Here are some common "Red Flags" To look for:
- "Puppies come from champion lines" is basically meaningless. I've seen this to mean everything from one great-great-great grandsire having his championship in an oops breeding to a handful of championed dogs in a pedigree.
2. "My dogs are health tested" but there is little or no health testing documented at offa.org
The dogs are probably not health tested.
3. Similarly to #2, "My dogs are health tested, but I couldn't afford to pay to have all the results posted on OFA's web site." The major expense is in getting the tests done! The fee to submit the results is pretty minimal. If the breeder could afford to do the health testing, there is no reason they couldn't shell out the nominal fee to have the results posted.
-"My vet has thoroughly checked them over".
- Claims that there have never been any health issues in their lines, without qualification that the reality is that they could crop up and that this was in issue the breeder was actively conscious of.
2. They would not email me a copy of their standard puppy owner contract, even when I asked for this several times.
-Breeds more than one type of dog.
-Has many litters available, more than 1-2 at a time.
-SELLS PUPS ONLINE.
-Discourages home visits.
-Doesn't stress puppy socialization.
-Advertises in newspaper, flyers, etc.
-Doesn't make you sign a spay/neuter contract.
-Not American Kennel Club (AKC) or Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) registered parents and pups.
-Tells you that you have to PAY EXTRA for registration.
-Offers to ship your puppy - not always a huge red flag, but I really don't like this.
-Knows nothing of health testing or says they health test but you can't find the results.
-Doesn't offer a no questions asked return policy. (ie. a breeder should require you to return the puppy to them if you can no longer care for it)
-Doesn't promptly return phone calls and emails. (doesn't necessarily mean a bad breeder, but if you're a new puppy owner you are going to have questions and the breeder should be there for you to give you answers)
-Breeder's dogs don't live in their home.
-Have a backyard (or acreage) filled with kennels.
-Charges too little. (IMO, under $1500 - just remember, an expensive Hav doesn't mean it comes from a GOOD breeder, but usually reputable breeders are on the pricier side)
-Breeder does not show their dogs.
-Claims championships not from AKC or CKC.
-breeder claiming to have "rare" colors or teacup or toy sized Havanese
-Champions are only as good as who is producing them. A judge should be withholding points from a dog who is not championship quality, but frankly, THE BREEDER needs to be knowledgeable, honest, and not kennel blind and only walk into the ring with a champion quality dog to begin with! Dog shows are useful but you've gotta know what you've got. It's a two way street. There's a big difference between "my puppy is the most beautiful dog in the world!" and "my dog is show quality representation of the breed." If you are unable to genuinely tell the difference, you've got a lot more to learn before you should be breeding or showing anything.
Also, Back-to-back breedings. What I generally see done is that, assuming they're not taking a lot out of her, everything goes well, etc, whether you breed her in back to back heat cycles with a year off, or breeding-season-breeding-season is sort of six of one, half dozen of the other.
: Any breeder who thinks everything they have ever produced is Show Quality! Sometimes you might luck out and get a whole litter of show quality puppies, but more often than not, you get one or two if you're lucky. Sometimes you don't get any. I guarantee you no one has ever produced all show quality dogs - they are just not being honest (to you or more likely, to themselves!) about what they have.
: A bitch that is bred before two (end of story).
: A bitch that is bred after age 6 or so (depending on her health, how many litters she's had in the past, a year or two later might
: A bitch that is bred every heat cycle (2x a year) for more than one year on, one year off.
: A breeder who has more than a couple of litters a year. Think about it by the number of puppies: 4 litters in this breed is often 15 or so puppies per year! That's a lot of dogs being brought into the world in a short time. Also, each breeding should be a masterwork of research and planning; it'd be hard to appropriately research and plan more an a handful a year.
: A breeder who has more than two litters at once - litters are a lot of work, and trying to juggle more than two is pretty hard to do and get puppies socialized and taken care of properly.
: A "back yard breeder" might only breed one litter per year, raise it with love in their kitchen, and try to find a good home for each pup. But they don't do any or enough health testing; they don't have a solid knowledge of trying to preserve or improve the breed; they don't have that strong sense of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for the breed and for each individual!
: Pet stores know people know about puppy mills. I've seen lots of well meaning people buy from pet store because the pet store said, "Don't worry, we buy from breeders." But I assure you, no GOOD breeder sells a puppy anywhere without knowing exactly where and to whom it is going, and they if something goes wrong they will get it back!
: A good breeder will interview you right back! If they are happy to toss a pup in your car or on a plane because you wanted one, seemed nice, and could pay, it's a red flag. If they ask you about your life style, hours you work, members of the household, what your expectations and plans for the dog are... great! Don't be offended by this. They are trying to decide if you have a realistic expectation and ideas about owning a dog, if this breed is a good match, and what personality will best suit you. Of course, they shouldn't be rude to you, but you should get the idea that they really, really care about where their puppies are going.
: A breeder who not only loves their dogs and cares about their puppies and where they end up, but feels they are a guardian of their breed. They bear a massive amount of personal responsibility to preserve and improve the look and function of their breed, to ensure each dog they bring into this world has the best possible temperament, the least possible likelihood of developing genetic disorders, and goes to the best possible home. You just can't do that in high volume.
A good Breeder should be a resource for you forever.
Hope this helps.