Don’t Be Fooled by Registration

Many breeders use the term “papers” or “registered” to give the illusion of approval from a governing body of either the facility conditions or the type of breed. Many people also assume this provides evidence of the health of the puppies — not true.

While the breeder may register the parents or grandparents of the puppies, the governing body usually doesn’t perform inspections or monitor the breeder’s operation.It’s just a piece of paper.

If you are provided a registration certificate or papers from an organization, be sure to call, email or check online lists to see if the breeder is actually registered or if his privileges have been suspended. If he uses a registration you have never heard of before, check it out either online or through a local business bureau. Your local animal shelter or humane society may be able to help determine if the organization is fake or untrustworthy.

Beware of sellers of specific breeds that do not register with at least one of the breed’s parent organizations or cannot explain the breed standard. Reputable breeders of only one type of dog usually choose them for their love of the breed, their existing pets and/or a desire to preserve the breed for future generations. If the seller can’t answer these questions or why he chose the breed he did (or worse, he says it’s because the puppies are very expensive), there’s an obvious problem.

Responsible breeders who follow a breed standard are concerned about genetic health issues and will have screenings done to ensure the puppies will be healthy. If they do not have screenings on the puppies, they should be able to offer health documentation about the parents. If this documentation is refused or not available, or if the breeder refuses to provide information, documentation or photographs of the parents, this can be another serious red flag.

Other signs to look out for include a breeder claiming his registration is pending, the papers are not available at the time of purchase, or the breeder does not hold a license or registration with any reputable organization, local licensing bureau or the USDA (usually required for any breeder who sells to brokers or pet stores).