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Doodle Scammers and Puppy Mills – Red Flags to Watch Out For

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If you’ve been thinking about bringing a Doodle into your family, know that they are such a joy to have around! And as you probably know by now, Doodles are highly sought out and sold for designer prices. Unfortunately, this demand comes with the risk of some very dishonest people (Doodle scammers) out there looking to outright steal your money.

Luckily, there are some red flags you can look out for and things you can do to make sure you’re buying from a responsible and reputable breeder. This article aims to educate future Doodle buyers on how to know who can be trusted versus who’s trying to cheat you out of your money. This includes understanding what puppy mills are and how to avoid those. We also touch on what you can do get your money back if you were scammed.

Doodle Scammers – Red Flags to Watch Out For

Not everyone who says they have puppies available is telling the truth. Here are some red flags to watch out for when you’re talking to someone who says they have the Doodle puppy you’re looking for. The more of the following boxes you tick, the more likely this person is not a real or reputable breeder.

  • They don’t have active social media accounts
  • They don’t have a website
  • They don’t have a business email address
  • They don’t give you a phone number
  • They don’t answer all your questions
  • They don’t reply to your messages, calls, emails, etc. within a reasonable time frame
  • They don’t provide a list of prior customers or references whom you can contact to talk to yourself
  • They may not speak very good English (in native English-speaking countries)
  • Their personal social media profile pictures, names, etc. might not show consistent information
  • They want you to meet them somewhere else instead of on-site
  • They might use fake or made-up terms like “home trained” (what is that?)
  • They offer to send the puppy home with you before the puppy is 8 weeks old
  • They have puppies available “right now” so you don’t have to get on a waitlist
  • They have AKC papers for the puppy (Doodles can’t be AKC registered)
  • They ask for money without having talked or met with you
  • They cannot provide identifiable photo/video evidence of the puppy. This is a great way to help rule out scammers: ask for a picture of them holding the puppy with a paper that has the date and your name written on it. Usually you won’t hear back from them after that.

In short, check people out. Do research on the person – check out their Facebook, Instagram, etc. and Google their name and see what comes up. And the more of the above boxes someone ticks, run away fast.

Moreover, you can join this Facebook Group to view names and photos of alleged Doodle scammers preying on Facebook. There is also this website that provides a list of known Doodle scammers’ websites.

The bottom line is: NEVER send money until you have met with the breeder, seen their facility, and picked out the dog you are going to get.

Doodle Puppy Mills – Red Flags to Watch Out For

“Hey everyone!!! So I’m kinda doing a PSA. I got my [AussieDoodle] from a place that I thought was very responsible and an amazing breeder. I found out after I got her that they are a puppy mill. My puppy has a chronic cough that she has had since I got her (she will be 2 in December) and she gets recurring coccidia – vets don’t know why or what’s causing the cough (she has been treated for kennel cough 10+ times, among many other things.) Come to find out they are listed on the Humane Society’s “Horrible Hundred.” They are also being sued by previous workers for a ton of things. Please check your breeder and make sure they aren’t listed here before you buy! I’m stuck with my girl because I fell head over heels the moment I saw her. She’s mine and I’ll do what I must to keep her healthy, but If I had known I wouldn’t have gone through them. So please – thoroughly vet your breeders!”

A puppy mill is essentially a business that seeks to maximize profit by producing the highest number of puppies at the lowest possible cost. Oftentimes they keep their pup moms, dads, and litters in cruel living conditions where the psychological and/or behavioral needs of all or some of the dogs are not being consistently fulfilled due to inadequate housing, shelter, staffing, nutrition, socialization, sanitation, exercise, veterinary care and/or inappropriate breeding.

When considering purchasing from a breeder, be sure to tour their facility, either in-person or over a video call. If any of the following red flags are seen at their facility, do not support their business and find another breeder.

  • The dogs are living in tiny cages or in outdoor pens.
  • They are living in filth, often caged up with their own feces and waste.
  • They have little or no vet care – noticeable if the dogs are clearly injured or wounded without proper treatment.
  • They aren’t being groomed – noticeable if the dogs are visibly dirty, matted, and have long nails.
  • The dogs aren’t being walked, played with, or interacted with.
  • Pup moms are being bred non-stop.
  • Puppies are immediately removed once there’s a buyer so there’s a sudden separation between pup and mom/litter.
  • Puppies are transported out in stressful, crowded, filthy, and exposed conditions.
  • No effort is made to find homes for adult dogs who can no longer breed.

To learn more, visit ASPCA’s More Puppies More Profits page.

A Word on Amish and Mennonite Breeders

“Someone posted not to buy a Doodle from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, and Illinois (USA). If this is the case, then where should someone from those states get a Doodle pup? I feel like I want to personally meet the pup before I commit.”

This person asked this question because of the concern of irresponsible Amish and Mennonite breeders. In case you aren’t familiar, these folks commonly live in and around the listed states and are notorious for running puppy mill operations.

