A breeder has told you your new pups’ parents are AKC registered and come from a line of champions. If you assume this ensures their health. Think again.
How to Choose a Breeder
Did you get a puppy for Christmas? Still thinking about it? Trying to figure out how to find the right breeder? If you’re on the fence and want to make sure the pup you choose is A-OK, then check out these tips on how to choose a breeder.
What to look for in a breeder
- Integrity – Honest. Knowledgeable. Professional reputation. Encourages feedback. These are just a few traits to look for in a breeder with integrity.
- Well-being – Provides for the well-being of their pups. A clean kennel or home. Regular vet visits. A good breeder will provide for both the emotional and physical well-being of the parent dogs and pups in their kennel.
- Genetic Testing – A good breeder cares about the future of their breeds, and tests their parent dogs for genetic diseases which can include, but is not limited to
Want to know more about breeders should and do genetic testing? Read Eliminating Genetic Diseases in Dogs: A Buyer’s Perspective.
- Offers a 2-3 Health Warranty – Two years is good. Three is better. A good warranty is a pre-existing agreement between you and a breeder which states clearly what is covered and how restitution should be made. A good breeder will have a comprehensive health warranty that will cover, at the very least, two years (which is long enough to know if a pup has problems).
Red Flags to Watch For
- Deposits and Upfront Fees – If a breeder asks for more than a few hundred dollars deposit, look somewhere else. A reputable breeder will never ask for the entire payment upfront. Does the site emphasize fees/penalties/early payment?
- What to Look for in a Health Warranty –
§ Should not be contingent upon returning your dog for a refund.
§ Most (breeders)will cover expenses up to the cost of the pup, once Vet records or radiologist’s reports have been provided.
§ Ask if your refund comes with stipulations. Some breeders will only refund if you agree never to discuss it on an open forum. This ‘mum clause’ serves to hides the problems this breeder has had, and is likely to have in the future.
- Read carefully.
§ Are there any food or exercise restrictions?
§ Are there contingencies which void or alter the warranty in certain situations?
§ Make sure you are comfortable with the warranty BEFORE signing a contract or sending in the deposit.
A responsible breeder will provide a reasonable (health) warranty, in which both you and the breeder, are protected.
- Is the registry owned by the kennel? Some bad practices include kennels who purchase domain names for the express purpose of redirecting traffic to their site.
- Ask for pictures. A reputable breeder will show you pictures of both your puppy’s parents and your puppy. Especially once you choose a puppy, you should receive regular pictures and updates until the puppy is old enough to be picked up.
- Ask to speak to other dog owners.
- Are you able to pick up your puppy at a registered kennel or the breeder’s home? If you must meet at a gas station or crossroads, be suspicious. This could mean the breeder is hiding something.
If you have questions, call or email your breeder. They’re happy to answer. If you have a problem or your puppy has a problem, talk to your breeder. They can’t fix the problem if they don’t know about it. Reputable breeders will work with you to make sure everyone is happy.
Many breeders may initially send a questionnaire for you to fill out. They want to understand where you are in your puppy search, what you are able to and can commit to, and that you’re buying a puppy with both eyes open.
These are just a few things to be aware of when buying a puppy from a breeder. Just as it’s important for you to ask questions of the breeder, they should ask you questions, too. It’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure the puppy is happy and healthy from its mother’s womb to its fur-ever home.
The information contained on this site is in no way intended to replace that of proper veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is meant to provide resource, so that we can better understand canine health related issues.