Crainglist and Breeders

9 Things to Know About a Craigslist Breeder Before Buying a Puppy


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December 9, 2013


Please sign this petition to encourage Craigslist to stop allowing Free to Good Home ads.


Buying a dog through Craigslist sounds like a terrible idea.  You don’t know where these dogs are coming from, you don’t know their history, and you don’t know if you can trust the people who are selling (rehoming) the dog.  But you have the same challenge when you rescue.

Or do you?

When I look back to the four dogs we’ve adopted, we had health histories (limited, but they were there), we were able to talk personalities and behavior with the rescue group or foster family, and (in the case of Sydney and Rodrigo) we had background on their mother.

This is why I think adopting from a reputable rescue group or shelter is a better idea than buying a puppy from a Craigslist breeder.

Whenever I see “free to good home” or “puppies for Christmas” ads on Craigslist, I get so frustrated.  And then I remembered (how could I have forgotten) that I got Cosmo (our tabby) from Craigslist and he’s a happy, healthy cat.  So before I knock Craigslist, I needed to find others who had positive experiences finding a dog through Craigslist.

Hearing positive stories from friends or reading them online can give us a false sense of security about the safety of working with a Craigslist breeder.  Seeing picture after picture of adorable puppies can also make us forget the dangers of working with an unknown breeder.


Check out this great article on about finding a dog through Craigslist.


So, I did a little investigation and contacted several Craigslist breeders to get an idea of what to expect.  Here is a list of things to look for (or ask about) when speaking with a Craigslist breeder if you find yourself browsing and responding to the puppy ads this holiday season…

Only look at ads where you can visit the property, meet the family, the dogs, and the puppies.  If someone is only willing to you in a parking lot, then move on, because you’re missing out on so much information by not seeing where the dogs and puppies are being raised.  Although I can appreciate that someone doesn’t want strangers on their property, someone refusing to allow me to visit where the dogs live and meet the parents makes me nervous.

What’s the personality of the parents and puppies?  The reputable breeders I know can talk for hours about each of their dogs and dogs past.  They can point to each puppy and tell you which are passive, which are more playful, and which are the tricksters.  In my opinion, a breed should be able to look at you, your lifestyle, and what you want in a dog and match you with the right puppy.

Can you have copies of the veterinarian records (and possibly speak with their vet)? If a Craigslist breeder isn’t taking their puppies in for their regular check ups, this is a red flag.  If you get the records or get to chat with the veterinarian, ask about the vaccination dates, when they were wormed, and if their eyes and hips were tested (or other common tests performed by reputable breeders).  And request documentation that you can give to your veterinarian.

Have the adult dogs had any health issues?  With our dogs, we look to the breed to find out what common health issues they may experience, because we don’t know their parents’ medical history.  You can also speak with their veterinarian about the parents’ medical history.

How many times do they breed their female? How old was she when she had her first litter?  Because I’m not a breeder, I won’t discuss what breeders Should do, but I will share my concerns, which is based on what I’ve learned through others, including reputable dog breeders.  A female shouldn’t be bred more than 1x a year.  There are breeders who will do an initial back to back breeding and then allow their female to rest for 1 year or more.  Were I to speak with a Craigslist breeder who constantly has litters, I would walk away.

Have complaints been lodged to Animal Control?  When we went to visit our very first eBay breeder, an Animal Control officer was inspecting the property after several complaints were made.  There are people who are anti-breeder and should one move into the neighborhood, Animal Control will be called, but it is a red flag.  You can also Google the name of the breeder to find more information.  I found pages and pages of complaints about a breeder who is currently posing as a rescue on

Ask for the puppy’s AKC registration papers.  If the puppy is mixed breed, then I don’t think this is a reputable breeder nor do I believe that they can be registered with the AKC, although one breeder assured me that they could be registered.  Also take some time and do your homework on the breeds being mixed and the purpose of this mixture.  We met (online) ranchers who mixed Australian Cattle Dog and Australian Shepherd for high energy, strong herding, and passionate agility dogs.  If you don’t lead an active life, then this mixture can be an epic fail.

Why are they breeding their dogs?  Is this just an accidental litter due to poor timing with getting their male and female fixed or are they trying to start a breeding business.  Now this isn’t a judgment against new breeders, but I think that it’s important for us to know their motivation.  I met a family this summer who were breeding to make ends meet – their dogs were sickly and weren’t the best representation of a mini Australian Shepherd, but they planned to breed anyway.  The need for an extra income was causing them to skip steps that would help them produce a strong line.

Will they take the puppy back if it doesn’t work out?  A reputable breeder will take a puppy back after a week, a month, a year, or 10 years.  Will this Craigslist breeder do the same?  I’ve seen ads where people are trying to rehome a puppy, because the breeder refused their calls or to take the puppy back; I’m not sure how legitimate these ads are, but it did raise a concern.

If someone refuses to answer your questions, they aren’t a reputable breeder.  Personally, I don’t believe that a reputable breeder would advertise their puppies online.  I know several local breeders and they have a waiting list for their litters and puppies not claimed pre-birth, find a new home quickly.  But after 2 years of being a pet blogger, I’m finally learning that not everything is black and white and it’s best to share information than expect people to take your word for it (I have been wrong many times).

This is a Blog Hop where fellow bloggers are sharing their thoughts and experience with Craigslist and Pets…

This article was originally posted and shared by Keep The Tail Wagging