Ironpride Alaskan Malamutes

Canadian Kennel Club

Puppy Mills

What are puppy mills and how do you detect them?

The Canadian Kennel Club Policy Statement – Definition of a Puppy Mill
 (Effective March 2002)

"The term “Puppy Mill” generally refers to a high-volume, sub-standard dog-breeding operation, which sells purebred or mixed breed dogs, directly or indirectly to unsuspecting buyers. Some of the characteristics common to puppy mills are:
(a) Sub-standard health and/or environmental issues;
(b) Sub-standard animal care, treatment and/or socialization;
(c) Sub-standard breeding practices which lead to genetic defects or hereditary disorders;
(d) Erroneous or falsified certificates of registration, pedigrees and/or genetic background.


Note: These conditions may also exist in small volume or single breed establishments."


They sell primarily to retail pet shops (usually via a broker), but occasionally sell directly to individual consumers. Dogs are bred solely for profit, with no concern for their physical health or psychological well-being - most are disease-ridden; all are force-bred continuously.  They often use "Kennels" or "Farms" in its business name. Dogs' and puppies' are usually in squalid living conditions and are off-limits to the public.


If you think you have been to a mill or have seen substandard conditions at a breeders establishment please call your local SPCA/Humane Society IMMEDIATELY to report what you saw.  Only witnessed accounts can be reported.

Puppy mills typically are recognizable by several characteristics, that when compiled, provide a very suspicious picture.  Here are a few things to look for: 

  • Those who breed for the sole purpose of producing a profit 
  • Those who breed multiple breeds 
  • Those who cannot provide references of happy families and their dogs 
  • Those who cannot provide detailed information on their dogs' temperaments, health, bloodlines etc. 
  • Those who do not provide a health guarantee with the purchase of your pup 
  • Those who have no interest in staying in contact with you regarding your dogs' development 
  • Those uninterested in answering any and all questions honestly and in a timely manner 
  • Those who do not make the parents available for viewing along with the litter mates to your puppy 
  • Those who do not provide up to date vaccine and health records for your pup 
  • Those who are only interested in making the sale and not the quality of the home
  • Those who do not register their dogs with either the CKC, AKC, or international Kennel Club
  • Those who do not microchip or tattoo their puppies, which is required for registration purposes
  • Those who only care about the appearance of the dog and don't put any stock into producing sound temperaments
  • Those who sell to pet stores, brokers, or third parties
  • Those selling ill or uncared for puppies

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Beware of breeders who may call another kennel or breeder a puppy mill, and give you "facts" about those kennels.  Not always is this information true, or accurate.  A respectable breeder would not slander, or otherwise defame another breeder as it goes against the CKC By-laws and Code of Ethics.  Some breeders will tell you anything and try to put down another kennel who they consider competition, or don't like for personal reasons - always do your research and visit the kennel in person to meet the breeder.  When in doubt, go with your gut!  If you get a bad feeling, walk away.  

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Below you will find photos, and links to websites with more information regarding puppy mills. 
CAUTION - Some images are graphic and should not be viewed by young children.

The Humane Society of the United States - Video about Puppy Mills: 


YouTube - Here you will find a list of videos regarding puppy mills.  Some videos are VERY graphic:


Types of Breeders - Courtesy of the GSDCA: