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How Do I Verify a Dog Breeder in Australia?

Written By Olivia De Santos | Canine Coach, Professional Writer & Video Content Creator.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | Double B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 10th March 2024

If you’re looking to buy a puppy and you’re wondering “How do I verify a breeder in Australia”, look no further!

To verify a breeder in Australia you need to:

  • Check breed-specific organisations
  • Research with online breeder databases
  • Interview the breeder
  • Visit the breeder in person
  • Ask for references

In this article, we’ll also discuss the big red flags to look out for when buying a puppy from a breeder.

Read on to learn more!

How Do I Find a Responsible Breeder in Australia?

As always, prevention is the best cure! Spending time looking for the most reputable breeders will make this process far easier and will lower the chance that you’ll accidentally buy from a puppy factory.

So let’s look at how to find a good breeder in Australia.

1. Check breed-specific organisations

For certain breeds, there may be dedicated breed clubs or associations in Australia. And unfortunately, very few people use these resources to find their new puppies.

“According to the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA), around 450,000 puppies are sold in Australia each year. Only around 15% of puppies are sold through breeders registered with Australia’s peak companion animal breeding associations.” – Animals Australia (1)

But here’s the thing. If you go to breed associations and clubs first, you’re more likely to find a responsible breeder who sells healthy, happy pups.

Breed-specific clubs are passionate about preserving and promoting their chosen breed, so they can be a valuable resource in your search for a reputable breeder.

Related: Where To Buy a Dog in Australia.

These organisations often have breeder directories or have an active community of dog lovers that will point you in the right direction.

Note: Bear in mind that there are fewer breed clubs for mixed breeds (like Labradoodles and Cockapoos) so the next two tips might be more helpful.

2. Ask friends and family

If one of your friends recently bought a gorgeous puppy, ask them about their breeder.

Having first-hand accounts of breeders in your area is so helpful. Your friends and family may share their experiences with breeders and help you narrow down your options.

Related: Private Home to Home Dog Adoption: What You Should Know.

Even if your loved ones haven’t bought a puppy recently, they still might be helpful with breeder recommendations. Everyone knows someone who has recently bought a dog. So it could be a friend of a friend that ultimately connects you with the perfect responsible breeder.

3. Research on social media (with caution)

Finally, you can research breeders on social media and Google.

Reputable breeders often maintain informative websites with details about their breeding practices, the health of their dogs, and their commitment to responsible breeding. They should also display their breeder ID number (which we’ll talk about in the next section) and any affiliations to breed organisations either nationally or locally.

Also, consider joining online pet forums and social media groups dedicated to your chosen dog breed. Many experienced pet owners are happy to share their insights and recommendations in your area.

But there’s a catch. While it’s true that breeders without a professional presence online can be suspicious, puppy mills are getting increasingly sophisticated these days. So even the sleekest websites and enticing social media presences can be a front for shady dealings behind the scenes.

So regardless of which methods you choose to find your shortlist of breeders, you’ll need to verify them before going through with the purchase of your puppy.

Let’s talk about that now.

How Do I Verify a Breeder in Australia?

Here are the best ways to verify a breeder in Australia. I recommend doing a combination of all of them to ensure that you are purchasing a puppy from a responsible business.

1. Research with online breeder databases

In Australia, breeders may be required to obtain licenses and registrations, depending on the state or territory in which they operate.

You’ll have to check the local government laws in your state to see what the breeder requirements are, as unfortunately, there isn’t a nationwide standard.

Here are some of the online databases you can use to verify if a dog breeder is registered:

Some government websites also have databases to help your research. For example, Queensland has a breeder supply number checker on the government website. South Australia has the Dogs and Cats Online website.

You can also check if the breeder is a member of breed clubs or associations, as these organisations often have codes of ethics that members must adhere to.

It’s important to note that even though a breeder may be registered, these government bodies don’t guarantee that the breeder is responsible.

You need to make sure the breeder is compliant with any local regulations.

The following tips will help you do that – keep reading!

2. Interview the breeder

When you have a shortlist of breeders you’re interested in, the next step is simple: talk to them!

