EPISODE 137 | RELEASED October 18, 2021

How to Choose a Dog Breeder | Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM Deep Dive

Any dog, mixed breed or purebred, can have genetic health problems. Dr. Jerry Klein offers advice on researching breeds … and tells us how to pick a responsible breeder.


Dr. Jerry Klein, the Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club, joins us today to discuss things to look for when choosing a breeder to increase the odds of having a healthy puppy. All dogs can carry genes for health problems, so health testing is critical for dogs of any breed or mix that are being bred.

If seeking a purebred dog, visit the AKC “parent club” website for that breed to learn about common health concerns in the breed and find resources to connect you to a breeder or a breed rescue group. The Canine Health Information Center is another resource to learn about genetic testing recommended for a particular breed.

Whether the puppies will be purebred or not or show quality or not, anyone breeding a litter should be making an effort to produce healthy puppies and ensure that they are going to good homes. No one can guarantee that a puppy will not get cancer, but there are things you can do to decrease risk. Things to look for include:

  • Health testing results from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), Penn HIP, and/or Embark – these are not just for purebreds!
  • Asking questions about you that show their dedication to the breed and their puppies
  • Referring to another breeder if they don’t have a puppy available
  • Willing to let you meet the parents and relatives
  • Clean property and home or facility
  • Records on longevity and health
  • Stays in touch with puppy owners
  • Transparency about health issues
  • Parents at least 2 years old (physically mature and minimum age for many health tests)
  • Good nutrition for puppies
  • Parasite prevention
  • Socialization for puppies
  • Involved with their breed(s) for a while

In case you have wondered, the AKC is primarily a registry – they track registered dogs and hold dog shows. It is a “club of clubs.” The AKC does not control specifics of each breed – that is up to the parent or national clubs, each made up of people passionate about and dedicated to their breed.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Related Links:

AKC Parent Club List

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