Finding a Reputable Breeder

At Bailing Out Benji we are committed to ending the puppy mill industry through education, advocacy and research.

We always advocate for pet adoption first and foremost and encourage everyone to look for their next best friend from their local rescue or shelter. This is made very easy thanks to websites like Petfinder and AdoptAPet. Through those, you can easily search through your local animal welfare organizations or you can even look at adoptable dogs and puppies from breed specific rescues. 

When families are having a hard time finding an animal through a rescue or shelter, it is important for advocates to help make sure customers don’t accidentally support puppy mills as they continue their search. It is up to each and every one of us to help take the cruelty out of animal purchases. 

But how does someone make sure they aren’t buying from a puppy mill? 

We know that pet store puppies come from puppy mills, and we know that online brokering companies aren’t safe to use either- so what can the every day person do (besides adopt!) to make sure they aren’t funding the puppy mill industry through their purchases? 


Searching for a Reputable Breeder

Did you know that many of the AKC breed clubs across America have rules against selling their puppies to pet stores or puppy mills? In fact, many of these breed clubs have strict provisions that require as much from their members and it is written into their Code of Ethics. While the AKC is one of the main lobbying organizations that fights to protect puppy mills and puppy-selling stores, their breed clubs are independently operated and are typically against puppy mills and puppy-selling stores. 

We are often asked if we have a list of responsible breeders, but the short answer is: No, we do not have a list of breeders that we endorse. Instead we have suggestions on ways to begin your search and tips on how to ensure you are buying from someone reputable.

In order to avoid buying from puppy mills, we always suggest that the families: 

– Research the breeder and ask to view their three most recent state or USDA inspection reports (including dog counts). 

– Visit the property to make sure you approve of how the parent dogs are living. 

– Ask what genetic health tests the parent dogs have received to ensure that the puppies are healthy and won’t have genetic issues pop up later on in life. 

– Avoid pet stores and online brokering websites, especially when they don’t provide the breeder information to you ahead of time. 



One of the things that we always suggest is getting in contact with the National Breed Club of your interested breed and begin your search for a reputable breeder there. 

Below you will find a sampling of National Breed Clubs, as well as their stance on whether or not their members can sell to pet stores or puppy mills. Many breed clubs are also very active in their own breed specific rescue and could also help you find an adoptable dog. To view a longer list of breed clubs, click here.

This is not an endorsement of any breeder or breed club.

It is the responsibility of each customer to do their research and make sure the breeder they choose is not a puppy mill. 

Examples of Breed Clubs with Rules Against Selling to Pet Stores or Puppy Mills

Airedale Terrier Club of America (

Code of Ethics: In sale/placement transactions, we endeavor to refuse to sell an Airedale Terrier of any age to pet dealers, catalog houses, or any other commercial sources of distribution.

Afghan Hound Club of America ( 

Policies and Procedures: Ethical breeders do not consign Afghan Hounds to pet stores, animal brokers, or commercial kennels, and do not donate them as prizes for any raffle or contest. 

Alaskan Malamute Club of America, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: No member shall knowingly be involved in the sale/placement of puppies/dogs through retail or wholesale outlets, mail order businesses, dog dealers/agents/brokers, or act as a finder for such operations.

American Bloodhound Club (

Code of Ethics: As a member of the American Bloodhound Club: I agree not to engage in the practice of providing any Bloodhound to any individual, commercial wholesaler, or retailer for the purpose of resale.

American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, Inc. (

General Code of Conduct: I will not: 1. Knowingly falsify a pedigree, health screening or breeding information. 2. Sell Cavaliers to pet shops, brokers or third party dealers. 3. Supply or sell Cavaliers for auctions, raffles, flea markets or any other such enterprise. 4. Knowingly sell to unethical breeders, or sell to persons whose intention is resale. 5. Purchase any Cavalier or any litter for resale either to an individual or a commercial establishment.

American Fox Terrier Club (

Code of Ethics: Under no condition shall dogs be sold to pet dealers or any other source of commercial distribution.

