How to Find a Reputable Pug Breeder (and not get puppy scammed!)

Here's a guide to finding a breeder and knowing what to ask them, and how to avoid puppy scams - they're more common than you think!

So, you want a pug puppy!

There are many steps to take before you bring home your new furry pal. Your decision to get a pug puppy is only the beginning. Next comes research, contacting breeders and lots of questions. 

Here’s a guide to finding a breeder and knowing what to ask them. You’ll also learn how to spot and avoid puppy scams – they’re more common than you think!

Related: 10 Fun Facts About Pugs

Here's a guide to finding a breeder and knowing what to ask them, and how to avoid puppy scams - they're more common than you think!

Before You Start

Before you start looking for breeders there are a few things you should do to improve your experience. 

  1. Learn about pugs – Read about the breed and make sure they’re the right one for you.
  2. Understand breed standards – Not all pugs are created equal. Some are show quality and bred to match breed standards, while others may be off on a few aesthetic details. 
  3.  Have patience – The process of finding a breeder, waiting for a litter and bringing your puppy home can take months! Be patient, but don’t worry – pugs are worth the wait. 

How To Find Breeders

Finding breeders to reach out to is step one. There are a number of ways of find reputable breeders:

  • Reach out to friends – Have a friend or acquaintance with a pug? Reach out to them about their experience and breeder info. 
  • Use Social Media – Have a favorite pug you follow on Facebook or Instagram? Slide into their DMs and ask about their breeder. 
  • Attend a dog show – Where there’s a dog show there are breeders. Attend one to get the low down on litters. 
  • Check the dog breed club – Check out the Pug Dog Club of America and/or your local pug club to find a list of breeders. 
  •  American Kennel Club – The AKC marketplace lists 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders. 

Related: How to Adopt a Pug

Questions To Ask A Breeder

Never agree to get a puppy from a breeder based on photos or an ad alone. Be prepared to do your research and ask lots of questions. If a breeder refuses to answer or gives the wrong information, it’s a big red flag (see below for more on red flags), and you should consider moving on. 

Here are questions you should be prepared to ask:

  1. What requirements do you have of people looking to take home one of your puppies? Breeders should be as interested in you as you are in them. They should ask about you, your family and your household. 
  2. Can I meet the parents? Breeders should always be able to provide information and photos of their puppies’ parents, and allow you to meet them. Plus, seeing the parents will give you an idea of what their puppies will be like (both temperament and in terms of looks). 
  3. Have health tests been performed on the parents? This will ensure both parents are healthy and free of genetic diseases common to the pug breed. 
  4. How long have you been breeding and what is your experience with this breed? Breeders should have a deep understanding of the breed and a history that includes either showing dogs or being part of a breed club. 
  5. How do you socialize your puppies? Puppies should be well socialized in a home environment so they grow to be well-adjusted dogs. 
  6. When will I be able to take the puppy home? Responsible breeders will not allow puppies to be taken home until they are at least eight weeks old. 
  7. Do you provide a health guarantee and a contract? Puppies should be up-to-date on vaccinations and come with a health guarantee and contract for you to sign. Many breeders will also require you to agree to spay or neuter the dog, unless you plan to show them. 
  8. Is there a “welcome back” program? A breeder should welcome back any dog that you can no longer care for. 
  9. Can we speak to references and your vet? The breeder should be willing to provide references from others who have purchased their puppies, as well as the contact information for their veterinarian.  
  10. Are you available as a resource after I take the puppy home? Breeders interest in their puppies doesn’t end when they leave. They should provide care instructions and be available as a resource. 

Reputable Breeder Checklist 

✔︎ Breeder provides access to their home, with a dog environment that is clean and safe. 

✔︎ Breeder is able to provide full history and details for the puppies’ parents and extended family. 

✔︎ Breeder has done genetic testing to ensure their dam and sire (mom and dad dogs) are healthy. 

✔︎ Has a Welcome Back Program, in case you want or need to return the dog at any time. 

✔︎ Will provide references and contact information of past buyers and veterinarian. 

✔︎ Will ask you as many questions as you ask them. Reputable breeders are interested in you, your family and your household. 

✔︎ The breeder plans to stay in communication after you purchase the puppy as a resource with support and advice.  

✔︎ You must pick up your new dog – breeder will not ship. 

✔︎ Allows you to pay with a credit card. 

Puppy Scams

Puppy scams are rampant all across the internet. People claim to be selling a healthy puppy, buyer pays, and the “breeder” either disappears or delivers a different or unhealthy puppy. In many cases, the puppy advertised never even existed. 

According to the Better Business Bureau, 3.6% of online puppy scams target people wanting pugs.

Here's a guide to finding a breeder and knowing what to ask them, and how to avoid puppy scams - they're more common than you think!

©bbb.org

These scams are incredibly popular because it’s easy to prey on wide-eyed people with puppy fever. But you don’t want to lose your money, or worse, end up with a sick puppy. You can learn ways to avoid puppy scams by checking for the following breeder red flags. 

Breeder Red Flags

If you pay attention, you can avoid puppy scams and backyard breeders. If they do any of the following things, run the other way.  

Here are some common red flags to look out for when choosing a breeder:

Bad payment options – The breeder asks for payment via wire transfer, prepaid debit card, gift cards or Wester Union. It’s preferable to pay with a check or credit card. 

ⅹ Zero questions – A responsible breeder should be as interested in you as you are in them. If the breeder does not ask you any questions about yourself, your family or your household, there’s a problem. 

Bad communication – The breeder insists on communicating via email, and either “can’t” or won’t speak on the phone. 

Copycat photos and/or website – Do a reverse image search of photos of the puppy the breeder provides. If you find other copies of the same photo online, it’s a fake. 

Will ship puppies worldwide – A responsible breeder will never ship a puppy.

Show quality – If a breeder sells show quality puppies, they should also be involved in showing dogs – ask for proof! 

No home visits – The breeder won’t allow you or will discourage you from visiting their home. 

No Contract and/or Welcome Back program – Reputable breeders always have a contract and a Welcome Back program in place for dogs that need to be returned. 

No Dog Club – The breeder does not participate in any breed clubs or registries. 

Multiple breeds – The breeder is selling puppies from multiple breeds. 

Parent info – The breeder refuses to provide photos and information about the dog parents, including health records, names and photographs. 

Too good to be true – If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Should I buy a pug puppy at a pet store?

Absolutely not. 

Pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills. 

A puppy mill is a commercial dog breeding facility that keeps dogs in cruel and unsafe conditions. 

Remember those sad dog commercials with the Sarah McLaughlin music? Those are puppy mills.

There are an estimated 10,000 puppy mills in the United States. All they care about is money and churning out puppies. Dogs are kept in horrid conditions, receive no veterinary care, and are often sick and underfed. They’re not socialized or exercised, and they receive no love. 

Most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. 

Don’t support this abusive industry and stick to rescues and reputable breeders. 

Now you’re ready to get your pug puppy! Congratulations!

Click here to learn more about pug stuff.


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Here's a guide to finding a breeder and knowing what to ask them, and how to avoid puppy scams - they're more common than you think!

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