Responsible Breeders VS Puppy Mills & Backyard Breeders

Getting a puppy is an exciting event. What breed to get, what colour, gender and where to get are all put into consideration. All buyers want to get a cute and healthy with great temperament, therefore it is vital to know where the puppy came from. Is the puppy from a responsible breeder, puppy mill or backyard breeder. All three of them sell puppies, but they have very different approach to breed and raise dogs.


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What is Puppy Mill?

Puppy mills are commercial breeding facilities that mass-produce puppies for sale through pet stores, or classified ads or Internet. The dogs that these kennels produced range from purebreds to the latest ‘designer’ cross-breeds. Many puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. Retailers who buy puppies from puppy mills will often take the wholesaler’s word that the puppies are happy and healthy without seeing them.

How are the dogs treated in puppy mills and how will it effect the puppy’s development?

– Dogs are confined in poor living environment that are dirty and overcrowded with very minimal shelter. They may suffer from extreme weather and have no choice but to sit and sleep in their own stool. Since the puppy has always confined too close to their stool, it may damage the puppy’s natural instinct to keep their eating/sleeping areas clean.

– These commercial breeding kennels can keep hundreds of dogs in cages for their entire lives to breed continuously. When they can no longer breed, they will be destroyed or discarded.

– Puppies are taken away from their mothers and littermates at early age in order to be in the pet shop’s display window at their cutest times. Puppies who received minimal or improper socialisation in their puppyhood may develop serious behaviour problems. For example, puppies who left their mother and littermates too early can develop biting problems, because they have missed out the early bite inhibition in the litter.

– Dogs are only provided the very minimum requirements to keep them alive and able to breed. They are not necessarily physically and/or mentally healthy. Lack of nutritious or clean food and water lead to malnutrition or starvation. Dogs that are sick or dying receive little of no veterinary care.

– Reliable temperaments and genetic health are not put into considerations when breeding. A mentally unhealthy fearful mother can transmit her fears to her puppies. Any genetic health issues from parents can also pass onto the puppies. The decisions on which male and female to use are only based on profitability, maximise the number of puppies in the shortest time.

– Due to the poor living condition, puppy mills are not open to public, purchasers cannot meet the puppy’s parents.


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What is Backyard Breeder?

Backyard breeders are people who breed dogs without knowing what they are doing and how to breed responsibly. They are motivated by profit as well. They could appear to be a nice pet breeder in the neighbourhood who may treat the breeding pairs as family pets. Continuously breeding animals over time for a profit is still against the animals’ welfare. However, these breeders have very little knowledge on how to breed responsibly, such as genetic health issues and temperaments of the parents.

Besides health issues, puppies may also have missed early socialisation that a responsible and knowledgeable breeder would have provided. As mentioned earlier, puppies who missed socialsation in their early puppyhood are more likely to develop behavioural issues. Puppies from backyard breeders may be the cheapest to buy, but there is no guarantee on how the puppy will turn out.

What is Responsible Recognised or Registered Breeder?

Registered breeder or recognised breeder is registered with their local council as a breeder. According to RSPCA, State Canine Councils list purebreed dogs on their main or limited register. Crossbreeds may be listed on the State Canine Council associate register only. Other canine associations such as the Australian Association of Pet Dog Breeders (AAPDB) will register both ‘purebreed’ and ‘crossbreed’ breeders.

Nevertheless, buyers need to be aware, a registered breeder with local council is not necessarily a responsible breeder who follows the animal welfare standards. Well reputable and responsible breeders value their reputation, they will only sell puppies with good and health temperament.

 Responsible Breeders Dos:

– Provide guarantees covering genetic diseases or defects and temperament issues.

– Only sell puppies to safe and responsible homes. Breeder will often interview or visit potential buyers’ homes.

– Purchasers can meet and observe the parents of the puppies and their littermates.

– Only breed their female dog to the best suitable male, not the most convenient or profitable one.

– Do thorough vet checks and health evaluations of the puppies and breeding dogs. Hip test, eye test, thyroid and other measures. They will also vaccinate and deworm the puppies.

– Socialise the puppies extensively.

– Always contactable whenever purchasers they questions or problems with the puppy.

– They demonstrate extensive knowledge of the breed’s history, physical and behavioural traits and temperament, and give great advice to buyers.

– May involved in dog shows or competitions, ensuring their dogs display the desirable physical and behavioural traits for the particular breed.

– Keep their dogs as house pets to ensure the offspring will be as good companion pets.

Responsible Breeders Don’t Dos:

– Do not sell their puppies to or through pet shops.

– Will not sell puppies to people whose lifestyle, family, situation, home condition and commitment does not fit the breed’s needs.

– They will not breed dogs who are under 2 years old and will not breed every year.

– Will not take the puppy away from the mother and littermates before 8 weeks of age.

– They do not sell their puppies that are younger than 8 weeks.

– Do not use sales tactics to sell the puppy and make profits.

– They will not keep breeding puppies to oversupply the market.

– They do not breed many different breeds, only specialise in 1-3 specific breeds.


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The process of breeding good quality puppies is rather time consuming and financially expensive. In order to buy a physically and mentally healthy puppy, be ware of where the puppy came from. Always buy puppies from responsible breeders. Buying puppies from pet shops is supporting puppy mills’ and backyard breeders’ animal cruelty. It is a simple matter of supply and demand. If buyers are no longer consider buying puppy or animal from pet shops. Consequently, these breeders will lose their main source for profit. Lets stop puppy mills and irresponsible breeders from breeding and abusing animals.

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