8,000, depending on the pedigree and type of registration.

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Hobby Dog Breeders

The line is thin between the professional and Hobby breeder. Both have knowledge of the breed, health risks, and canine obstetrics. They both keep up-to-date on new research and knowledge and are continuing to learn more and more about their chosen breeds, though you are not going to see this type of conscientious breeder across the board.
Hobbyists  test their breeding stock prior to breeding and choose dogs for breeding based on temperament, conformity and health. They care deeply about their puppies and want to assure that they are being placed in good homes.
By its very name, a hobby breeder is one who breeds occasionally, once or twice a year. Their litters are special, as they do not have a litter every month. A hobby breeder may be less experienced in shows and trials, their breeding stock dogs are coming from titled parents and of a  very reputable lines, yet may not always be shown or titled themselves. 
They are also likely to have fewer dogs and they may live in her home giving her more opportunities to interact and care for the parents and pups. Conversely, many hobby breeders work outside the home and take vacation time when the pups are about to be born, leaving the mom and pups after a week to return to her day job.
They may also be involved with some type of dog activity such as obedience, agility, or conformity and show her dogs as part of her hobby, but are not active in trials and sows professionally. Again, this is often true for professional breeders as well but not always the case. Breeders that show their dogs are likely to charge more for their puppies, especially if they have “show” potential.
Sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether a breeder is a hobby breeder or a professional breeder because many people feel the term “hobby” has less negative connotations and avoid it. 

Hobby breeders are very proud of their dogs, they know the lines and strive to breed per standard - health test, show and title their breeding dogs.

Sale price of pups could be anywhere $1800-$3500, depending on the pedigree and reputation.


This breeder may or may not raise puppies in his backyard, but the name implies that it is an individual who has  AKC-registered dog or dogs, so they decide to let them mate. There are many reasons why this occurs.
· They want their children to experience the wonder of birth
· They have a beloved dog and want another one just like him or her
· They think they can make extra money on the side
· They have friends or family members who want a puppy

Most experts would agree that the reasons listed above are not adequate reasons for bring new puppies into this world. Since this type of breeder mates their pet dogs, they are like to care about the sire or dame and get adequate veterinary care for them.

This breeder is proud that their dogs are AKC registered or passed some sort of testing: HD, ED or DM. The breeding stock dogs are not coming from good lines, very random there is a good lineage behind these dogs; conformation is poor.  Breeders know nothing about the lines, or can not tell about the dogs on the pedigree. They  may or may not health-certify their dogs, but they do not show or title - because most likely these dogs would not qualify to enter any trials for the breed. These breeders claim their dogs to be "pet quality".  Frankly, dogs that are in a possession of a back-yard-breeders have very little with a breed standard; they are often off-colors, mixed lines (or breeds) and the breeder does not understand the difference. These breeders believe that off-colors (white, liver, blue, panda etc) are special and there are kennels specializing in breeding for the color.  Reputable kennels never sell dogs to a back-yard breeder and therefore, this type of breeders never has access to good breeding dogs. In our opinion supporting this kind of breeder and it's business practices greatly adds to the problem of shelter dogs, health problems and overall quality of the breed.

We have seen pups  from BYB to be priced between  $600-$1800 (because they are AKC-registered) and often this category of breeders scams buyers to buy their puppies for a higher price, taking advantage of buyer's lack of knowledge or understanding what kind of breeder is in front of them. 

Pet Owners

This type of breeder does not mean to breed for a purpose other that they have two dogs and they let mother Nature do what is right. Often times, mating is not planned - neighbor dogs run loose, or something happens. Sometimes, pet owners just want farm dogs, so they are looking for a stud to mate with their dogs. We do not support this breeding, but if it happened by accident and the dog owner spays the female after whelping - there is no judging. Things happen. These breeders have no ambition to be called a breeder, they are simply happy to have all their pups find a good home. No registration is involved and no promises on the quality of the dog.

Pups are often mixed breed (Husky, Collie, German Shepherd, etc) and are sold $50-$200

*we sure hope that the higher amounts are asked to cover vet cost, feed and electric/heating cost and not to make money

Accidental Breeders

This type of breeder simply had a litter of puppies by accident. Puppies could be a result of two dogs living in the same house or neighborhood; very often puppies are of mixed breeds or of a very close inbreeding. While we do not support accidental breeding, we believe that "accidental" litter can only happen once. Very often we see breeders of other categories to pretend to be accidental breeders over and over again - that is done to avoid being judged for their actions. 

Commercial Breeders

This type of breeder has many litters - of the same breed OR maintains many breeding programs and can specialize in many breeds. Typically, there can be as much as a a few litters born every day and bereding facility looking like a huge factory. There are no visitors allowed to tour the facility and puppies are randomly sold directly to buyers - these breeders are supplying pet stores and online brokers.  The breeding stock dogs are unknown. Puppies are available year round and prices are typically very high - due to a number of middle man involved in a sale. 


This used to be the largest portion of GSD breeders prior to COVID. This type of breeder specialized in importing to USA a pregnant bitch, whelping her puppies and selling them to families. They make profit on puppy sales AND reselling the imported mother to a BYB after she whelps. Their breeding stock dogs are "European" import - very often Serbia, Croatia, Romania and other countries working under FCI.  There may be even some titles on a dog - typically IPO1 or SG - but these titles are not under SV, there are no videos or proof of the legitimacy available.  These breeders have no control over the breeding, as they are not present during the mating. They also do not know the health or temperament of their breeding dogs and only see value of a dog to be its pregnancy. 

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