It is very easy to label someone as a puppy mill. The Estrela Mountain Dog Association of America urges all potential buyers to do their homework on each breeder and decide for themselves. Unfortunately the dog world is full of 'name callers'.
Back Yard Breeder: A regular person that has an intact pet. The pet either gets accidentally bred or they breed on purpose for any number of reasons. They usually do not know the standard or health issues related to their breed.
Buncher: This person collects free dogs and takes them to different research facilities.
Broker: This person buys puppies from large commercial kennels and supplies a third party, either pet stores or other kennels.
Hobby Breeder: This person has a breed or even two. They know the breed, the standard, the health issues and test for them. They produce a limited amount of litters a year and breed to preserve and protect the breed. Usually actively involved with a breed club. They make use of contracts and place each puppy in the best possible home.
Commercial Breeder: At a commercial breeder, there are usually several breed of dogs. They breed mostly for profit. The dogs in this type of situation may be healthy, they may not. Their conditions may be acceptable or not. The dogs are most likely not screened for genetic diseases and breeding stock may not be selected for the breed standard or proper temperament.
Puppy Mill: This person is producing puppies with no program, no concern over puppy placement, little or no socialization or health checks. Conditions are generally very substandard, may even be deplorable. The dogs in this situation may be malnourished, sickly, and of poor temperament.