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I wanted to make this a sticky to help newbies navigate the world of on-line breeder sites. I've attached a link to a recent thread where someone was asking about a breeder they found, but upon a little investigation it was found that the site was a fake 'breeder' site for a puppy mill, full of lies:

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/choosing-breeder/625522-good-breeder-no.html

Notice the tactics used here to make the reader think that they are dealing with a 'good breeder':

The use of the first person(s) in the "About us" and through out the site, as if the site was really put together by one individual who is breeding.

No names or actual physical location given as to who the breeder is or where they are located.

The constant focus on adorable puppies - reputable breeders are first and foremost INVOLVED in the breed: showing, competitions, titling, etc. They don't just breed to make cute puppies and sell them first come first serve.

They always have puppies, they ship three times a week!! Good breeders only breed a few litters a year so they can give each bitch and litter their personal attention, and only have puppies available at certain times.

No information on pedigrees, health testing, origin of the parents, goals in breeding (other than very vague buzz-words of breeding the best of the best, etc). I wouldn't be surprised if the "sire" and "dam" pics they post on each of the linked sites are random pics found off the internet. The GSD pups in the GSD site look like they came from different litters from different parents.

Selling pups as if you were selling something on ebay: pictures with a description, browse through the site and pic the pup you want: NO!!! Good breeders evaluate their pups and pic the pup for you based on years of experience raising pups and dogs! Good breeders develop a relationship with their buyers so they can get a good feel of what the buyer is looking for.

Notice the similarity in some of the site names like Andyspugs, Chuckspoodles, etc - again made to look like one person is a small breeder and breeding a pair of dogs - ALL LIES AIMED AT DECEIVING.

Note that some of the sites look pretty basic as if they were done up by someone with average computer skills - again, they don't want the site to look too professional, they want you to think that Mr. and Mrs. Breeder are just a nice couple with some nice dogs, who breed nice puppies, and are not professional breeders - all meant to produce a certain image.

With some time researching and asking experienced people (like the members on this site), you'll know how to spot these fake breeder sites, and what to look for in a REAL reputable breeder.
 

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Something I have noticed about puppy mills is that when you request to come meet the dogs, that isn't an option. They have many excuses why not, sick family, helping a friend sell their pups etc.

A good breeder, although busy, loves to talk about their dogs and want you to come out to meet their dogs. They also want to meet you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A good breeder, although busy, loves to talk about their dogs and want you to come out to meet their dogs. They also want to meet you.
YES!!! Exactly! Those sites talk about screening the buyers (I doubt it, they only exist to SELL pups, there is not follow-up - I bet all the testimonials are fake too - I KNOW a breeder here locally that told me he made up the testimonials on his site to give himself a more valid image).

As an example of a site of a GOOD breeder, I like to link my breeder's website:
(Wildhaus Kennels, Working German Shepherd Breeder in Michigan)

Now there are many other good breeders out there, but I like linking this site (even though I know some people will think I'm a bit of a sycophant), because I KNOW the breeders, and I'm familiar with the site content. )

But obvious differences:

Breeders present themselves, they have a name and a location.

Pedigrees and health tests results are posted or can be researched (OFA results, etc).

Breeders are first and foremost INVOLVED in GSDs. They own, raise, TRAIN AND TITLE their dogs in many venues, because they enjoy doing it and want to have hard solid evidence to back up their claims about their dogs' temperaments, and abilities.

Talk IN DEPTH about all their dogs, openly discuss their decisions to breed or not breed certain dogs they have owned.

Have a proven record of producing sound dogs that can work and be great family dogs. Have a relationship with their puppy buyers and keep in contact for support, help and just sharing the glory. :) See their brags page, and their previous litters page - if you click on the previous litter pics, each and very dog has a picture section.
 

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Selling pups as if you were selling something on ebay: pictures with a description, browse through the site and pic the pup you want: NO!!!
The fact that they give their puppies an ID number is another tell.
 

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I know anyone can misspell words but I swear backyard breeders are TERRIBLE spellers. If their website looks like a 5 year old wrote it and designed it to look like a glitter bomb went off on it then they are probably not a good breeder.

Also, just based off a backyard breeder's website that I have personally dealt with, if they have like 10+ litters planned in a year and just pair up random dogs together to purposely create long coats or "rare" colors, it's a good chance that they are backyard breeders.

If they have a 1st come and 1st serve, pick whichever puppy you want and however many puppies you want policy, chances are they are not a good breeder.

If they have a bunch of dogs with no working or show titles and no health testing, chances are they are not a good breeder.

If they are boasting about how their dogs are way over the breed standard in height and weight, chances are they are not a good breeder.
 

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Also, IMO it is a dead giveaway that it is a puppy mill breeder when I see that they breed more than 2 breeds.
 

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A website screams backyard bred to me when I see the breeder is deliberately choosing to breed away from the breed standard such as with off colors or oversize or temperaments that don't meet the standard.

Other characteristics can be using gimmicks and tricks such as limited registration for the sole purpose of retaining the value of their registered dogs by limiting competition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Other characteristics can be using gimmicks and tricks such as limited registration for the sole purpose of retaining the value of their registered dogs by limiting competition.
That's not a gimmick, it is a valid control reputable breeders use to prevent their dogs from ending up being use as breeding stock by BYB's and puppy mills, and irresponsible people.

I would expect a responsible, reputable breeder to sell on limited registration.

But this is getting away from the topic: it isn't about BYB's (though goodness we could start a thread on that subject and have it go for ever!), but about helping newbies understand that puppy mills will LIE and try to trick people into thinking that the cute puppy they bought came from a loving home, and not from some nightmare mill.
 

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That's not a gimmick, it is a valid control reputable breeders use to prevent their dogs from ending up being use as breeding stock by BYB's and puppy mills, and irresponsible people.

I would expect a responsible, reputable breeder to sell on limited registration.

But this is getting away from the topic: it isn't about BYB's (though goodness we could start a thread on that subject and have it go for ever!), but about helping newbies understand that puppy mills will LIE and try to trick people into thinking that the cute puppy they bought came from a loving home, and not from some nightmare mill.
I certainly am not saying there aren't valid reasons for selling with limited registration, that is why I qualified my comment with the reason of artificially inflating the price of their own dogs by eliminating competition as one member once posted they were told by a breeder. That reason screams puppy mill or byb to me. :)
 

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I LOVE anything by Ruffly Speaking! Always so on point!
Agreed! And I love how the subtext of everything she writes on the topic is that intelligent evaluation is a must. She is a thinking breeder who encourages buyers to be thinking buyers as well.

What I've taken from her writing is that when I run across something not done by the book, I need to place that in context and ask myself, "Was this a decision that makes sense given the circumstances? Was it arrived at intelligently?" Those answers matter to me more than whether I'd do it that way myself. If I examine those answers and still think it was wrong in a way I'd rather not support, well, okay. If I can understand the underlying logic and see that no harm was done and I'm okay with it, then great.

Conversely, it also forces one to examine why what is right is right. Do we health test breeding stock because we are supposed to get certain OFA results to breed, or do we health test because we want to learn about the results, what they mean, how they can help us and how they can't?
 
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