BYB Red Flags
Backyard breeders are everywhere and they employ all sorts of tactics to appear legitimate and trustworthy. Here are some quick tips that can help you identify whether a breeder you've come across might be considered a BYB.
🚩Claims that they have done all health testing but unable to produce OFA numbers. Check out our Health Testing link for more details on why OFA testing is important.
🚩 No conformation or performance titling in any of their dogs. Even if you don’t plan on showing or doing dog sports, titles are essentially how you test your dog’s physical and mental characteristics. Check out our Titles link for more details on why titling is important.
🚩 Breeding dogs under two years old. A reputable breeder will generally wait until the dog is two years old to breed it. After all, most dogs, aside from toy breeds, do not fully mature physically until they're around two years of age. That's why the OFA only certifies the final rating of hips and elbows rating for dogs that are 24+ months. There may be some edge cases where a female has her heat cycle right before she turns two, and the breeder doesn't want to wait another eight months before breeding her, however, it is generally advised to wait.
🚩 Breeding for colour. Colour should be the absolutely last factor that is considered. Health, conformation, and temperament should be the guiding principals in which a potential match is made.
🚩 They are not listed on the national breed club's directory. There may be some exceptions to the rule (eg. they are a newer breeder in the process of getting the paperwork and admin work done), however, if they've had more than one litter, a reputable breeder would be listed on their breed club's directory. If they are not, inquire with them AND the breed club as to why not, so you can get both sides of the story.
🚩 Letting pups go younger than eight weeks old. A puppy's peak socialization period is between 6-8 weeks old and it is crucial they spend this time with their mother and their littermates to optimize their socialization period. Letting a pup leave earlier than eight weeks is detrimental to their development.
🚩 Puppies are always or readily available. A reputable breeder will have carefully planned their litters for months in advance and only breed if/when they have sufficient puppy homes they've screened and pre-selected. Generally, you can expect to wait 1-3 years for a well-bred puppy from a reputable breeder. A breeder who always has puppies available indicate that they are breeding too many litters.
⚠️ Breeding back to back to back litters. There are currently mixed views on breeding back to back litters. Ask your breeder why they are choosing to breed back-to-back litters as there may be specific circumstances where a bitch is bred two heats in a row. Breeding takes an incredibly heavy toll on a bitch; asking the breeder for their rationale may help you assess whether they are a puppy mill or disingenuous breeder forcing the maximum output from their breeding bitches.
Many backyard breeders and puppy mills may give the illusion of caring about their dogs and which families they get placed with. Keep in mind, BYBs and puppy mills can be GREAT at marketing, advertising and customer service because they will do anything they can to rope people into buying their puppies.
You may also hear people being satisfied with a breeder simply because they were supplied with a goody bag of food, toys, blankets, binder, etc. for your new puppy and that the puppy was practically potty-trained by the time they were eight weeks old. Frankly, this is a common practice amongst Eurasier breeders in North America. Eurasiers are also a fairly clean breed and pick up on potty training quite quickly.
The differentiating factor between a BYB and an ethical breeder is what happens after you buy their dog. Are they still there to support you? Would they be willing to take the dog back years after they sold you their dog if there was a reason you could no longer care for your dog? Would they move heaven and earth to locate one of the dogs they bred who were surrendered to a shelter?
Just because you've heard of a handful of people on the internet with a positive experience with a breeder doesn't necessarily mean that they are an ethical, reputable breeder. Please do your own due diligence and check OFA results! If you choose to move forward with another Eurasier breeder, absolutely no hard feelings, but I'd be more than happy to recommend other Eurasier breeders who I know to be responsible, ethical breeders.