Questions to ask Breeders

Questions to Breeders

Critical Questions to ask Breeders

1. Are the puppies registered? With which registry? May I see the parents' registration papers?

Currently, the AKC (American Kennel Club) and UKC (United Kennel Club) are the favored registry of pet, show, and obedience owners. There is also breed specific registries. Having registration does not guarantee anything except being able to trace a dog's pedigree. It does not guarantee that the puppies are healthy or of good quality.

2. Are the parents' hip X-rayed and eye tested? May I see the CERF/OFA documents?

Almost all breeds suffer from hip dysphasia and hereditary eye disease. The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) certifies dogs free from eye diseases and issues a registration number. Likewise, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OF A) issues registration numbers for dogs that are found to be free of hip dysphasia. OF A rates the hips as Excellent, Good; Fair, and Poor. Dogs that cannot pass a hip screening will not have any certification. If you don't see it - the dog probably does not have hips and eyes certified BEWARE!

3. Have the puppies been wormed? With what medication? How often? Have dewclaws been removed? What vaccinations do the puppies have?

You should be given a complete medical history of any puppy. If they haven't been wormed or vaccinated; you may be buying expensive, irreversible problems. Good breeders will also recommend you to have a puppy checked by your Vet within 3 days of purchase.

4. Are there any known genetic disorders, such as hip dysphasia, epilepsy, deafness, bleeding, or thyroid disorders in the lines? What about aggression?

If there is a hint of these disorders, or any other problem, in the first four generations of a line, don't buy the puppy!

5. Do you offer any guarantees on the puppies?

Get all guarantees in writing! Most reputable breeders will insist on a contract that specifies the buyer's obligations as well as the breeder's obligations and guarantees.

6. If I can't keep the puppy, will you take the puppy back or help me rehome it? Have you had puppies or adults returned to you before? If so, for what reason? What happened to them?

Good breeders will always help their puppy buyers. Good breeders do not want dogs that they have bred to wind up in shelters or in rescue groups. Accept nothing less!

7. Are you available for advice and consultation? Are you a member of any dog clubs or organization? On the average, how many litters do you breed a year? About how many are there in your average litter? What single trait do you breed for? Why do you breed this breed? Tell me about the accomplishments of some of the dogs you've bred. Do you breed other types of dogs?

The answer to these questions will help you form an opinion of the breeder's motivation. If the puppies are a cash crop - DON'T BUY! Also, be careful if the breeder only has one female and they wanted their family to see a birth or they felt that their female needed to have at least one litter in her life. This is the reason there are so many dogs in the shelters and rescues!

8. Do the parents have any titles? May I see documentation?

Any claims of winning titles in any area of endeavor should be easily proven. Most people who have achieved titles on their dogs are happy to brag and tell you all about their accomplishments.

9. How old is the mother of the puppies? How many litters has she had? When was her first litter? How old was she when she had her first litter?

These questions separate the caring, reliable breeders from the puppy farms. Avoid breeders who begin breeding females under the age of two and have successive litters from the same dog. This is CRUEL and you have the power to stop the abuse simply by choosing a good breeder.

10. May I visit the premises and see the breeding/kennel facilities? May I see both parents and watch them work or play with them?

If you aren't welcome in these areas, be suspicious.

Other General questions you can ask are:

-How big will the dog get?
-About how long should this dog live?
-How old will the dog be before it acts like an adult dog?
-How often will the dog need grooming?
-How much exercise will the dog need as a puppy? As an adult?
-What are the best training methods for this breed?

It is also wise to know as much about a breed before you go and look at puppies. . Know what a serious fault in a breed is and what is not, so that the breeder isn't trying to pawn off a bad dog onto you. A good place to look is www.akc.org for breed standards of most breeds