American Whippet Club, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: No member of this club shall engage in the wholesaling of litters of Whippet puppies, or the sale of breeding stock or individuals to pet shops or other commercial sources of distribution.

Basset Hound Club of America (

Breeder Code of Ethical Conduct: No member of this club shall engage in the wholesaling of litters or the selling of breeding stock to commercial sales operations.

American Maltese Association, Inc. (

Member Code of Ethics: I will not knowingly deal with dog wholesalers, commercial retailers, brokers or unethical dog breeders, nor supply dogs for raffles, “give away” prizes or other such projects.

American Miniature Schnauzer Club, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: The breeder will not sell or dispose of any dog through pet shops, wholesalers, commercial dealers or paid agents.

American Pomeranian Club, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: I will not sell my puppies to pet shops or commercial pet mill establishments, nor will I donate puppies for raffles or auctions.

American Spaniel Club, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: Breeders shall refrain from selling puppies to pet shops either outright or on consignment; refrain from supplying puppies for auctions, raffles, or other such enterprises; refrain from selling to persons whose intention to resell is known or suspected; refrain from breeding litters primarily for the pet market.

Australian Cattle Dog Club of America (

Breeder Code of Ethics: As an ACDCA Code of Ethics Breeder, I agree that no puppies will be knowingly sold to franchised commercial facilities, puppy brokers, puppy mills or agents thereof.

Borzoi Club of America (

Code of Ethics: To avoid at all cost the wholesaling of litters of Borzoi puppies, or the sale of breeding stock or individuals to pet shops or other commercial sources of distribution and never to provide dogs for the purpose of raffle, lottery, or auction.

Boston Terrier Club of America, Inc (

Code of Ethics: I will sell no Boston Terrier to a commercial facility, puppy broker, pet shop, puppy mill or their agent.

Bulldog Club of America (

Breeder’s Code of Ethics: Responsible breeders refuse to sell or recommend breeders who do not conform to the ideals and obligations expressed in this Code and shall not engage in wholesaling litters or in individual sales or consignments of pups or adults to pet shops, dealers, catalog houses or other commercial establishments, nor shall they be donated or given as prizes in contests, raffles, or fundraising events, no matter how charitable.

Chihuahua Club of America, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: I pledge to be responsible for all Chihuahuas that I have produced for their entire lifetime by never buying, selling or trading my/our Chihuahuas to research laboratories, pet stores, or to auctions nor placing them in rescue groups.

Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America, Inc. (

Breeders Code of Conduct: I agree to never sell or give any puppy or dog to pet stores either on consignment or outright.

Collie Club of America, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: No member shall knowingly sell or place, trade or give any Collie of any age to pet dealers, catalog houses, or other commercial sources; nor shall Collies be given as prizes, auctioned, or exploited to the detriment of the breed.

Dachshund Club of America, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: To never supply a Dachshund to pet shops, commercial brokers or dealers, raffles or similar projects.

Dalmatian Club of America, Inc. (

Ethical Guidelines: I hereby pledge to ensure that puppies and adults produced by my brood bitch or stud dog are never knowingly sold or consigned to pet stores, wholesalers, or commercial dealers.

French Bull Dog Club of America (

Code of Ethics and Sportsmanship: As a member of the French Bull Dog Club of America, I will not sell a French Bulldog to any commercial facility, puppy brokers, pet shop, puppy mill or agent thereof.

German Shepherd Dog Club of America (

Club Code of Conduct: No GSD will be sold to wholesalers or retail stores for the purpose of resale. Breeders Code: I hereby pledge to refuse to sell or recommend breeders who do not conform to the ideals and obligations expressed in this Code and refuse all sales to dog wholesalers and retailers.

Golden Retriever Club of America (

Responsibilities as a Breeder: Members should not sell dogs at auction, or to brokers or commercial dealers.

Greyhound Club of America (

Ethical Standards: Breeders shall not knowingly sell or consign puppies or adult dogs to pet stores, puppy brokers or other commercial dealers.

