How to Identify an Ethical Dog Breeder

When you decide to welcome a new furry friend into your life, choosing the right breeder is a crucial step in the process. The quality of the breeder you choose can have a significant impact on the health and happiness of your new pet. 

Ethical dog breeders prioritise the well-being of their animals and adhere to responsible breeding practices. So whether you’re looking to get a new dog in Melbourne or anywhere else around the world, it’s crucial to be able to identify reputable, ethical dog breeders and make informed decisions when adding a four-legged family member to your household.

How to Identify an Ethical Dog Breeder

Research and Referrals

Begin your search for an ethical breeder by doing thorough research. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, and local veterinarians. Online forums and social media groups for dog enthusiasts can also be a valuable resource. 

Additionally, consider contacting breed-specific clubs or organisations for a list of well-known, reputable breeders.

Transparent Communication

An ethical dog breeder will be open and transparent about their breeding practices. They should be willing to answer all your questions and provide you with detailed information about their dogs, breeding program, and facilities. They will also be eager to learn about you and your household to ensure that their puppies are going to loving and responsible homes.

Health Testing and Genetic Screening

Responsible breeders perform health tests and genetic screenings on their breeding dogs to ensure they are free of any hereditary conditions. This is crucial in reducing the risk of passing on genetic disorders to the puppies. Ask the breeder about the specific tests they conduct and request proof of the results. Different breeds will have different tendencies regarding their health, so do some research beforehand. 

Prioritise Temperament and Health Over Appearance

Ethical breeders will focus on producing well-rounded dogs with sound temperament and good health, rather than prioritising physical appearance. While breed standards are important, the breeder should not breed dogs with extreme physical traits that may compromise their health and well-being.

Clean and Comfortable Facilities

The environment in which the dogs are raised plays a significant role in their overall health and well-being. An ethical breeder will maintain a clean and comfortable facility with ample space, proper lighting, and temperature control. Dogs should have access to clean water, nutritious food, and regular veterinary care.

Age-Appropriate Socialization and Enrichment

Early socialisation is critical in shaping a dog’s behaviour and temperament. Ethical breeders will expose their puppies to a variety of experiences, environments, and people to help them develop into well-adjusted adults. 

Enrichment activities, such as interactive toys and puzzles, should also be provided to stimulate their minds and encourage healthy development.

Responsible Breeding Practices

An ethical breeder will adhere to responsible breeding practices, such as avoiding inbreeding and not breeding dogs too young or too old. They will also limit the number of litters each female dog has in her lifetime and retire breeding dogs when appropriate.

Solid Contracts and Health Guarantees

Reputable breeders will provide you with a written contract outlining the terms of sale, including any health guarantees and your responsibilities as a dog owner. 

Be wary of breeders who do not use contracts or offer limited health guarantees.

Support After Adoption

An ethical breeder will be invested in the well-being of their puppies long after they leave their care. They will be available to provide advice and support throughout your dog’s life and may even request periodic updates on their progress.

Visit the Breeder’s Facility

Whenever possible, visit the breeder’s facility in person to observe the conditions in which the dogs are raised. This will also give you an opportunity to meet the breeding dogs and assess their temperament and health.


Adding a new dog to your family is a long-term commitment, and choosing an ethical breeder is a vital first step in your journey with your dog. By taking the time to research and assess potential breeders, you can ensure that you are providing a loving home for a healthy, well-adjusted puppy.