Where and how to buy your new puppy

by David & Patricia McLane


As you begin your search for an AKC registered puppy, you will likely find that there are a number of sources from which AKC registered puppy can be obtained. We have endeavored to assess objectively the different sources and provide you with helpful information regarding each of them. We have listed what we consider to be the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining AKC registered puppy from the different sources.


The term “Show/Hobby Breeder” refers to a breeder who exhibits his dogs at dog shows, in either Conformation or Performance classes and who does so mainly as a hobby and not as a business.

Advantages: The experienced show/hobby breeder will be a breeder who has extensively studied his breed and is familiar with the breed standard for that breed. These breeders are aware of any health or genetic problems that might occur in the breed, and they will have done all the tests possible to ensure that their breeding stock is a free from hereditary problems as possible. In the sheltie, the tests that are usually done are: hip X-rays, eye examinations and thyroid function. If you are not familiar with these test, the informed show/hobby breeder can explain them to you. Also, a dog purchased from a show/hobby breeder is likely to be more “typey” that is, to look more like an purebred puppy should look! In addition, a knowledgeable show/hobby breeder will be your very best source of information and education for the life of your dog!

Disadvantages: Many show/hobby breeders do not have a large number of litters each year and you may have to be put on a waiting list to get a puppy from your breeder of choice.


Description is same as above, except that a large show/breeding operation may be a hobby or it may be a business.

Advantages: The large show breeder will have many more litters a year from which to choose.

Disadvantages: None.


You may see an ad in the newspaper, or be referred by a friend, to someone who has a female as a pet and who decided to breed her.

Disadvantages: Pet owners are often not aware of the tests mentioned above that should be done before breeding their dog. In addition, the puppies maybe less “typey”.


The term “backyard breeder” refers to someone who has a few dogs, usually one male and two to four females that they occasionally breed.

Advantages: Probably none. While puppy from a backyard breeder may cost less initially, the puppy may end up costing you more in the long run due to health problems.

Disadvantages: The backyard breeder may not beaware of hereditary problems that can occur and therefore does not do the tests to monitor their breeding stock for those problems.


Puppy mills are places where dogs are raised strictly for profit and no other reason. Such places are generally filthy (they house HUGE numbers of dogs and don’t want to pay for help to keep the kennels and animals clean.)The worst places are nothing more than concentration camps for dogs! If you answer and ad in the newspaper and go to a place where the dogs are not properly cared for, the best thing you can do is promptly leave! You can carry away disease-causing viruses and bacteria on your clothing or shoes.

Advantages: Absolutely none!

Disadvantages: Disease, poor quality, often with health problems, bad temperaments, and no socialization.


Most puppies offered for sale in pet shops have come from puppy mills.Reputable breeders do not sell their puppies to pet shops!

Advantages: Absolutely none!

Disadvantages: Disease, poor quality, often with health problems, bad temperaments, and nosocialization.

Please remember that we are dealing with living creatures and things can go wrong in spite of a breeder’s best efforts.