Important Questions to Ask a Breeder
There are a lot of important questions to ask a breeder. It may seem overwhelming at first to try to narrow down the most important questions to ask. Remember, a good breeder will be open to any questions and be patient throughout the process. There are few key categories of questions to ask. You could go more in–depth than what is listed here, but asking the questions in this article will give you a good overall idea.
A good introductory breeder question is to ask how long they have been breeding. Next, ask how many dogs they are producing now. You don’t want a breeder that is currently breeding multiple dogs. Less is more in this case. One, a breeder who breeds many breeds simultaneously may not be giving the care and attention to the mother. Proper care for the mother is vital, not only for the mother’s health but also to ensure the pup’s health. Two, taking care of newborn puppies is a big responsibility. A dedicated breeder will provide care and quality in their breeding practices.
Ask if the breeder is involved in dog-related activities, like shows, field trials, or even hunting. Another great question is if the breeder is involved in the respective breed’s AKC parent club. To be part of such a club is an indication that the breeder meets the AKC’s requirements and standards. All the questions above will give you a solid understanding of the breeder’s experience and commitment.
Puppy Parents Health History
The puppies’ parents are among the most significant indicators of how the puppy will grow and what kind of possible health problems it might face. If possible, ask to meet the parents, but especially the mother. The parents’ temperaments and appearance will show you what to expect from the pup. A good breeder will also be willing to show the mother, as a healthy mother produces good puppies. It would be best to ask how old the mother is and how many litters she’s had. Overbreeding isn’t beneficial for both mothers and pups.
Additionally, a breeder should disclose pedigree and health certificates. Most breeds are prone to some hereditary health conditions. Typically, the AKC parent club will have a list of recommended health tests based on that specific breed. A breeder should have a health certificate for the parents, as this is how to breed a healthy pup. If the parent’s health history is clean, it is much more likely that the puppy will grow up without the predisposition to certain diseases.
Puppy Living Environment
The puppies need to live with their mother until they are at least 8 to 12 weeks old. In that time, a good breeder will expose those pups to a multitude of different experiences. Ask where the breeder keeps the puppies. A clean environment is essential, especially since the dogs aren’t potty trained yet. Additionally, you want the pups to be with their littermates rather than in cages. Another important question to ask your breeder is if they socialize their pups. Socialization helps the puppy adjust to new people, dogs, and environments. It’s also critical to plan to bring the pup into a home with another dog or children. A socialized puppy makes for an easy adjustment. Finally, if possible, ask to meet all the puppies. Each dog has their own personality, so meeting all of them helps you find the perfect pup. It’s also great to ask what the breeder will provide to help the puppy transition to its new environment. A breeder will provide something with the mother’s scent. They will also indicate what food the puppy has been eating. Both are important to help the puppy adjust once it has left the breeder.
Puppy Health Screenings, Vaccinations, and Medical Procedures
All of the puppies should have completed health screenings by the time you bring them home. Ask about vet checks and have paperwork to take to your vet. Most puppies will have basic health screenings to ensure their health and go through at least one deworming. Depending on the age of the pups, they will also have had their vaccines. It’s important to ask so you understand where your dog stands health–wise and what else you need to do once you bring your pup home.
Additionally, some breeders will have specific procedures done for the pups. In some breeds of hunting dogs, the removed dewclaws and tail docking are done for the dog’s safety when they run through the brush. Some procedures are based on aesthetic preferences, while others for the safety of the dog. Either way, this is an important question to ask your breeder.
Health Guarantee and Sales Contract
All responsible breeders will have a health guarantee and sales contract. Be sure to ask about what both entail. The health guarantee will dictate what the breeder will do if the pup is not healthy. It is also a great sign of the breeder’s commitment to their breeding’s care and safety. They guarantee the health of their pups because anything less is unacceptable.
The sales contract helps both parties understand what happens once the pups leave the breeder. The breeder will typically indicate if there are any restrictions on breeding. Some breeders will provide AKC licensing for an additional fee. Finally, the sales contract will demonstrate what happens if you are ever unable to take care of the dog. Most breeders would want you to return the dogs to them. Make sure you understand what the sales contract requires of you before you leave the breeder.
New Owner Expectations
A final question to ask is what the breeder expects of you. You’re bringing home a new member of the family. A breeder wants the pups they breed to have the best life possible. They will be willing to outline their expectations and what the puppies need. Having clear expectations from the breeder will also help you gauge whether you’re capable of giving the pup the life it deserves.
The Kennel Club, “Questions For the Breeder.”
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