1. You need to go inspect the facility to make sure this isn't a puppy mill.
2. Get her name and search the Better Business Bureau for both her business and herself.
3. Check with the USDA to see if she's had any infractions.
4. Ask for references
5. Inquire as to how many dogs she has on site, how many litters is she having a year?
When you arrive at the breeders home/kennel there are some things you should look for and expect:
Healthy adult dogs should be available for you to see.
Watch the interaction between the breeder and the adult dogs as well as the puppies. Do they come to greet you or hang back and act afraid.
Are the puppies in good shape. Watch for thin bodies, discharge from eyes/nose, diarrhea or stained fur around the rectum. Are they dirty, are they running through their own messes or does their "living" area provide a place for them to do their business away from their food, bedding and toys.
Are the puppies’ friendly and happy, tails wagging? Are there a variety of toys available to them?
Are the facilities clean and well maintained, lots of room inside and out for the dogs to play and have exercise for the adults and the puppies.
Fresh water and high quality food available.
Will you be provided with a bill of sale and written health guarantee?
The breeder should be asking you questions as well regarding your ability to care and provide for a puppy.
Ask to see references but you should also be able to be provided with a name/phone number/email of someone you can make personal contact with to ask questions of if you want. A reputable breeder will have no problem with this, neither will their customers as they are usually quite happy to talk about and show off their dogs!
Also very important – is the breeder available to you after you take your puppy home for general questions or training help? This can be done via phone, email, depending on the distance.
Things to Avoid When Choosing a Breeder
Stay away from breeders that are reluctant to answer questions directly or make you feel like you’re asking too many questions. A good breeder should be available for any and all questions no matter how much time it takes. They will want to help you decide if this is the puppy for you.
Walk away if they won’t allow you to view their facilities or see their adult dogs.
Walk away if the puppies are “brought out” to you and you can’t see where they spend their time or their living conditions.
Walk away if the facilities are unclean, overcrowded or the dogs are kept isolated. Does their outside area provide lots of room for play and running; is it clean?
Walk away if the adult dogs are unapproachable and slink away, they may act like they are not used to people or being handled.
And if you can’t be given references or a written health guarantee Walk Away.