How to find a Reputable Breeder
Finding a reputable registered breeder is an important part of finding a new pet. Different types of registrations can mean different things and registration alone is not necessarily a guarantee that the animals are bred or cared for according to any consistent guidelines. You can find registered cat breeders and registered dog breeders Australia wide here: Registered Dog Breeders Australia, Registered Cat Breeders Australia and see links by state below.
We do our best to ensure that all breeders on our site are reputable and small scale (not 'for profit') breeders but please read the information below so you know what to look for in a breeder, and the types of questions you should ask. While the requirements mentioned below are particular to cat and dog breeders, they are a good guide for anyone who is looking for a caring and ethical breeder of any type of animal.
What is a Registered Breeder?
Dog and cat breeders are often referred to as ‘registered breeders’ when they are members of a breed association or club which operates a stud book or register or other breeder association. For example, registration with a nationally recognised State Registering Body (eg, Dogs NSW, Dogs QLD). Sometimes 'Registered breeder’ or ‘recognised breeder’ is referred to when someone has a different type of registration with a local council where rules and guidelines can vary from region to region, council to council.
Registration with an association/ club or local council does not necessarily mean that a dog or cat breeder is responsible or meets animal welfare standards. It also does not mean that the animal is purebred/pedigree, or that there are any assurances about the animals temperament or physical traits.
Because of this, when purchasing a puppy or kitten you should always ask for the following:
- registration details
- a vaccination certificate
- a microchipping certificate
- information about, and testing of potential genetic issues
- a vet health check certificate or equivalent paperwork. A health check is usually carried out with vaccination.
A good breeder will also:
- Have planned the litter and make sure that all of the puppies or kittens go to good homes.
- Let you visit them and let you meet the mother and father (if he’s around).
- Have safe and clean living conditions for all the animals in their care.
- Be genuinely concerned about the home that the puppy or kitten is going to. They will want to make sure that you are a good match. That the temperament and needs of the dog or cat will suit you and your lifestyle.
- Be happy to answer questions and will make sure you have all the information you need to for the short and long term care of your new pet.
- Have had the health checked by a veterinarian - including vaccinations & microchipping, and appropriate genetic testing.
- Ensure that the puppy or kitten is free of intestinal worms and fleas.
DNA health testing is a vital aspect of responsible and ethical breeding practices for many breeds. With the increase in science and DNA research, there are new tests continually becoming available. An ethical breeder will test their breeding stock for any and all of these tests voluntarily. It should be noted that NONE of these tests are compulsory. You can find providers of genetic testing for animals and collection services here - DNA Testing for dogs and cats.
Puppy farming, 'for profit' breeding & other things to be aware of...
With increasing awareness and concern about large-scale breeding operations most Australian States and Territories are currently reviewing guidelines and legislation relating to dog and cat breeders. Animals Australia has a good summary here..
At present, guidelines and standards vary significantly between the States and Territories, governing bodies, interest groups and breeders. There are, however, some generally common assertions that uphold non-exploitative, caring and ethical practices that might serve as a guide when researching the breed you're interested in and looking for a breeder.
- The number of breeding females is a good indication of the scale of the breeding operation. While the 10 Point Animal Welfare Plan by the NSW Labor party suggests a ban on puppy farms with more than 10 breeding females, the potential numbers at these levels would still most likely look like a commercial situation.
- Breeders must be aware of any hereditary diseases/conditions in their breed and must monitor them carefully. For example - german shepherds and rottweilers require hip and elbow scores on the parents, while in some breeds dna testing or hip and elbow score is compulsory. Ragdoll cat breeders should DNA test for pkd and hcm - the lethal diseases Ragdolls can carry.
- Breeding should commence at an appropriate age and be at a frequency that ensures that the female has time to properly raise her litter and then rest and recover adequately.
- For dogs – 12+ months for first litter, one litter per year, no more than 5 litters in lifetime, and not past 6 years of age.
- For cats – 9 months for first litter, no more than 3 litters in 2 years, and not over 6 years of age.
- Puppies are not to be sold before they reach 8 weeks of age and kittens before they are 12 weeks of age.
- Puppies and kittens must be vaccinated, wormed, microchipped, vet checked, with information and documentation provided to the buyer.
- Breeders should ensure that cats and dogs not destined for responsible planned breeding are desexed prior to sale. The age to desex kittens and puppies can be dependent on factors such as breed, size, health issues or other factors. Breeders sometimes organise a contractual agreement with new owners that ensures they will desex at the appropriate time.
Looking for a Purebred puppy?
The Australian National Kennel Council has a strict set of guidelines regarding the breeding and ownership of temperamentally and physically sound pure bred dogs. If you purchase a pup from an ANKC registered breeder you will receive all of the certificates listed above as well as 'pedigree papers'. The ANKC Guidelines for Dog Breeders is clear regarding motives for breeding and states that "The common concept that pure bred puppies are a means of making money is, in a reality, a misconception and, alone, not a valid reason to bring otherwise unwanted dogs into being. ..we should all be well aware of the Code of Ethics which all members are required to follow, the first of which is the statement, “I shall breed only to improve the breed…”
Also see the RSPCA online Puppy and Dog Buyer's guide for more information.
Quick links to Australian cat breeder lists by State:
Cat Breeders, Melbourne - Victoria, Cat Breeders Canberra - ACT, Cat Breeders, Sydney - NSW, Cat Breeders, Brisbane Queensland, Cat Breeders, Hobart - Tasmania, Cat Breeders, Adelaide - South Australia, Cat Breeders, Darwin - Northern Territory, Cat Breeders, Perth - Western Australia.
Quick links to registered dog breeder lists by State:
Dog Breeders, Melbourne - Victoria, Dog Breeders, Canberra - ACT, Dog Breeders, Sydney - NSW, Dog Breeders, Brisbane - Queensland, Dog Breeders, Hobart - Tasmania, Dog Breeders, Adelaide - South Australia, Dog Breeders, Darwin - Northern Territory, Dog Breeders, Perth Western Australia.