Questions to ask a breeder

Before you purchase a puppy it is most important that you do your homework.  Below we have put together a list of some questions to help you.  Your chosen breeder will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.  This list is by no means exhaustive; you will likely have other questions that are pertinent to your own situation and experiences.  It is also up to the potential buyer to determine if the answers provided to you are what you expect they should be.  These questions also assist buyers in distinguishing between ethical and unethical breeders.

Puppy buyers must be cautious when reserving a puppy.  Part of the information you need to make an informed decision on picking a puppy/breeder includes know the health tests.  You should be given the health information BEFORE you commit to reserving a puppy.  Do not reserve a puppy from a breeder who promises to give you the parents’ health information when you pick up the puppy.

Get it in writing!  When making a reservation for the purchase of a puppy, it is prudent for buyers to obtain a written agreement on the conditions of the reservation, the deposit amount, circumstances when a deposit may be refunded, etc.  This agreement will substantially mimic the final sales contract.  You need to know upfront what your rights are if you change your mind on the puppy; will you get some or all of your deposit back?

• Which health clearances do the parents have?

• Have the puppies received a health exam from the veterinarian or when will they? Any health problems found? What type of treatment is needed for any health problems? How many shots have they had?  When are the next vaccines due?

• What type of guarantees do you have for the litter? Ask to see the contract.  What guarantee does the breeder give with their puppies? If the puppy is found to have a severe illness, what will they do? Is the breeder willing to take back the puppy at any time, if you can’t keep it?

•  What are the sizes of the puppy’s parents? Know how big the parents are, to get a good idea of how big your puppy will be. Is that the size dog you want?

• Ask to meet the dogs’ parents. If possible, meet the puppy’s parents. Notice if they appear to be in good health and evaluate their overall temperament. Are they shy, aggressive, or well adjusted?

• How have they socialized the pups? Have the pups been around other dogs? Other people? Socialization is critical in puppies 6 – 16 weeks old. Proper socialization consisting of good experiences of a puppy with other puppies and lots of different ages, sizes and types of people will give you the best chance at having a well-adjusted dog.• Have the puppies been tested and/or treated for worms?

• Have any of the puppies in the litter been sick? If so, what were the signs, the diagnosis and treatment?

• References? Ask the breeder for a couple references of puppy/dog owners that they have sold within the past year. CALL them. Find out if the breeder was fair, if they were happy with their pups, and how any problems were handled.

• What is the breeder currently feeding the puppy? Regardless of what they are feeding, it is ideal to continue feeding the same food for the first few days at home to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal disturbances.

• At what age do you start to breed your females?

• How many litters do they have maximum

• At what age do you stop breeding the females?

• Does the breeder belong to a breed club? Ask for references.

• How long have you been involved with the breed?

• Why do you breed dogs?

• How often do you breed? When do you expect your next litter?

• May I see where you raise the pups?

• What is the lifespan and what health issues occur in this breed? Have you produced any of these? If so, how many?

• Have the parents been shown? What type of shows? What titles have they earned (conformation, obedience, agility, field)? Are there pictures of the sire if he is not on the premises?

• What was the reason(s) for breeding this litter?