One of the best ways to find a responsible puppy breeder is to locate breeders through a kennel or breed club and visit their premises in person to inspect the conditions. You can also ask for referrals from veterinarians, trainers or other knowledgeable professionals.
Responsible puppy breeders generally should be active in breed clubs, according to the American Kennel Club. Their goal is to improve the breed, so they should only breed animals that have proven showing or working ability. They should be very knowledgeable about their breed and enjoy sharing that knowledge.
Health testing is important to prevent the spread of genetic diseases. Although the exact testing varies depending on the breed, common conditions include hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, and heart conditions. The breeder should have both parents certified by organizations such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. If the breeder does not health test or is unwilling to show you proof, he is not a responsible breeder.
When you visit the premises, at least one parent animal should be available for you to meet. The premises should be clean, and the dogs should live in comfortable conditions. Responsible breeders work with each of their dogs individually and should be happy to answer all your questions. They should also ask you questions about your lifestyle, family and other factors that may affect your ability to care for the puppy. Be wary of a breeder who does not seem to care what kind of home you can provide.