Educational Consumer Tips

Dog Breeder Scam

Author: Better Business Bureau

Both the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the BBB have recently received a number of reports from consumers throughout the nation who have lost money after responding to online or newspaper classified advertising.

Commonly, the advertiser —posing as a breeder—will place an ad offering free or inexpensive puppies. Communicating solely through emails, the "breeder" may claim that he/she is affiliated with a religious organization and/or is being relocated to a foreign country and needs find a new home for the puppies.

The AKC and BBB offer the following advice:

Do your research. 

Ask if the breeder is a member of an AKC-affiliated club and contact that club to verify membership or check recent listings of available AKC Litters from breeders at: You can also check with the BBB ( and the AKC (919-233-9767) to see if there are any complaints about the breeder. Request references and speak to other people who have purchased dogs from this breeder—especially if the breeder does not live near you.

Beware of breeders who seem overly concerned with getting paid. 
Any reputable breeder will be far more concerned with the appropriateness of the potential pet home than what and when they are getting paid. Make sure you have clear expectations – ideally in writing – of how and when the pup will be paid for. Be especially wary of any breeder who insists that you wire money and who calls to ask for more money to be wired to cover last minute shipping fees.

Don’t be fooled by a slick website. 
Unscrupulous breeders and even outright scams can be represented by professional-looking websites that lure you in with fraudulent pictures of adorable puppies. At the very least speak with the breeder on the telephone and ideally meet the breeder, the puppy and the dam in person. If you locate a breeder online, never send money without checking their references and credentials first. The AKC recommends that you first contact the national organization for the breed (Parent Club). It is essential to visit the breeder at their home to see the entire litter and the care and conditions given to the puppies prior to purchasing.

Take your time. 
Beware of breeders who claim to have multiple breeds ready to ship immediately. It’s highly unlikely that your perfect puppy will be available for shipping on the very day you call. Gestation and socialization of a litter takes months -- no puppy should be separated from the dam before 8 weeks of age.

Report a scam.
Anyone who has experienced a dog-related scam should report it to their local authorities as well as their local BBB ( to file a complaint. Consumers can also direct questions and concerns to AKC Customer Service at 919-233-9767, or e-mail

For more information, contact: 

Better Business Bureau 
(800) 828-5000 

This report is general in nature, and is not a Business Review on any particular company, product or service.