Havanese Club of America (

Code of Ethics: No Havanese will be sold to pet dealers, pet stores, pet wholesalers, or pet brokers either singly or in litter lots.

Miniature Pinscher Club of America, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: No Miniature Pinscher shall be sold to commercial facilities; research laboratories; pet shops; brokers who purchase litter lots or individuals for re-sale to pet shops or other commercial facilities, puppy mills or their agents.

Newfoundland Club of America, Inc. (

Ethics Guide: Responsibilities of Members: To refuse to sell Newfoundland dogs to any pet shop, or any wholesale dealer in dogs, or knowingly to sell or aid or abet the sale of any Newfoundland to a person or agent who will sell the animal through a pet shop.

Old English Sheepdog Club of America, Inc (

Code of Ethics: Puppies may not be sold from any temporary marketplace or transient headquarters, no litters purchased or taken on consignment for resale, nor dogs wholesaled to pet shops, auctions, dealers, contest sponsors, raffles, etc.

Papillon Club of America, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: No member of the Papillon Club of America will sell at wholesale or to retail outlets, brokers, pet shops, mail order houses, or businesses of similar commercial enterprise, or donate a dog to be offered as a prize.

Portugese Water Dog Club of America, Inc. (

Section 1 All PWDCA Members shall: Not sell, place or consign any Portuguese Water Dog to a commercial facility, business or agent thereof.

Pug Dog Club of America, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: No member shall EVER sell or donate dogs for auctions or raffles, or to pet shops, catalog houses, brokers or for resale purposes.

Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States (

Code of Ethics: Members will not knowingly furnish puppies or adult dogs for wholesale, pet shops, puppy brokers, commercial facilities, guard dog businesses or agents thereof, or dispose of them as “Give away” prizes or auction items; neither will they sell puppies to nor breed to dogs owned by those whom they have reason to believe may do so.

Samoyed Club of America, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: The SCA member does not sell, consign, or transfer puppies, or adults to pet shops, wholesale dealers, contest sponsors, or anyone who is known to degrade the Samoyed breed or purebred dogs, or to individuals contemplating breeding and/or sale to the aforementioned.

Scottish Terrier Club of America (

Code of Ethics: Not knowingly sell a Scottish Terrier of any age to a pet shop, catalog house, laboratory or any wholesale dealer in dogs (a dealer being a person who regularly buys dogs for sale at profit), or to any person who sells to any of the above.

Siberian Husky Club of America, Inc. (

Code of Ethics: I pledge that I will refuse to deal with dog wholesalers or to sell puppies or dogs to pet shops, and I will include in all stud contracts an agreement to be signed by the owner of the bitch that no puppies resulting from the mating will be wholesaled or sold to pet shops.

Skye Terrier Club of America (

Code of Ethics: To refrain from knowingly selling, trading, or giving Skye Terriers or providing stud service to a commercial breeder, pet shop, research laboratory or any person known to be unethical in his/her dealings in purebred dogs.

Spinone Club of America (

Code of Conduct: Members will not sell, transfer or consign a dog to pet shops, unethical breeders, or other commercial ventures including lotteries, raffles or auctions.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America (

Code of Ethics: Litters shall not be sold to a person en-bloc, to commercial sources, or for purposes of resale.

St. Bernard Club of America, Inc. (

Guidelines and Statement of Policy: No member shall buy or sell St. Bernards through commercial pet outlets, nor buy or sell in litter lots, nor sell to persons whose activities tend to degrade the Breed.

Tibetan Terrier Club of America, Inc. (

Guidelines for Responsible Breeders: A responsible breeder does not sell or consign Tibetan Terriers to pet shops or other commercial dealers, nor does he breed his animals to their animals.

Weimaraner Club of America (

Code of Ethics: The owner/breeder shall not breed, sell or consign puppies or adults to pet shops or other commercial dealers.


Next Steps

If you have located a breeder and researched them thoroughly on your own but still want to double check that you aren’t supporting a puppy mill, please contact us through the form below and we will provide any additional information that we have on that facility. 


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