1-800-455-9003

Animal Protection Line

Animal Care

Buying from a Breeder

Ensuring The Breeder Has The Animals' Welfare As A Priority

Many families choose to add a pet by purchasing from a breeder and there are many good reasons for doing this, including the predictability that comes from a particular breed of puppy; a particular size, has a desired temperament, or performs a specific breed-related job. Many families do not have the space or ability to properly care for a large or high energy breed of dog. Considerations like this should be a part of each family’s discussions before adding a pet to their home.

The Alberta SPCA encourages prospective pet owners to do their research on any person, business or organization they are potentially buying or adopting from. There are many responsible breeders in Alberta who ensure animal health and welfare is a priority, but there are others who put profit above welfare. These same scenarios can also apply to sheltering organizations (rescues) – click here to learn more.

There are several steps Albertans can take to ensure they are dealing with a reputable breeder who is committed to appropriate/ high standards of animal care and socialization. By insisting on dealing with reputable groups or breeders, you are helping to reduce the financial incentives for those looking to make quick money from the sale of animals that often have health and/or behavioural issues due to a lack of care.

Key considerations when investigating breeders

Where are the mom and puppies from? Thousands of puppies are imported into Canada each year and sold online. These dogs are transporting zoonotic diseases in to Canada and their welfare is compromised due to the situations they are coming from.​

What kind of life do the parent dogs live? Are they someone’s pets or do they exist just to produce puppies? A responsible breeder will let you meet the mom and puppies in the environment where they are being cared for.

How many litters has the dam had? What does the breeding program look like? Breeders should be willing to talk openly about their breeding program and practices.

- Litters should be limited to 3 to 4 for bigger dogs and 5 to 6 for smaller dogs

- Females should not be breed until they are 18 months old

What is the environment like where the puppies are being raised? Is it a warm, safe environment? Do the dam and puppies have adequate space? Is the facility clean and sanitary?

Are the puppies at least 8 weeks old before going to their new home? Puppies being sold before they are 8 weeks is a red flag!

What steps are taken to ensure the puppies are socialized with people and other dogs? Puppies should be socialized to people of various ages, sizes, and genders and have opportunities for play with other dogs.

Does the puppy look healthy, with bright eyes and shiny fur? Is the puppy curious? Healthy and well-socialized dogs are curious and want to interact with people and their environment.

What veterinary health checks and vaccinations has the puppy received? Ensure you are able to get the health records and any vaccination and microchip certificates.

- Are you offered a health guarantee?

Is the breeder knowledgeable about their breed and any health or genetic issues their breed may have?

Does the breeder ask questions of you to ensure you are going to provide a good home for the dog? Reputable breeders want to be confident their dogs are going to suitable homes with people that have thought through how they will care for their new dog.

*It’s worth noting, the number of dogs/puppies that a breeder has is not an indication of how well the animals are treated. Some breeders will be able maintain dozens of animals at a time and ensure they are well taken care of, while others may only have a few animals but struggle to offer appropriate care. It’s important to assess the breeder based on the circumstances the animals are raised in and the condition of the animals and not on the number of animals they have.

Ensuring High Standards

One reputable Alberta breeder welcomed us into their facility to demonstrate their breeding operation. Candice Farrell of Ooodles of Doodles has several staff members to help ensure the litters of puppies at her home are provided with ideal care before going to their new families.

Farrell’s canine mothers and fathers are pets first and foremost. They live with families who have contractually agreed to allow the dogs to return to Ooodles of Doodles to breed. In the case of the female dogs, they have four litters before they are spayed and returned to live with their families for the duration of their lives.

All of the puppies at Ooodles of Doodles are health checked by a veterinarian and receive their vaccinations before going to their new homes. They are provided with plenty of puppy stimulation, and interactions with people and other dogs to ensure they are ready to live their best lives with their new families.

To Learn More About Responsible Breeders, Watch Our Video

Donate Now!

Help provide funding for our Animal Protection, Education & One Family Welfare programs

To hear the latest from the Alberta SPCA, subscribe to our newsletter.

Don't miss new updates in your email