This is a great question. Websites can be very deceptive, and folks who want a pet Frenchie but have no background in the breed can be easily tempted by flashy sites and cute puppy pictures! Here’s a list of red flags to watch for when you are looking at a website:
Puppy Miller/ Backyard Breeder/Dog Broker website RED flags
(If two or three of the red flags below appear during your puppy-seeking process, whether on the website or during discussions with the breeder…RUN!)
1. If they accept PayPal or credit cards online on their website…..RUN!
2. If they demand a non-refundable deposit from you……RUN!
3. If they do not proudly show photos and pedigrees of their dogs on their site…….RUN!
4. If they do not do any health testing of their dogs……..RUN!
5. If they show pictures of scared, skinny, little, pathetic-looking puppies……RUN!
6. If they can not, or are unwilling to provide veterinary or puppy purchaser references for you…….RUN!
7. If they do not offer a health guarantee that covers the health of that puppy for at least one year………RUN!
8. If they do not belong to any dog clubs, breed organizations, etc……RUN!
9. If they try to pressure you to buy a puppy in any way…………RUN!
10. If they don’t show their dogs in any true dog sport activities (conformation, obedience, etc.)….RUN!
11. If they say they will ship “WORLDWIDE” anywhere, at any time………RUN!
12. If they don’t question you as thoroughly as if you were adopting a human infant………RUN!
13. If they have many dogs available at all times, and also many other breeds of dogs for sale on their website……RUN!
14. If they are offended when you ask them about any of the above mentioned items….RUN!
Now that you know what the red flags are, you can go to the French Bulldog Club of America website and check out the list of breeders who belong to the national club. There might be someone near you who will be willing to talk to you about French bulldogs and their special needs and limitations. Do not expect to be able to buy a puppy this week, next month or off the shelf for a Christmas present! French bulldogs are, unfortunately, the latest trendy dog in a long and shifting history of trendy breeds. If you are serious about wanting a healthy, well bred, even-tempered companion you should be prepared to wait several months, and if you are hoping for a dog from a specific breeder, perhaps longer. It is unlikely that you will experience instant gratification as you search for your Frenchie. Purchase in haste, repent (and pay vet bills, behaviorist bills, and trainer bills) in leisure. Whatever you do, resist the impulse to buy a French bulldog from a pet store! Pet stores are “stocked” by puppy mills and backyard breeders whose first concern is profit, not health, not temperament, and not the well-being of the breeding “stock.”