DiscoverDog Cancer AnswersHow to Choose a Dog Breeder | Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM Deep Dive
How to Choose a Dog Breeder | Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM Deep Dive

How to Choose a Dog Breeder | Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM Deep Dive

Update: 2021-10-18


Dr. Jerry Klein, the Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club, joins us today to discuss things to look for when choosing a breeder to increase the odds of having a healthy puppy. All dogs can carry genes for health problems, so health testing is critical for dogs of any breed or mix that are being bred.

If seeking a purebred dog, visit the AKC “parent club” website for that breed to learn about common health concerns in the breed and find resources to connect you to a breeder or a breed rescue group. The Canine Health Information Center is another resource to learn about genetic testing recommended for a particular breed.

Whether the puppies will be purebred or not or show quality or not, anyone breeding a litter should be making an effort to produce healthy puppies and ensure that they are going to good homes. No one can guarantee that a puppy will not get cancer, but there are things you can do to decrease risk. Things to look for include:

  • Health testing results from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), Penn HIP, and/or Embark – these are not just for purebreds!

  • Asking questions about you that show their dedication to the breed and their puppies

  • Referring to another breeder if they don’t have a puppy available

  • Willing to let you meet the parents and relatives

  • Clean property and home or facility

  • Records on longevity and health

  • Stays in touch with puppy owners

  • Transparency about health issues

  • Parents at least 2 years old (physically mature and minimum age for many health tests)

  • Good nutrition for puppies

  • Parasite prevention

  • Socialization for puppies

  • Involved with their breed(s) for a while

In case you have wondered, the AKC is primarily a registry – they track registered dogs and hold dog shows. It is a “club of clubs.” The AKC does not control specifics of each breed – that is up to the parent or national clubs, each made up of people passionate about and dedicated to their breed.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Show:

American Kennel Club

AKC Breeder of Merit Program

Canine Health Foundation

Canine Health Information Center


Orthopedic Foundation for Animals


Related Links:

AKC Parent Club List

About Today’s Guest, Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer of AKC:

Dr. Klein brings with him over 35 years of experience in the Veterinary field. He is an active member of several professional organizations including the American Veterinary Medical Association, Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, the Veterinary Emergency & past member of Critical Care Society, as well as The Afghan Hound Club of America and Fox Terrier Club of Chicago. Dr. Klein has also been a licensed judge for The American Kennel Club for 30 years, judging on both the national and international levels. If you have questions, you can reach Dr. Klein at

Other Links:

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Dog Cancer Answers is a Maui Media production in association with Dog Podcast Network

This episode is sponsored by the best-selling animal health book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity by Dr. Demian Dressler and Dr. Susan Ettinger. Available everywhere fine books are sold.

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How to Choose a Dog Breeder | Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM Deep Dive

How to Choose a Dog Breeder | Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM Deep Dive

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