Top 5 Things to Ask a Breeder Before Committing to Buy a Puppy

Getting the Right Pup for Your Family is Essential

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!

Everyone Wants Something Different, Make Sure You're Getting What You Need!

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.


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  1. Juan Perros says:

    Fantastic tips! The main thing if you are thinking about getting a dog


  2. Darlene says:

    everyone wanting a puppy should read this.


  3. Jana Rade says:

    re: genetic health issues
    Many of these can be screened for. I’d definitely want to know whether the parents had been screened also.

    Knowing what the genetic diseases is one thing, preventing them is another.


  4. Michael says:

    All good points. Getting a dog is a major life changing event and shouldn’t be done on a whim. It amazes me that people will spend months deciding what car to buy will will get a dog without any consideration.


  5. Rajesh says:

    I remember when we first went on buying our first ever puppy, it was a cute dalmatian and we have 4 of them to choose from. Back then I was thinking of asking, can I take them all home with me? But then the work required on taking good care of them would be ginourmous!

    List #5, very good point. If they are “competent” and “trustworthy” breeders too then they wouldn’t mind welcoming you into their home filled with their dogs.

    A must read article, you could’ve written this years before. Saved me from a lot of wrong decisions.. Oh well, keep it up Minette!


    Minette Reply:

    Thank you! I am glad to have you as a reader!


  6. Smith says:

    First of all i would like to thank you for the great and informative entry. I has to admit that I have never heard about this information I have noticed many new facts for me. Thanks a lot for sharing this useful and attractive information and I will be waiting for other interesting posts from you in the nearest future. Keep it up.


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