Top 5 Things to Ask a Breeder Before Committing to Buy a Puppy
I am getting a new puppy! We are so excited, as a family, that we can hardly stand waiting until the blessed day gets here!
I tried to get an adult dog from a rescue, however, my female dog was not going to accept an adult dog and she was quite vocal about her decision. My fiancée wants to show a dog and compete in obedience and possibly some other dog trials, so we were looking for a pure bred dog.
I have been looking for dogs to fit with my lifestyle and training needs for years, and I have found a few breeds that I prefer living with and training. Because I prefer a rarer breed, it becomes a difficult prospect for me to find a puppy, but I am not afraid to travel.
Sometimes to find what you are looking for you must be prepared to travel and do your research!
Puppy mills exist and they even breed and sell rare dogs, no breed or mixed breed is safe from puppy mills!
To help you narrow your search and find the right pup I have compiled a list to assist you.
#1 How long have you been breeding dogs, how old is the mother, and how many litters has she had?
Obviously, the longer a person has been doing something the more proficient and knowledgeable they should become. The age of the mother is important because dogs should not be bred before the age of 2 when they can be reliably x-rayed, and health checked, old dogs should also not be bred. Asking how many litters, give you an idea how often she has been bred and if it has been excessive. It also can give an indication that the breeder knows what kind of pups to expect health and temperament wise.
#2 What are the genetic health issues, temperament, and exercise requirements of the breed?
All breeds have health issues, if the breeder says there are none or isn’t honest or doesn’t know, that is a bad sign and I would look elsewhere. The breeder should be honest about the good and bad aspects of health, temperament and exercise requirements.
#3 What is the temperament of the parent dogs and what if any titles or accomplishments have they achieved?
The temperament of the adult dogs is imperative to the temperament of the puppies. Puppies most often inherit their temperaments from their parents. If the parents have competed in obedience, agility, or other sports you will have an idea of what type of drive and activity needs your dog will have. If the parents have a CGC or Therapy Dog titles you will know the probably has a good nature.
#4 May I have at least 3 references from people who have dogs from your past litters? I would prefer a young dog, a middle aged dog, and an old dog.
This gives you an opportunity to talk to people who have been in your position. Often temperament and health problems don’t show up until a little later in life, and speaking to someone with a healthy dog or an unhealthy dog gives you a heads up for what to expect.
#5 May I come and visit the puppies and meet the parents or may I send someone to look at the puppies for me?
If the answer is no, find another breeder. Breeders who don’t want you to come and see the puppies might be hiding something like a puppy mill or poor conditions. If the breeder doesn’t have access to the father ask if you can call the person who does. I think a dog inherits a lot of qualities from its dad! Even if the person is going to pick the puppy out for you based on what your needs are (this is acceptable and something I like) because they live with the pups each day, they should still be willing to let you visit all of the puppies.
If the puppies are close, go and take a look, but don’t take your children. It is a lot easier for us adults to see we don’t want a certain dog or a dog from a particular person. Children bond immediately and it could be devastating to your child not to bring a puppy home once you have met a litter. However, it could be even worse to bring a sick, or ill tempered pup home!
Puppies should be at least 8 weeks prior to leaving their moms! Don’t take a pup under 8 weeks old, he learns too much from his mom and bite inhibition up to that point! Be willing to travel or fly if you are looking into a rare breed. Geography doesn’t matter to me it is the quality of the dog and the breeder that is important!
Adding a dog to your family is a 10-15 or more year commitment, don’t make a mistake and get an unhealthy dog or one with a questionable temperament. If you are anything like me, once you spend time with a pup, you are bonded so it is important to bond with the right dog!
Good luck and enjoy your new family member you are on the road to the love of a lifetime.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.