(9:00 am to 10:00 pm ET for General Inquiries)
helping you choose the right breeder
Selecting the breeder to purchase your pet from can be quite challenging.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a breeder.
Some are RED FLAGS to be aware of that might be signs of a bad breeder:
Does the breeder/seller agree to sell you a pet through email or through texting? Most people who have been considering purchasing a pet want to feel good about the person they choose to purchase their pet from. They will want to ask a lot of questions before they decide to purchase any pet. They will want to know that the breeder is an ethical person and know that the pet is coming from a reputable breeder, who is conscientious and dedicated to the wellbeing of the pets they raise.
Before a reputable breeder will agree to sell any animal, they will likely want to get to know a bit about the person that will be purchasing the pet that they are selling. They will want to know that the person has done a lot of research and understands the needs of the animal they are thinking of purchasing. They will want to know that the purchaser will be providing a forever home for the pet that they have been raising and caring for. They will want to know where they will be living and they want to know that the person that is purchasing their pet has the best interest of the pet in mind.
When buying, and selling live animals it can be very challenging to develop a report and communicate effectively through email or text. Each pet has their own unique personality and every animal is unique in its’ own way. Therefore, there needs to be a discussion about it.
If a breeder agrees to sell you a pet without speaking with you on the phone or in person, it might be wise to continue looking for another breeder.
Does the breeder wholesale? If so, they probably have too many animals to care for properly. It takes time to provide every animal with one on one interaction. To keep up the wholesale demand if they hope to even break even on their expenses, they will likely need to scrimp where ever they can to cut costs (at the animal’s loss). They will also need to breed them in volume which could mean repeatedly breeding a single animal to exhaustion, which means that they could be putting the health of mothers and babies at risk. People who breed animals with the hopes of selling them to pet stores or brokers are usually not into keeping and raising animals as a hobby. It is farming and many farmers will view it as a business, in terms of a profit and loss scenario and when that happens with pets, everyone loses.
Does the breeder invite you to meet and view their pets prior to committing to purchasing the pet? When first talking with a good breeder, if the breeder seems a little indifferent know that it is nothing personal. It is not uncommon for people who are truly passionate about animals to sometimes come across as being somewhat aloof. It is important to understand that the breeder already has a lot of time and money invested into their pets and into their hobby. They have already developed and established an emotional attachment to all their pets and want the best for their animals.
During your initial conversation both you and the breeder will be gauging one another trying to sum everything up hoping to figure out how serious and dedicated each one is about the animals. Once both of you feel that the interest is mutual, the conversation will likely start to flow better. This is the ideal time for the purchasers and the breeder to ask a lot of questions.
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise why a breeder would not want to spend time with people who do not have genuine interest in the pets they raise. You as a purchaser will need to reassure that your interest in their pets is sincere. Reputable breeders are often not great sales people and many would prefer to spend time caring for their pets than to put much effort into selling them to a stranger.
After speaking with one another if you both agree that this would be a good fit most often a dedicated breeder will want to meet you! Upon meeting you, if they feel that you would be a suitable candidate for one of their pets they will invite you to view the pet and they may even agree to sell you a pet.
If you agree to meet, be considerate. Most reputable breeders are hobby breeders who invest time into their hobby and it is usually done from their home. When they agree to meet you, they are in fact, inviting a total stranger into their home. As with most people, breeders’ lives are busy. They often work outside of their homes and have lives that extend beyond the realm of their breeding hobby so always be sure to respect time limits and personal boundaries.
If you are the type of person who feels that you are doing the breeder a favor, you are fooling yourself. On the grand scheme of things, the little money that you are paying for the pet does not compare to what the breeder has invested. Besides, he or she knows that there is a lot of considerate people who want to purchase from them.
Is the price reasonable? It is very difficult to compare pricing on animals because no two animals are the same. The time of year, age of the animal, availability, colour morph, lineage, gender, etc., are a few things to consider that influence the price of the pet. Low prices are never realistic because animals are not cheap to raise nor cheap to care for and if the asking price is surprisingly low you should probably ask yourself why? There is a high probability that something is not right. Are they buying and selling from pet farms? Are they trying to unload these pets and if so, why? Low prices could also be a sign that corners are being cut to save on costs. When you cut corners while caring for an animal, there are not many places to save. Other than on the costs of nutrition, veterinary care and habitats, therefore being that this is not an effective way to raise animals, purchasing any pet from them just motivates a person to repeat the same thing over again. When breeders scrimp on the basics it may not always be apparent when you make your initial purchase but over time it will likely become noticeable and perhaps problematic in the long run.
