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Breeder Questions
a list of breeder questions is highly recommended

Questions You Should Ask a Breeder

How many dogs do you have and what age do you retire them from breeding?

A breeder should not have so many dogs that they cannot pay attention to them all. Dogs need socializing and not just to be used as breeding machines. It also takes time to keep them clean and groomed properly. They should be bred on a reasonable schedule allowing skipped cycles for the dam to rest and recuperate between litters.

Can we come and visit the puppies in your home?

Any reputable breeder will allow you to come to their home and visit the puppies and adults.  If they won’t let you , that is a big red flag that you have a backyard breeder or puppy mill on the line. Some may ask that you wait until they have had their first vaccinations to protect them from contaminants.  A litter can become quite ill with things like  Parvo and Coccidia that can cause terrible diarrhea and even death if untreated. These things can be tracked in on feet and clothing and on hands of people entering the house.  Allow your breeder to set a few weeks to let the puppies gain strength and resilience to these things before welcoming visitors, but be sure they DO allow visitors at some point.

Do you have both parents on site?

Breeders will have at least the dam on site and usually the sire unless she was sent out for breeding ( a common practice to improve the bloodlines.)  In that situation, they should provide you with the AKC and pedigree information as well as pictures of the sire and a location where you can see him if you desire.

Where was the litter whelped and where is it kept afterward?

You want to hear in the house, not the garage or in a kennel. They should be in the house where they get daily attention and are around daily life, not in another room closed off. Some backyard breeders may try and “stretch the truth” in this area, but are usually caught by the other questions, particularly the one about visiting the home.

How many shots and wormings has the puppy had and are those records provided with the puppy?

Your vet will need this information. If it is not provided, the puppy will have to be re-vaccinated and since the shots are toxic, it is not healthy to over vaccinate. They should have received their first shots before going home. Find out if the puppy was wormed before you pick up so you do not introduce worms into your yard environment.

Have the sire and dam had health testing for any problems in the breed?

Health testing is a great way to insure you have healthy bloodlines going into your puppy.

Do you guarantee the health of the puppy?

A one year genetic guarantee is standard in the industry and two years is even better. Not all health problems can be 100% eliminated with health testing, genetics can come from way back and spring up on occasion. A good health guarantee will protect you in the event something serious happens.  They do not cover everything that can happen,  but will cover life threatening illness.  Remember that good dog food and vitamins are crucial to keeping your puppy healthy. A good diet and vitamins make all the difference in the ability of a pup to fight off something he’s exposed to.

What is the puppy’s personality or temperament?

This question is important to your lifestyle. If you are very active and jog everyday, you will want a more active puppy. If you have a small child, you will want a calmer puppy, etc. Personality usually begins to show around 5 weeks and older.

Are you available for questions after we bring the puppy home?

A good breeder will be willing to help you with questions to assist in the adjustment period with your puppy. Some buyers pick up a cute puppy and expect a perfect little animal. Puppies are babies and need training. Sometimes a question to a breeder can help you through a momentary trial with your new family member.

Will you take back the puppy if we can’t keep it?

Life happens and sometimes a situation arises where you may not be able to keep your dog.  Breeders should have either a return policy (though they do not offer refunds) or a policy which insists that you contact them at any time for any reason you are unable to care for the dog.  Though many cannot take them back into their own home- having their own brood to care for – they will want to know where the dog is going and should be able to help you find a placement where the animal will be loved and cared for.

Is there a Sales contract defining clearly the expectations of each party?

Get a copy of the contract and ask questions beforehand. The contract helps protect both you and the seller and avoids any misunderstandings.

In Conclusion: Take your time and review the questions and mark which are most important to you so you don’t forget to ask them.

We hope this helps you find the right breeder family to provide your new puppy. Good luck in your puppy search.

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