Don't Check References
That's right, I said don't bother checking references.
A lot of "how to select a puppy" guides tell you, "Ask the breeder for references, so you can talk to other people who've dealt with them."
I mean, come on, now!
Does anyone seriously expect a breeder is going to put you in contact with someone who had a bad experience?
More importantly, it's easy for an unscrupulous breeder to come up with a fistful of glowing references. Take that outfit I pointed out on the last page- the one who sold puppies with broken bones, mange, kennel cough, and intestinal viruses. Among the horror stories, there's also this message:
I was sooooo surprised to come across such a negative review of this dog breeder!!! We too bought a puppy from this couple and have never been happier! Our puppy is a fat, healthy, little puppy full of energy. I couldn't ask for a better dog or a better buying experience! I'm really shocked to hear that someone else had a poor experience because I've sent other people to her too for other breeds and we've all been very pleased!!
Okay, since this showed up on the Net, first you have to ask yourself some questions:
Did the glowing testimonial come from the breeder herself, posting under a false name?
Was it written by the breeder's best friend?
Or is this a genuine happy customer?
And if the answer is that the message really does come from a satisfied customer... so what?
All that means is that this particular person had a good experience with this breeder. But what does that prove? Even the worst puppy mill is going to sell some dogs who turn out okay, and their owners are going to love them dearly, and these people will have warm feelings about the place they got their dog, and write back to say how happy they are...
...you get the picture. References tell you nothing.
Well, let me amend that. There's one reference worth checking, and as far as I'm concerned, it's the key to finding a good breeder.
Next: The Most Important Question