Finding A Reputable Breeder

Perhaps you have already decided that a Dalmatian is the dog for you. However, it is important that you find a reputable breeder. Certainly you hope to find a dog that will be a healthy, loving, trainable, family companion for many years. It is well-worth taking your time to find someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in the breed.

Your search for a Dalmatian can be confusing. You may see newspaper ads or locate puppies through the Internet or in pet shops, but how can you decide which breeders are truly knowledgeable and reputable?

Here are some typical characteristics of the Reputable Breeder:

1. The reputable Dalmatian breeder almost always belongs to the Dalmatian Club of America, a regional Dalmatian Club or a local all-breed club. He may also be involved in performance events such as obedience, agility trials and other activities such as therapy dog work. Membership in breed clubs is open only to those who agree to abide by the club’s code of ethics, an important point for people looking for a family dog.

2. A reputable Dalmatian breeder often  shows his dogs in AKC recognized conformation shows. He is proud of his dogs and shows them as a way to evaluate his breeding stock. Earning a championship is often an important part of that process. While that may not seem important to the pet owner, it does have some real advantages. A good show dog is healthy, stable and an excellent example of its breed. It should be outgoing and friendly and able to adapt to many situations….all characteristics that are desirable in a family pet and likely to be found in a litter raised by a “show” breeder.

3. A reputable breeder is sometimes called a “hobby” breeder, but his involvement in breeding dogs is much more than a hobby. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of not only the two dogs being bred, but of many of the ancestors behind them. The reputable breeder’s goal is to improve the breed and he is truly dedicated in his efforts to produce the very best puppies he can. He does not breed to “make money” and on the contrary, considers it a very good year if he “breaks even.” Breeding and raising dogs correctly is an expensive proposition.

4. The reputable breeder almost always intends to keep a puppy to continue his efforts. The pet buyer benefits from that as every puppy in the litter is bred and raised to be that one exceptional pup. Each one is well socialized, gets regular veterinary care and is a clean, happy, beautiful puppy. Above all, it is raised by an informed, dedicated breeder.

5. The reputable breeder is knowledgeable about the breed and is honest about its best and worst qualities. He knows that a Dalmatian is not the right dog for everyone and will spend time with each prospective owner to explain our breeds’ unique characteristics. It is important to the reputable breeder that he makes the best match between each puppy and prospective family. You should expect that the reputable breeder will ask many questions of you and encourage your questions as well. Many reputable breeders will ask you to fill out a questionnaire or application to see what qualities of a dog are important to you and to determine whether or not he has a Dalmatian that might meet your needs. He not only will be a source of information for you before you take the puppy home, but will remain willing and eager to be a support to you for the life of the dog. This is probably the greatest advantage to buying your dog from an experienced breeder.  You not only get a healthy, well-adjusted companion, you also get a lifetime of information, advice and assistance from an expert who cares deeply about your success with the dog he has sold to you.

6. The reputable breeder will usually have a contract which details not only what he expects of you, but what you can expect of him. He does not place dogs lightly with just anyone who is willing to buy. He considers himself responsible for bringing each puppy into the world and will do his very best to place each puppy where both the puppy and the family will be happy. In most cases, he will offer you a “trial” period with your puppy and require that you take it to your vet to be assured that it is healthy.  A reputable breeder only sells dogs that have all appropriate inoculations and are, to the best of his knowledge, healthy. His puppies will usually also be guaranteed for a reasonable length of time.

7. Reputable breeders are not in a hurry to place their puppies into their new homes. Dalmatian puppies seldom go to their new owners before 7 or 8 weeks of age and they are often held a few weeks longer. It is during this time that the breeder continues to evaluate each puppy and spend individual time with them. He will choose his “show” prospects and watch all the others to determine their personalities. You will find that even an older puppy or young adult that has been properly raised and socialized will adjust very easily to its new home and family.

8. A reputable breeder may offer, or may even require, that any dog you buy from him be returned to him if your situation changes and you can no longer keep him. Having a dog returned  is very disappointing for all (and very bewildering and sad for the dog), but no breeder wants to have one of his dogs end up in a shelter, on the streets or passed from home to home because his owner couldn’t or wouldn’t keep him.

9. Most reputable breeders do not operate as a business but are show fanciers who usually only produce one or two litters a year, often even less. He is happy to have you visit to see the puppies and one or both of the parents. However, he may have bred his female to a male who lives elsewhere but should still be able to provide pictures and a pedigree. The dogs should be bright-eyed, healthy and friendly and kept in clean surroundings. The breeder will spend time with you both before and after the puppy goes home with you. If he does not have a puppy for you, he usually knows many people in the Dalmatian world and is happy to refer you to other good breeders or to our national rescue organization.


Keep this in mind: You are probably going to pay for quality. 
Whether or not you get it is up to you.