The breeder offers support after you have made the purchase. You may need the guidance and help from the breeder after taking your pet home. Good breeders will want to hear from you. Not only do they feel a sense of obligation to their pets and to their customers, they will also want to know that the pet is settling in okay. We hear from people years after a pet leaves our home and we look forward to getting pictures and seeing how well they are doing. Even when things go wrong we like to hear about it because that can help us by influencing some of our decisions when choosing which animals to pair together in the future.
Does the breeder ask you questions about your lifestyle and experience with animals? Any ethical breeder will want to know that their pets will be going to homes where they will be well cared for and loved. They will likely want to know your level of experience and if you are home enough to care for the pet. There needs to be financial stability to cover basic needs, vet care and so many other things that a lot of questions may need to be asked. Sometimes it may feel a little like an interrogation but that is not what it is meant to be. If it seems too personal it is just that the breeder wants to know where their pet is going and how it will be treated.
Even we feel that sometimes there are a few breeders who cross the line! In these instances, we back away from them. This is an absolute red flag! There are other issues going on and that this could be an unsafe transaction or become problematic down the road.
The best thing is to always be forthright and share your level of experience, your commitment by divulging a limited amount of information a bit about yourself with the breeder. Keep your personal information limited and accept that if this is not good enough for them, then you’ll simply need to back away.
Does the breeder charge extra because an animal is registered or because it has a pedigree?
If you are buying a small specialty animal to keep as a pet with no intentions of breeding it and the breeder charges you more for a registration or pedigree for a pet, run!
Pedigrees are not important when owning non-breeding animals. They are used by breeders to track lineage otherwise their value is only the cost of a piece of paper and ink used to print them.
Registering small exotic pets is a little gimmicky. It cannot be compared to registering domesticated livestock such as dogs, horses etc. whose standard of perfection is constantly developing and people dedicate their lives to perfecting a breed.
Nowadays, anyone can choose to buy registration papers without the help of a breeder. There are a lot of clubs that offer this sort of cute service. For a small fee, most types of small animals can be registered with certain clubs. If you are not planning to breed them, you’ll need to decide if it is worth any additional fees.
*Registration papers and pedigrees are not what increases the actual value of a pet. It is the genetics and DNA combined with how the animal was raised, that does!
If a breeder is selling you a breeding animal you can expect to pay more and sometimes that is quite a bit more but if you are not buying a pet for breeding purposes then a pedigree does not help you care for and enjoy your pet. We have a section dedicated to registration, pedigrees and showing pets on our site. Why not take a few minutes to review it?
If you feel that a breeder is trying to sell you an animal or trying to get you to purchase supplies to go with that animal, you should probably recognize this as a red flag. Conscientious breeders are not pet stores and typically do not put effort into selling, pets or supplies. Instead they focus on information and usually want what is best for the animal.
Good breeders are never in a rush to sell their animals. If you feel that a person is rushing you into deciding to purchase the pet on the spot, back away if you are not ready. You should take all the time you need before deciding to buy a pet. If someone else takes it, there will likely be more to choose from later.
One of the small demons we face as a breeder is when we know that more than one person is seriously interested in purchasing the same pet. This happens a lot more often than you might think. Of course, we do not want to disappoint anyone so, we need to decide whether to tell a person to take their time, knowing that it is likely not going to be available within the next day or two.
Availability for our animals is unpredictable as it often changes very quickly! We have no reason to use sales ploys to sell our pets and we are never in hurry to sell a pet because we know that there is someone who will be contacting us soon, looking for a new pet and that this animal will be in a new home very shortly.
If a reputable breeder is telling you this, it is usually just to be courteous. We know that we only ever tell people if someone else is showing interest in that specific pet, if it is true… It is not some sort of sales ploy.
Gossip! If a breeder is speaking negatively about other people regarding their breeding ethics it is probably a good idea to listen but you should not really pay too much attention to that kind of gossip. Good breeders usually keep that type of comment between themselves and the breeder and do not gossip when selling a pet. This is more likely to happen with sales people who are trying to manipulate a sale in their favor.