This is your chance to ask important questions and get a sense of their commitment to the dogs they breed and sell.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • How long have you been breeding dogs?
  • Can you provide references from past buyers? (More on this later)
  • Do you perform health checks on your dogs?
  • Can you show me the living conditions of your dogs?
  • Are you involved in breed clubs or associations?
  • What aftercare do you provide for new pet parents?

A responsible breeder should be transparent and willing to answer all your questions.

They should also ask you plenty of questions about your suitability as a new puppy parent. This is because reputable breeders care deeply about their puppies and want to make sure their little ones have a good life.

3. Visit the breeder in person

It’s essential that you see the breeder’s location.

Many puppy farms go unchecked because they will insist that they deliver the puppy to you or meet in another location. (2)

If you don’t get to meet the parents or see their living conditions. Huge red flag!

Seeing the living conditions of the puppies and their parents can tell you a lot about the breeder's commitment to their wellbeing.

Pay attention to the cleanliness of the facilities and the dogs' overall health and happiness.

Trust your instincts, and if something doesn't seem right, don't buy from that breeder!

4. Ask for references

Reputable breeders should be able to provide references from past buyers and won’t be offended that you asked.

If the breeder has a good social media presence with success stories, you can reach out to those owners to ask about their experience.

Speaking to previous clients can give you valuable insights into the breeder's reputation and the quality of their dogs.

Ask about their dog’s temperament and health.

I also recommend asking about the overall experience of purchasing from the breeder. Was the breeder communicative, organised, caring and professional? All very important to know!

5. Trust your gut

Ultimately, your intuition can be a valuable guide in your search for a reputable breeder.

Even if everything seems okay, you don’t want to buy a puppy from someone you feel uneasy about.

If something doesn't feel right or you have doubts about a breeder, it's better to walk away and continue your search elsewhere.

Related: What To Expect When Adopting a Senior Dog.

Of course, there are some concrete red flags you should look out for.

Let’s talk about them in the next section.

How Do I Avoid Puppy Farms?

Puppy farms (also known as puppy factories or puppy mills) are businesses that unsustainably breed puppies for sale.

This often involves keeping puppies and their parents in unsanitary conditions, inbreeding, and overbreeding.

Basically, these places prioritise profit over the wellbeing of the dogs in their care.

Puppies from such puppy farms may suffer from health issues and behavioural problems, because they may not have received proper care or socialisation.

Red flags that you might be dealing with a puppy farm include:

  • Poor living conditions for the dogs or an unwillingness to show you their living conditions
  • An unwillingness to answer your questions or provide references
  • Multiple litters available at the same time
  • Inadequate health checks and vaccinations for the dogs
  • Lack of a clear contract or health guarantee

If you notice any of these signs, don’t give them your business. Also, consider reporting them to the local council for investigation. It’s only by reporting puppy farms that we can crack down on the number of them in Australia.

Tip: Puppy farms are most common for “designer” breeds. So be extra careful to verify the breeder before buying from them.

My Final Thoughts

In conclusion, plenty of resources are out there to help you verify a breeder in Australia. But ultimately, you’ll need to do some of the work by meeting the breeder and seeing their establishment with your own eyes.

Make sure that their dogs are happy and healthy before doing business with any breeder, regardless of where you got their name from! This will ensure that you take home a lovely puppy and support a responsible breeding business.


How do I check if a dog breeder is licensed?

To check if a dog breeder is licensed in Australia, you can use one of the following websites:

Some state governments have breeder checkers too like Queensland and South Australia.

All you need is the breeder’s name and/or 3-4 digit ADBC registration number. Some websites will also require the breeder’s mobile number. The website will then search the database to verify if the breeder is licensed.


  1. “How big is the puppy factory problem?”. Animals Australia. March 29, 2015. Retrieved November 19, 2023.
  2. “Puppy farms”. RSPCA Australia. Retrieved November 19, 2023.

Olivia De Santos

Olivia De Santos is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach, Professional Writer and Video Content Creator.

Olivia has over 10 years of experience writing professionally and is a dog Mum to Pip, her Podengo and Blue, her Flat-coated Retriever. She loves writing pieces to help people to be better dog owners.

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