What Certificates Should A Dog Breeder Have Before You Buy From Them?

Historically, finding a dog breeder has been tricky. Deciding who you can trust and knowing the right questions to ask potential dog breeders can be a bit of a minefield. With the increase in puppy mills and puppy farms, it’s natural to want to be 100% confident that your new puppy is from a happy and healthy background and a certified dog breeder. 

Thankfully, Puppy Hero has not only created a system to help you find your perfect puppy but also compiled what you should be looking for in your quest to find your new best friend. 

Dog Breeding Licenses 

While it seems obvious that you would want to buy a puppy from a certified dog breeder, as the law currently stands, not all dog breeders need to have licenses. Dog breeding licenses are only required when a breeder produces over a certain amount of litters or has a certain number of breeding females, which can vary by state. 

However, a dog breeder will need a business permit, to ensure they are running their business as the laws of their state dictate. If they are a commercial dog breeder, the kind that might supply pet shops, they will require a dog breeding and a business permit. 

Backyard and Parking Lot Breeders

The lack of licensure needed for dog breeding has allowed “backyard” and “parking lot” breeders to flourish. These breeders are known for breeding dogs solely for financial gain and caring little for the care of their dogs or the outcomes for their puppies. 

There are a few ways you can identify a parking lot breeder, most prominently will be a lack of records provided with the puppy of vet checks and immunisations, but also a reluctance to introduce you to the puppy's parents. 

Good, certified dog breeders, unlike backyard and parking lot breeders, will take an interest in the people who wish to take their puppies home. There are some key questions to ask a dog breeder, to ensure the health and wellbeing of your new puppy. There are also questions a dog breeder will ask you to ensure they are trusting the puppy to the right people. 

Related: How to Find a Reputable Dog Breeder

Finding a Good Breeder

The criteria for finding a good dog breeder are simple but essential. The crux of it can fall into three main points:


  • No sign or indication of any kind that you could be dealing with a puppy mill.
  • The breeder is experienced and verified to ensure the health and wellbeing of their breeding dogs. 
  • The breeder offers vet checks and health guarantees. 


These are the exact criteria that Puppy Hero holds for all of the breeders that operate through the Puppy Hero websites. 

The American Kennel Club (AKC)’s Guidelines

The American Kennel Club (AKC) acts as an independent governing body of certified dog breeders. They run the AKC Breeder of Merit Program—dog breeders can apply and, if they meet the stringent criteria set by the AKC, become acknowledged as a Breeder of Merit, which ensures the safety and wellbeing of their dogs. 

The AKC does offer some certificates that you can look out for—breeders with these certificates are backed up even further by the AKC for the welfare and health of their dogs. 

AKC-certified dogs are animals that have met certain requirements in place by the AKC. These dogs will have thorough ancestry details and breeding requirements and will be guaranteed purebred. It is important to have these breeding certificates for dogs you intend to show later. Only dogs with a dog breed certification will be able to enter official competitions as purebred. 

There are also certificates granted through the AKC to dogs that might not meet all of the criteria for the breed standard. Dogs can also pass the AKC “good citizenship” certificate, which means they have been trained and have a good temperament, which is a good sign for any pups they birth or sire. 

Dog Breeding Rules and Regulations 

Though there isn’t a lot of official licensing when it comes to dog breeding rights, that isn’t to say that dog breeding is a free for all—there are some dog breeding rules, regulations, and laws in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all animals. 

Essentially, these boil down to dog breeding being legal as long as the animal's wellbeing is maintained. Animal cruelty is illegal and punishable by the authorities.

Animal cruelty, or animal neglect, is defined as willfully causing physical harm or pain to an animal, neglect, starvation or deprivation of water, or any action that leads to the suffering and/or death of an animal. 


However, given that these regulations only meet a minimum requirement, it’s important to ensure your own standards are high when it comes to choosing a breeder. 

Why Find a Breeder Through Puppy Hero?

At Puppy Hero, we do all the hard work for you. We only allow certified dog breeders to operate through our website, and they are individually vetted, to ensure their animals are well looked after and healthy. 

Our aim is to encourage and celebrate ethical dog breeding and to connect people to their perfect pooch. 

If you’re ready to welcome a new four-legged member of the family, you can narrow down your search easily. Whether you’re after a dog that will suit your apartment living or want to find the best breed of dog for an emotional support animal, there is a dog out there for everyone. 

As well as being able to search for a puppy by breed, you can also search by state. Your new best friend could currently be living right next to you.