Checklist of Potential Questions to Ask Breeders
Remember, you are bringing in a new member of your family for the next 10 to 15 years. This is not like shopping at Walmart where you can pick up a name brand at a bargain price.
(Reputable breeders don't usually advertise in a newspaper and never put a sign out in their front yard).
- Where did you find out about this breeder?
Ask to see the certificates, "My vet okayed the x-ray" is not a valid clearance. Take time to research the parent's clearances on www.offa.org -- you can even
- Do both the sire and dam have hip clearances from the OFA or another acceptable registry?
find information on clearances for the grandparents, siblings and offspring.
- Are both parents at least 2 years old? Final hip clearances cannot be obtained before that age through OFA. Preliminary Clearances before age two may
be obtained, but have been known to change when final clearances are done at 2 years of age. (Note: The BVA & Penn-Hip have different age
requirements than OFA).
- Do both parents have current eye clearances from an Opthomologist or a CERF certificate (Canine Eye Registry)? This must be done every 12-18 months.
(As a breeder, I feel these clearances in addition to a hip clearance are a must do as a minimum.)
- Do either parent have other clearances -- Elbow, Heart, Optigen (PRA-Eyes) and Exercise-Induced-Collapse?
- References -- remember, reputable and less than reputable breeders will both provide you with excellent references.
- Will the breeder take the dog back at any time for any reason if you cannot keep it?
- Is there a written guarantee against congenital health or temperament problems? Read the guarantee closely, having both parents and all four
grandparents who have passed their clearances is worth just as much as a written guarantee, ask for both!
- Will the breeder be available to answer any question you might have for the life of the dog?
Are they involved in competition (conformation, obedience, field, etc.) or other positive activities with their dog?
- Is the breeder knowledgeable about the breed?
- Will the puppy have a limited registration with a mandatory spay/neuter contract?
This will give you a more accurate indication of how often this girl is bred.
- How often is the dam bred? This can be a mis-leading question. More important is how many litters has the dam whelped.
Sometimes in another state or another country. Ask if it would be okay to contact the stud owner.
- Are the sire and dam available for you to meet? Quite often, the sire resides elsewhere.
- Where have the puppies been raised? Socialization for a puppy begins at 4 weeks of age, they need human contact. Puppies that are raised without high
exposure to gentle handling, human contact and a wide variety of noises and experiences OR are removed from their dam or litter mates before 7 weeks of
age may exhibit a wide variety of behavioral problems. (Socially, the longer you leave the pups with their litter mates the puppy will be better socialized.)
- Does the breeder provide you with a three or five generation pedigree, a contract to sign, copies of all clearances, a health guarantee, health records, and
material to help you with feeding, training and housebreaking?
that will best suit your lifestyle? Look for a breeder that can provide you with a written temperament test for your puppy.
- Have the puppies temperaments been evaluated and can the breeder guide you to the puppy
- Do the puppies seem healthy -- no discharge from the eyes or nose; no loose stools; no foul smelling ears? Are their coats soft, full and clean? Do they have
plenty of energy when awake yet calm down easily when gently stroked? Do they have their first shots and have they been wormed and vet checked by the
time they go to your home?
- Does the breeder have only 1 or 2 litters at a time? If there are many dogs and many puppies, the chances are the breeder cannot devote the time it takes
to raise a properly socialized puppy.
- Does the breeder belong to a breed specific club or a local all-breed club?
- Do you feel comfortable with this person? You are entrusting this person with one of the most important decisions you will ever make. If you are feeling
intimidated or pressured, keep looking. Remember, trust your instincts!
Finally, don't be afraid to tell the breeder you need a few days to decide.