“We got ours from a Mennonite breeder also that turned out to be a puppy mill…they kept puppies in cow runs not letting them out so they went potty in their living areas…we have yet to win the constant giardia battle…they are now shut down and hopefully out of business for good!”

This is not to say that all Amish and Mennonite breeders are running puppy mills – just that they are known for doing so. Moreover, not all breeders in these states are Amish, Mennonite, or irresponsible.

Regardless of who it is, NEVER send money until you have met with the breeder, seen their facility, and picked out the dog you are going to get. We can’t stress this enough.

Also: Pet Stores

Be wary of pet stores that sell puppies. Oftentimes, pet stores will purchase puppies for cheap from puppy mills and resell them for a higher price. Though, the issue is not that the puppies are more expensive. Rather, it’s that customers are (usually unknowingly) supporting the continued operation of puppy mills.

Moreover, since the puppies typically come from puppy mills, there is a high chance that a pet store customer will have to deal with a lifetime of health issues in their dog.

How to Know Who to Trust

Don’t leave here feeling discouraged. There are plenty of responsible breeders to choose from. To learn how to choose a responsible Doodle breeder, check out this article.


Moreover, here are some things to look for that indicate a real and reputable breeder:

  • They have a social media outlet that they update regularly.
  • They can provide identifiable photo/video evidence of the puppy. Ask them to video call you with the dogs to see their living conditions, or at the very least to send you a picture of them holding the puppy, with a paper that has the date and your name written on it.
  • They provide you with references or past customers and encourage you to contact them directly.
  • The parent dogs are genetically tested through Wisdom, as well as DNA tested.
  • The pups are thoroughly examined and given a health certificate by an accredited veterinarian.
  • They have a waiting list that is full.
  • They are willing to give you their vet’s name and contact info. You can call their vet directly and ask about previous litters.
  • Ask for pictures of parents and do a reverse photo search on the internet.

There is a lot that Doodle scammers can’t fake, so do your due diligence.

Again for those in the back: regardless of who it is, NEVER send money until you have met with the breeder, seen their facility, and picked out the dog you are going to get.

Finally, it’s important to build a relationship with the breeder. Everyone wants the cheapest pup they can find RIGHT NOW when instead, we need to take the time and get on a wait list with a breeder that is responsible and trustworthy. We don’t get the instant gratification, but it’s a great way to follow your pup’s journey as well as create a bond with the breeder for life.

How to Get Your Money Back if Scammed

You may be able to get your money back if you used Google Pay, Apple Pay, or PayPal to send money. Contact customer service immediately. You can also dispute it with your bank, and they will usually work with you.

18 thoughts on “Doodle Scammers and Puppy Mills – Red Flags to Watch Out For

  1. This was interesting, but I need a list of AKC breeders of mini Golden Doodles and Cockapoos. I’m trying to check up on Crockettdoodles in S Carolina and Florida. I’ve seen great variation in their reviews. Can you please help me find out if they are a reputable breeder or a puppy mill?

    1. Thanks for your comment. Just to clarify, Goldendoodles or Cockapoos are not recognized by the AKC since they are mixed breeds. However, there are many breeders who breed AKC parents to produce Doodles. I don’t have a list on hand so it will take some research on your part. As for Crockett Doodles – you’re right, the reviews vary greatly. I once read other people discussing online that they are puppy brokers, which means they simply connect buyer to breeder and take a cut of the sale. This means that they have a network of breeders who they send buyers to…and who knows if any or all of those breeders are reputable or responsible? Without visiting each breeder’s facility, one cannot say for sure. However, brokers are notorious for re-selling puppy mill dogs, so keep that in mind. My opinion? When in doubt, choose another breeder.

  2. I have a deposit with Crockett Doodles for a Bernedoodle, but am concerned after some posts I’ve come across today. Do you have recommendations for other breeders you are comfortable with? I’m in Northern California.


    1. I purchased a Sheepadoodle from Crockett. I had concerns as well but wouldn’t trade her for the world. She has Giardia despite them telling me she was given preventive trearment. That just seemed a little suspect. They reimbursed me right away for the vet bill. Curious to know others thoughts..

      1. crockett has hundreds, if not thousands, of doodles for adoption. do you think the puppies are raised in the dining room? if it feels like a puppy mill, it probably is a puppy mill.

    2. Comments about Giardia

      I’m not trolling for customers. I am a legitimate breeder of Goldendoodles in Portland Oregon and want to offer everyone some help with giardia because it can be very frustrating. I’ve dealt with it on/off here. It is also very easy to pick up in most local environments where water is present. This is what I have found has been effective for treatment. (It might require 2 rounds but I would give your puppy/dog a break in between). 1) 6 days of Safeguard or Panacur C (fenbendazole) is the active ingredient. Then give them a bath. Cysts are shed in the coat and they easily reinfect themselves. 2) I use Durvet Triple wormer or Worm X next (1 Tablet). It is pyrantel pamoate/praziquantel.
      Using Panacur by itself seems to be useless. I think the praziquantel is what is actually working. I would repeat the 2nd round 2 weeks later if necessary. I would also give them some sort of probiotic when you are done.
      This is all weight based.
      I settled on this treatment after doing some google research and there was an article online from a local vet named Cheryl Lopate at Wilsonville Reproductive Clinic that was helpful.

