Are Backyard Breeders Illegal? (Explained)

While backyard breeding can be a controversial topic, the legality of the practice varies depending on location and circumstances.

In this article, we’ll clarify the factors that determine whether backyard breeding is illegal in your area and provide insights into the regulations that govern this activity.

We’ll also discuss the importance of understanding and adhering to local laws for other backyard activities, such as shooting in your backyard or hosting a yard sale. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to be a responsible backyard enthusiast and avoid potential legal issues.

Puppies for Profit: Investigation into illegal backyard breeder
Backyard breeding is legal in some areas, but it can have negative consequences for animal welfare and public health.
Many backyard breeders do not follow proper breeding practices, leading to the production of unhealthy animals.
Adopting from a reputable source is the best way to ensure that you are getting a healthy and well-cared-for pet.
Regulating backyard breeding can be difficult, but measures such as licensing and inspection can help ensure that animals are being treated properly.

What Is A Backyard Breeder?

A backyard breeder is someone who breeds dogs without a license or inspections. They might be breeding in the backyard, garage, shed, barn or warehouse.

What’s So Bad About Backyard Breeders?

Though backyard breeders are not illegal, they can be a threat to the health of your dog. A responsible breeder evaluates potential puppies and parents before breeding them, to ensure that their offspring have good genes and are healthy. 

Backyard breeders, on the other hand, don’t screen for any of this. Because of this lack of screening process, backyard-bred puppies may be prone to health issues as well as behavioral problems.

Because they’re from unhealthy bloodlines or have been brought up by unskilled owners who don’t know how to properly raise dogs

Backyard breeding may seem like a convenient option, but it can lead to serious health and behavioral issues for the animals involved. If you’re considering getting a pet, it’s important to adopt from a reputable source. Learn more about the impact of backyard breeding on animal welfare in our article on are backyard breeders bad.

Are Backyard Breeders Illegal?

Yes. Backyard breeders are not illegal, at least in the United States. Many states have laws against puppy mills, which are large-scale commercial dog breeding operations that don’t meet animal cruelty standards. 

For example, California’s law requires that animals be housed in a sanitary facility with sufficient space, clean water, and food for each animal as well as access to medical attention when needed (California Penal Code 597). 

This type of law isn’t typically enforced by police officers or humane society officials unless there is evidence that the breeder has violated it (such as unsanitary conditions).

No. Some states have laws against backyard breeders those who sell dogs from their homes or yards because they don’t meet health standards required by commercial establishments. 

For example: Massachusetts has passed legislation aimed at cracking down on “puppy mills;” it includes a provision requiring anyone selling more than two litters per year to register their kennel with the state Department of Agricultural Resources (MA Gen L ch 149§7B)

Do Backyard Breeders Sell Pets?

Backyard breeders don’t seem to be concerned with their dog’s health, temperament, or genetic makeup. They are only interested in producing more puppies. The breeding dogs they use are not screened for genetic defects or congenital diseases before they’re bred and sold. 

Backyard breeders don’t care if the puppy you buy will be healthy or have any problems later in life because they’ve already moved on to the next litter of puppies that need homes.

Raising animals in your backyard can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to choose the right animals and care for them properly. Our article on 11 animals that can be raised in the backyard provides a comprehensive guide to backyard animal farming, including tips on animal selection and care.

Why Are Backyard Breeders Bad?

Backyard breeders are bad for many reasons. First of all, they aren’t responsible pet owners. Backyard breeders often don’t have the means or knowledge to take care of their animals properly, which can lead to severe health problems for both the dogs and their puppies. 

Second, they don’t care about the health of their animals and puppies they only want to make a profit off of them and will not invest any money into proper vet care or testing, which is why so many dogs come with genetic defects like hip dysplasia or heart disease. 

Third and finally, backyard breeders don’t care about the health of their customers because they’re usually willing to sell sick puppies who will require expensive medical treatments later on in life (not to mention treating people like cash cows).

Last but not least (in case you missed it), backyard breeders often have no interest in preserving any kind of breed standard; instead, they just focus on making sure that both parents are physically able enough (which is why so many backyards bred dogs end up being unhealthy).

Pros and Cons of Backyard Breeding

Can provide a source of incomeCan lead to the production of unhealthy animals
May allow for more personal interaction with animalsMay contribute to overpopulation and homelessness
Can allow for a more hands-on approach to breedingCan be illegal and lead to fines or other penalties
Can provide an alternative to commercial breedingCan have negative impacts on animal welfare and public health

Where Do You Find Backyard Breeders?

Here are some places where you can find backyard breeders:

Online. There are plenty of websites that allow people to sell their pets, which means that these sites are also a good place to find backyard breeders. 

These sites don’t have the same rules as pet stores or breeders, so they can be used by anyone who wants to resell a pet without any questions asked.

Pet stores and breeders. You might be surprised to learn that many pet stores sell animals from backyard breeders these are called “backdoor.” 

Or “gray market” sources because their animals come from unlicensed breeders or shelters instead of being bred by the store itself (or by one of its licensed partners). 

Pet stores don’t always know where their animals come from, but if you suspect a store sells sickly animals from shady sources like these mills then avoid buying anything from them!

Online classifieds: Backyard breeding is often done on Craigslist and other online forums where people will post ads for puppies that they want to be sold quickly.

But don’t want anyone knowing where they came from (iowhen someone offers an animal for sale for far less than it should cost).

What Is A Puppy Mill?

A puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation that puts profit ahead of the welfare of the dogs, who are often treated as commodities and denied proper veterinary care and socialization. Puppy mills are not regulated by the U.S. 

