Find a Humane Breeder


Humane breeders do exist.

The dog breeders with inhumane practices give others a bad name. There are good breeders in the market who raise dogs in clean and spacious housing, providing the animals with proper veterinary care, grooming, food, water, exercise and attention. They care about animal welfare and want to promote humane practices. They often have a passion for one particular breed of dog, and provide the parent dogs and the puppies with adequate opportunity for bonding, play, and socialization with each other and with people.  

Humane breeders provide animal lovers with puppies produced in high welfare facilities, and take market share away from inhumane actors. In addition, humane breeders can help promote good animal welfare practices amongst their peers throughout their industry.

How do you identify a humane breeder?

A crucial step in identifying a humane breeder is to visit the facility where the puppy was born, and spending time with both the puppy and the breeder. If  purchasing the puppy from a hobby breeder, people can see first-hand the conditions under which the breeding dogs (and the puppy for the first weeks of his life) have been living, and assess the health and sociability of the dogs as well as the level of care provided by the breeder.  

However, some larger commercial scale facilities may not allow people to tour the entire facility for biosecurity or other reasons.  In this case, the consumer may not have the opportunity to see the parent dogs or the kennels.  Asking good probing questions of the breeder is important. In addition, recommendations from other individuals who have purchased puppies from the same breeder are critical, as well as references from local veterinarians, or even local rescues or shelters who may partner with the breeder to place older mother dogs or unwanted puppies.  

Humane breeders can document efforts made, including genetic testing and evaluations of the puppy’s parents and grandparents, to help ensure that your pet will not have genetic problems inherent to her breed. They will also be knowledgeable about the breed and provide you with in-depth advice on how to care for your pet for the entirety of her life.

Finally, some humane breeders will insist on interviewing you and meeting every member of your household to ensure that your home is a good match for the puppy.  

How reliable are breed registries?

At this point, there is no certification that ensures animal welfare. Many breeders offer puppies with pedigree certification from dog breed registries such as the American Kennel Club or United Registry. These registries are not designed to attest to the animal welfare conditions on the breeding facility -- they do not inspect the housing conditions on the breeding facilities or the ways in which the dogs are being socialized, and therefore cannot attest to the animal welfare standards under which dogs are raised.

USDA certification, which should evaluate the animals' housing (including whether or not behavioral needs are being met), fails to ensure high animal welfare because their standards are weak and enforcement is poor.

The following resources help consumers identify humane breeders: