While we like to assume the products we buy are of good quality, experience tells us that’s not always the case. The same is true when looking for a new puppy. We like to believe the dog breeder is humane, conscientious, and respectable but as in any industry there are those who are just out to make a quick buck. When trying to identify a responsible breeder - whether they are a hobbyist or a backyard breeder - the first thing to look at is how much care is given to making sure the puppies are treated well and if the breeder takes the time to carefully interview prospective owners to make sure the puppy is going to a nurturing, loving home. Quality dog breeders also provide new owners with information about the puppy’s particular breed and have a return process in place should the new owner be unable to keep the puppy. This allows the breeder to find an ideal living situation for the fur ball. While professional and serious hobbyist dog breeders research genealogy lines and carefully choose the breeding pair - essential for those owners interested in showing their dogs - backyard breeders can also be the source of healthy and cared for puppies. You just need to do your due diligence when evaluating them. The worst case scenario is getting a pet from a puppy mill. A puppy mill is an operation where adult dogs are used simply to produce as many puppies as possible so the pups can be sold for profit. These bad dog breeders pay little attention to the physical and emotional care of the dogs. They are a commodity, churned out like cars on an assembly line. In many cases, the breeding dogs are kept in horrible, inhumane conditions and the puppies are often sick. The last thing anyone wants to do is provide support for such operations. As author Gail Fisher notes, “There is really only one right reason to breed a litter of puppies - that is, with dedication and the desire to make the next generation better than the last. Better means healthier, sounder, stronger, more resilient, longer lived and with outstanding temperaments that will make them terrific companions for many years.” When looking for purebred puppies, you are going to face the question of whether you are dealing with a good or bad dog breeder. Use your common sense. Ask plenty of questions and get a feel for the breeder. It should become obvious fairly quickly if the person is really interested in their dogs or just trying to make a buck.