Dog trainers and veterinarians are a good source of information about local dog breeders, so people looking for a new puppy should start there. Local breed associations can also help, and national organizations, such as the American Kennel Club, have directories that allow users to search for breeders by location.
Buyers should always thoroughly interview and research any potential breeder before committing to buying a puppy. Some unethical breeders and puppy mills try to pass themselves off as reputable breeders or rescues. Puppies for sale in pet stores usually come from puppy mills, so buyers should avoid them.
Buyers should visit the premises of any local breeders and see how they care for their dogs. Too many puppies or breeding animals of many different breeds may be signs of a bad breeder, since most good breeders specialize in just one or two breeds.
Responsible breeders health test their dogs and are willing to provide proof of the results. Buyers should ask for tests for common hereditary problems, such as joint dysplasia, as well as any specific conditions that affect that breed. They should avoid any breeder who claims health testing is unnecessary or has untested dogs.
Good breeders care where their puppies go. Buyers should be wary of any breeder who does not ask questions about the buyer's lifestyle and ability to care for the puppy.