The opportunity to get a purebred dog at a fraction of the cost — or free! — sounds like a pretty sweet deal. You may have seen such listings on KSL Classifieds, asking you to be a dog’s guardian family. All you need to do is love the most adorable pup ever, the listing says. There must be a catch, right? Yes, there is. And it’s a big one.

Financial Family

Farming out dogs to guardian homes is a practice used by amateur breeders that can be harmful to both pets and pet owners. That’s why KSL Classifieds prohibits such listings and removes them from our site.

Dog breeders are asking you to be dog sitters for their puppy selling business. They want you to feed and house the dog, train it and pay for all medical expenses (including vaccinations). But you don’t actually own the animal or have any say in its well-being.

House Rules

That’s not all. You’ll be asked to sign a contract, which typically includes requirements that only benefit the owner.


  • You must live within 15 minutes of the owner’s home.
  • You must train the dog to live in a crate (in preparation for travel and whelping)
  • You cannot have any male dogs
  • You must have a fenced yard


If you move or violate any of the terms before the contract is up, you forfeit the dog. That puts you and your pooch at the mercy of the owner for up to five years.

Breeding Takes Precedence

“Lucy is an adorable puppy. She is super smart and loves kids. We are looking for the perfect guardian home for her.” Sounds ideal. Until she’s ready for her first litter. When that happens, the owner takes the dog to a stud for several days, wherever that may be. 

Then, when your family pet is close to the delivery date, she is taken away again. She’s not returned to you until the puppies are weaned, about eight weeks later. 

Cramped Spaces

Unfortunately, the dog you’ve grown to love will probably not be living in the same happy conditions as it does in your home. Often, backyard breeders keep your pet in a crate or other enclosed area much of the time. It may not be well-kept or particularly comfortable, either. In addition, your dog will no longer have the routine she is used to, which can be distressing for her — and you.

Continuous Cycle

Once born, the owner sells the pups, perhaps giving one of that litter to another guardian home. Then, both dogs become breeders. The cycle continues with the litters of both, and on and on. Pretty profitable for the backyard breeder. Not good for your family pet.

You Can Help

As part of our continuing effort to responsibly unite animals and families, KSL Classifieds prohibits guardian home listings. Unfortunately, such listings are common, but you can help stop them. If you see a listing on our site for a guardian family, please report it. If you notice any other irresponsible breeding practice, we want to know. Just click or tap on the flag icon in the top right corner of the individual listing. Our CommuniTeam will quickly investigate and remove them. 

Learn more about finding a responsible breeder — or adopting a pet — on our Resource Page