Department of Agriculture, which means they don’t need to meet any standards when it comes to their treatment of animals or how they raise them. 

This leaves puppies born in puppy mills with little chance of living healthy lives once they leave their birth mothers since these facilities have been known to breed animals until they can no longer reproduce and then discard them like trash or even kill them.

Backyard chicken farming is not only a fun and rewarding hobby, but it also has positive environmental impacts. In our article on are backyard chickens good for the environment, we explore the ways in which backyard chickens can reduce food waste and provide natural pest control, among other benefits.

Are Backyard Breeders Good?

Are backyard breeders good? No. They are not regulated, they are not inspected, they are not regulated by the government and they are not monitored. They are also not accountable or responsible in any way. 

These people sell dogs and animals on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, and other websites where people can sell things like clothes and furniture. 

Backyard breeders never have any training in animal care or even basic health requirements for their pets; it’s just about making quick money for them at whatever cost.

Alternatives to Backyard Breeding

Adoption from a shelter or rescueProvides homes for animals in need and helps reduce overpopulation
Adoption from a reputable breederEnsures that animals are bred responsibly and are healthy and well-cared-for
FosteringAllows you to care for animals on a temporary basis and can help prepare them for adoption
Volunteering with animal welfare organizationsProvides support for animal rescue and advocacy efforts
Supporting animal welfare legislationHelps promote responsible breeding practices and protect animal welfare

Do Pet Stores Sell Puppy Mill Dogs?

It’s a common misconception that pet stores only sell puppies from backyard breeders. The truth is, most pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills the ones that you see on some local news segments with multiple dogs in terrible conditions.

Puppy mills are small-scale commercial breeding facilities where profit is the main motive. Puppies are bred quickly and sold at prices that don’t allow for proper care of the dogs or their mothers. 

These poor animals live in filthy conditions where they suffer from disease, malnutrition, untreated injuries, and psychological disorders such as incessant barking or chewing due to boredom and stress.

Backyard dog breeding can have serious consequences for both the animals involved and the community at large. It’s important to adopt pets from reputable sources and support measures to regulate dog breeding. Learn more about the impact of backyard dog breeding in our article on are backyard dog breeders bad.

Can You Stop Puppy Mills And Backyard Breeders?

To stop puppy mills and backyard breeders, you can report a breeder to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), your local animal control, your local shelter, or even the Humane Society. 

For example, if you’re looking at a breeder who has an ad on Craigslist and they live in Florida, you should report them directly to the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services by calling 855-541-2873 or emailing [email protected].

If You Want To Get A Purebred Dog From A Breeder, Do Your Research And Buy From Someone Reputable

If you want to get a purebred dog from a breeder, do your research and buy from someone reputable. Reputable breeders will give you information about the breed and history of their dogs. 

They’ll also have health records of the parents and grandparents of your pup, and even some background on the littermates themselves. 

Reputable breeders will also tell you what they expect of their puppies in terms of temperament, appearance, and behavior and they’ll be able to show you examples of dogs with these qualities in action.

While backyard bird feeders can provide a source of enjoyment for humans, they can also have negative impacts on the ecosystem. Our article on are backyard bird feeders bad explores the potential consequences of backyard bird feeding, including the spread of disease and the attraction of non-native species.


As you can see, backyard breeding is not something that should be taken lightly. It’s illegal and it can cause serious harm to both animals and humans. 

If you suspect someone of having a pet bred in this way, you should report them immediately to the proper authorities so they can be investigated.

Further Reading

Here are some additional articles related to backyard breeding and other topics discussed in this article:

Are Backyard Breeders Good Explained: This article explores the potential benefits and drawbacks of backyard breeding, including the impact on animal welfare and the quality of the animals produced.

11 Animals That Can Be Raised in the Backyard: This article discusses various animals that can be raised in a backyard setting, including chickens, rabbits, and bees.

How Do I Build a Cheap Backyard Fence? Easy Tips: This article provides tips for building a fence on a budget, which could be helpful for backyard breeders who need to keep their animals contained.

What Can I Replace My Backyard Grass With?: This article explores alternatives to traditional grass lawns, which could be useful for readers who want to create a more animal-friendly backyard space.

Aquaponics: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide: This article provides a comprehensive guide to aquaponics, which is a method of growing plants and fish in a symbiotic system that could be a sustainable alternative for backyard breeders.

The Humane Society of the United States: Puppy Mills: Learn about the negative impact of puppy mills, which often supply pets to backyard breeders.

Breeding Business: Backyard Dog Breeding: This article explores the ethics of backyard dog breeding and its potential negative impacts on animal welfare.

The Regulatory Review: Regulating Backyard Breeders: This article provides an in-depth analysis of the challenges of regulating backyard breeding and offers potential solutions.


What is a backyard breeder?

A backyard breeder is someone who breeds animals (typically dogs) in their backyard without proper planning or consideration for the animals’ health and welfare. These breeders often prioritize profit over the well-being of the animals they produce.

Why are backyard breeders bad?

Backyard breeders are often criticized for producing animals with genetic and health problems. They also contribute to the overpopulation of animals in shelters, as many of their animals end up being surrendered or abandoned.

How can I tell if a breeder is responsible?

A responsible breeder will prioritize the health and well-being of their animals over profit. They will typically have a plan in place for socialization, vet care, and finding suitable homes for their animals. They will also be open and transparent about the breeding process and will allow potential buyers to visit and interact with their animals.

What animals can I raise in my backyard?

There are many animals that can be raised in a backyard setting, including chickens, rabbits, goats, bees, and even fish. It’s important to research the specific needs of each animal and ensure that you are able to provide a suitable environment and care for them.