How to choose a breeder
Most people want a dog who loves people, is happy, is healthy and can easily be trained. Different breeds of dogs have these qualities in varying degrees, but all dogs of all breeds can be bred and raised in an environment that fosters the best canine-human bond. These dogs are raised by quality breeders, who take time and effort to raise healthy dogs, socialize puppies so they can confidently enter their new home, and provide assurances of future wonderful relationships with their owners and other dogs and humans.
Caring, quality breeders are not that hard to find…but you may have to be patient as serious breeders often do not breed often, and may have a waiting list. And no serious breeder has a PayPal “Buy NOW!” button on his or her page! Serious breeders want to talk to you, make sure their precious babies are going to a good home, a home that will care as much about the dog as the breeder does.
Here are some questions you can ask to find out if the person breeding a dog you are considering cares enough about those dogs to produce the puppy you expect to bring home:
- What are the registered names of the sire and dam?
- Will these puppies be eligible for registration with the AKC?
- What health tests have you done?
- Are the health testing results recommended for this breed (eyes, hearing, knees, hips) on ofa.org or do you have copies of the health testing reports to share?
- How are the puppies socialized? Early socialization is critical to having a happy and confident dog. A dog who spends all of its early life in a pen is likely to come into your home and be shaking with fear, as it has never experienced anything besides a small pen.
- At what age do the puppies go home? (Shouldn’t be any younger than 10 weeks for this breed)
- What does your contract say about returning the dog for any reason? Will you take the dog back, no matter what age, for any reason, if the buyer needs/wants to give it up?
Do your dogs live in your home or in a kennel outside your home? Puppies raised under foot, in a home, are more ready to enter your own home with a sense of confidence and more familiarity with people and life among noises, children, door bells, vacuum cleaners, etc.
- Does the breeder casually touch and show affection to the dogs while chatting with you? You can tell a lot by the way the breeder handles his/her adults and puppies. Watch and observe…do the dogs seem to respond well to the human touch and enjoy the company of the breeder, family members, guests?
Do you have just one or two breeds or many? Beware the breeder who has multiple breeds. Serious, careful breeders do not have the time to be expert in a dozen different breeds on their premises.
Can I meet your adults? Quality dogs can easily meet new people in their own home, and do not shy away, or show aggression, to visitors.
Can I see where your dogs live? The area should be clean and well maintained.
Can I meet the puppies? While some breeders are super careful about outsiders bringing potential viruses or bacteria into their homes, potentially infecting their puppies, at some point, breeders should be socializing puppies to new people and certainly be willing to let you meet the crew.
Will you give me your veterinarian’s name, so I can contact the practice? Good breeders are very well known to their vet’s office, and should easily provide this information.
What do I need to know about this breed? Good breeders will tell you the ups and downs of health, temperament, behavior and other issues with their breed.
What kind of health guarantee do you provide? Good breeders offer some level of health guarantee in their contract.
Will I have to sign a contract? A contract should be a part of this purchase, and it should include a health guarantee, a spay/neuter requirement, and a requirement that should you, as the buyer, ever need to give up the dog, for any reason, that you MUST return the dog to the breeder.
How do I care for this puppy? Food, training, grooming — this is all information the breeder should advise you on, and preferably provide you with information to take home.