How to Distinguish a Real Breeder from a Puppy Mill

It is no secret that Puppy Mills, and pet stores, horribly mistreat dogs, breeding them in terrible conditions. The informed consumer would never intentionally put money in the pocket of people who put profit over the health and happiness of a puppy – but puppy mills thrive specifically because they make it hard to tell that their dogs have been mistreated. Even the most informed buyer could potentially make the mistake of buying a dog from one of these psychopaths. So how can YOU make sure your breeder is the real deal?

  1. Not Selling Puppies Year-Round

If someone is selling dogs year-round, that means they are breeding dogs year-round. People who breed dogs constantly are often using the same mother, forcing them to give birth multiple times a year, which is extremely unhealthy. A dog should only give birth at a maximum of once a year, and up to three times during their lifetime. Any organization selling puppies constantly is likely doing so by endangering the welfare of their dogs.

  1. On-site Visits

Not letting someone see their kennel is a HUGE red flag, for obvious reasons: If someone won’t let you see where they are breeding their dogs, they are hiding the conditions in which those dogs are bred… because those conditions are, pardon our French, absolute crap.

  1. Who is Your Veterinarian?

Any legitimate breeder will have a veterinarian – because in even the best conditions, dogs do get sick. Dogs need vaccinations, and checkups, especially during their first year. How could someone breed dogs without making sure they are healthy? By not caring whether they are healthy, that’s how.

  1. Number of Breeds

There’s no way a single breeder could accommodate five or six different breeds, including the different breed standards and needs of each individual breed. If a dog breeder is offering nine different dog breeds, run far, far away (after calling the authorities)

  1. Expert Referrals

If a breeder is the real deal, many people will have positive things to say about them. Most importantly, experts in the dog industry, including veterinarians, parent organizations, and others, will vouch for them. Expert referrals can be hard to get, which is why the Puppy Project exists. Our experts inspect every breeder that wants to list with us thoroughly, according to the specific requirements of their breed. A Puppy Project certification is the best guarantee that you are buying a happy, healthy puppy that has been treated with love and care.

What’s The Puppy Project?

The Puppy Project was created by a group of people passionate about one goal: improving the lives of dogs. They knew that Puppy Mills and other bad actors were selling mistreated, sickly dogs, to unsuspecting customers everywhere, while cutting breeders who treated dogs properly completely out of the market. The Puppy Project fixes both problems: It connects YOU with breeders experts have inspected. This protects dog owners, dog breeders, and dogs themselves – winning for everyone.

Put simply, the Puppy Project works because it brings standards into the pet markets that were previously exploited like the Wild West, to the detriment of honest consumers and businesses. By guaranteeing the quality of your breeder, and the health of your new dog, we accomplish several goals:


1. We make sure only honest dog breeders make a profit – no more profits for those who exploit helpless puppies!

2. We save you thousands in future veterinary bills. When you buy a puppy from a pet store, you are buying a puppy that has health issues only the most trained of eyes can see. The average customer can’t always go see how their new dog was raised – by doing it for you, you get a healthy dog – guaranteed.

3. We end the mistreatment of dogs, and the scourge of Puppy Mills.


Because let’s face it: If there is an accessible, better option, nobody would put money in the pockets of Puppy Mills. The Puppy Project connects customers to those better options, ending the reign of  the merchants of evil who hurt dogs and people alike.