    3. Hi, I am just now seeing this post! I know it’s a bit late, but if you’re still looking for a reputable breeder, check out Premiere Doodles. They give their dogs the absolute best care.

  3. Looking to adopt/purchase a Goldendoodle or Labradoodle puppy, do you have any recommendations on reputable breeders in the New England states? Worst fear that we have is getting a dog from a puppy mill and spending $$$ at vets nursing a puppy back to health. Thanks

    1. This breeder is nearly 2X in pricing compared to other breeders out there, but I’ve been following them for a year now and she seems to really care for her Doodles. She offers a lot of bells-whistles that other breeders don’t offer such as 24/7 puppy cams and such. Unfortunately, I’ve decided I want a Sheepadoodle, which is a mix she doesn’t breed and will be going with different breeders, but I highly recommend others looking into her!

  4. Hey – I put in a deposit with Crockett and just requested for a refund. Pull out your deposit ASAP. I’ve realized through further research this is their hook for looking “legit”. Try to find a different breeder.

    1. We got our pup through Crockett Doodles. The process was very legit, and my vet said my pup is in excellent health. He was raised with a family until I got him, and was very well socialized. There is also a health guarantee, which sounds unlikely if they were a puppy mill

  5. I purchased a doodle from Devion Conway. He was not very forthcoming. Now, I am worried. The online service is called puppies The phone number is 619-833-3599.

  6. I was scammed unfortunately on the website Dahlingoldendoodles . They do Not have any puppies. They only text or email you. I tried calling the # they texted from no one answered. They asked for $500. Deposit. Supposedly had a free coupon to fly puppy with Nanny. Total cost was to be$950. The day they were to fly puppy,they texted saying shipping wouldn’t accept their crate & wanted me to put up $2100. for a rented crate that would be refunded to me when I got the puppy. I said NO! I then knew this was a SCAM. So no $$$ and NO puppy!! BEWARE. Their out there scamming under all different names and websites. Be Very Careful. Buy a puppy you can see in person. Scammers are very good at getting you. They used the name Hanna Mathiot cell#915-320-0832. They said they were in El Paso Texas.

    1. Dahlingoldendoodles are still on Google site. They added the word legitimate breeders. They are NOT. You will NOT get a puppy and you WILL lose your money. I would love to know why Google allows this website to continue. They ask for a deposit through Zelle then they ask for more money for a crate then more money for a Nanny to fly with the puppy. I hope I can save someone from being scammed as I was.

  7. I just wanted to add to the Crockett doodle conversation. My neighbor is a transition home for their litters. They stay there for a few days to a week then go to homes. She has no contact with the breeder home. They are dropped off at a local vet then picked up by the transition homes. They’ve had about 4 litters so far. The first litter all came with kennel cough. They had a litter of mini golden doodles this week who came to them with diarrhea which is a red flag. They were supposed to be given meds for it but it didn’t come with them. She saw it on the paperwork and asked the vet about it. The vet did not test these puppies for parvo when they were seen! However, today they all tested positive for parvovirus and I hope they survive. They started not eating and vomiting/diarrhea. I think it’s pretty irresponsible that these puppies almost went into a home with parvo. They were supposed to go to their homes tomorrow! These pups were selling for $3000 each! I can buy a show golden for less than that! I don’t think they are among the worst breeders in the country. It’s a big business. The dogs are well socialized and raised in homes, but I don’t know if all of their practices are 100% responsible.

  8. I have wanted a berniedoodle for a long time and after reading all the positive reviews about Crockett Doodles on FB I thought this was the puppy place for me. I am supposed to pick up my puppy on 8/21/2021. I have always thought it was unreasonable for Crockett to not list their phone number. A company this big surely can invest in employees to manage calls to keep potential puppy buyers happy and answer questions. Now I’m concerned this may actually be a storefront for puppy mill breeders. Not sure I’m comfortable with this type of adoption of not being able to see the breeders home etc.

  9. I ended up getting a rescue puppy from Keystone Puppies in Pennsylvania, because someone in my state purchased the puppy, sight unseen, and had it shipped across the country to Oregon, and then decided to look at her lease. She can’t have a dog in her apartment. So, I heard of the pup through a family member and ended up getting it from the original buyer. She told me it was from a reputable breeder in PA, but when I looked at the paperwork she gave me, after I got home, it was bred by a notorious puppy mill breeder in PA. Thankfully, the puppy seems okay, he checked out fine by my vet, and the only issue may be fear of larger dogs, especially large barking dogs. So far, at least. Clearly, this initial buyer did not do her homework…on several fronts. But, this is just a heads-up about Keystone Puppies. They hide the breeder’s identity under their name, so you get a puppy mill puppy without realizing you are.

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