PawPointer’s Top 10 Tips for Finding Your New Best Friend


Understand the reasons you want a pet, and how you envision them joining into your favorite activities—this self-reflection will help guide you towards the breed or breeds that will best fit your lifestyle.


Do your homework and schedule a phone call with your breeder to see if they will be a good fit for both of you. It can be a long process, so it’s important to feel comfortable with the breeder you’ve chosen, and for them to feel comfortable with you! Not sure what kinds of questions to ask? You can use ours (below) to get the conversation started.

-   How long have you been breeding and what got you involved with this specific breed?

-   Do you do any activities or competition with your dogs (agility, obedience training, therapy, etc.)?

-   When new litters are born, do you have a specific socialization or development program you like to follow?


Visit your breeder in person before it is time for the puppies to go home and be observant during your appointment. Is the house clean? Where do the puppies and older dogs spend their time during the day and does that seem adequate for their development and activity needs? Do they seem happy, healthy and well-tempered? Or said another way, does their personality match your expectations for that breed?


Be prepared to answer questions about yourself too! Below are a few questions a good breeder might ask you—they are also great thought starters as you think about how your new dog will integrate into your life.

-   Where do you live (apartment, house, etc.) and how much free space will the dog have access to throughout the day?

-   What kind of temperament are you looking for in your new pup (highly affectionate, independent, trainable, etc.)?

-   Do you have any other pets or children at home/ or other than you, who else will the dog be interacting with on a daily basis?

-   How much time will you spend with your pup and how much of the time will your pup be home alone on an average day?

-   Have you ever had a dog or pets? How much experience have you had taking care of a dog?

-   Do you have a fenced in yard and/or how much time will you be able to devote to walking and playing with your dog?


Ask for references (veterinarian and previous puppy buyer references). Be prepared to provide reference information to your breeder in case they ask for it as part of their placement process.


Ask about Orthopedic Foundation For Animals (OFA) recommended health screens and DNA testing. Reputable breeders will test their pups for common congenital and genetic diseases inherent to the breed and provide all vaccination and health records for the pup at the time you are ready to welcome them home. Do you have questions about testing for your desired breed? We’re happy to help answer them for you. Email your questions to [email protected] or send a message through the Contact Us page.


Know the red flags and don’t be afraid to ask questions or further investigate if something doesn’t feel right. A puppy-mill is a commercial venture that breeds and treats dogs as if they are livestock. There is no consideration for personality, temperament or even the health of the puppies or their parents. It is also very important to remember that just because someone is a LEGAL breeder does not make that person a REPUTABLE one. Many puppy mills operate legally within full jurisdiction of the law set by the USDA which does not go far enough to safeguard against these inhumane operations. The top red flags to be aware of are:

-   Does not allow you to visit the breeding site

-   Does not allow you to meet your puppy before purchasing

-   Does not allow you to meet the mother (or parents) before purchasing

-   Doesn’t ask any questions about you, your family or lifestyle

-   Breeds many different breeds

-   Cites their USDA license as the sole proof of being reputable

-   Provides no legitimate proof of vaccinations or health screenings performed by a veterinarian

-   Will not take back pup if it turns out you are unable to care for the dog


Be patient. This process takes time. Many factors can influence when a breeder plans to have a new litter, but most will only have one or two a year. If you find a breeder you like, it will be worth the wait.


Stay in touch. Remember that the relationship with your breeder doesn’t end when you go home. They will be one of your best resources in the early days for questions and advice, and they love seeing updates as your pup grows up—the information you provide may even affect the decisions they make while planning future litters.


Start your search with PawPointer! Head over to our breeder page, and introduce yourself to one of our vetted and verified breeders (P.S. the above steps are what we follow during our breeder visits too, read more about that here), or check out our new concierge services and let us help guide you one-on-one through the dog search process.