When it comes to getting a dog there’s two options: either you adopt a dog, or you pick one up from a store or a breeder. If you’ve got your eye on a breed that isn’t around any nearby shelters and you’ve been looking around for a while, it’s important to approach the breeder with the right questions and to know what questions to ask a breeder. The following is a post on behalf of Breeding Business:
Questions to Ask a Breeder
The vast majority of all households looking for a breeder to buy their puppy from start their quest online. They usually Google it, then end up on classifieds or on a local breeder’s website directly.
Emails are exchanged and you set up a meeting at their home or kennel. Obviously, it goes without saying that you should never meet elsewhere than at the breeder’s place (you would be surprised how often people meet their dog in a car park.)
The breeder will normally ask you some questions about your lifestyle as well as your future plans. Answer these few questions honestly.
And then, it is your turn to ask some killer questions to the breeder.
#1 — Can You Please Show Me Around?
Normally the breeder will naturally invite you for a tour but if not, this is the number one thing to cordially ask. Obviously, you want to know where are the dogs raised and in what conditions. Hygiene must be a priority for any home willing to get a puppy from a breeder.
But are they living amongst the family or are they kept in outdoor kennels? Is the whelping box flimsy, or is it a safe confinement for the litter and the mother to be at peace in?
Some criteria must be fulfilled for everybody such as cleanliness and quietness, while others will depend on your own needs. Some hunters prefer having their puppy raised outdoor from an early age. Some homes want a guarding dog used to city noises.
Just make sure the breeder is mirroring your own plan for the future.
#2 — Who Are The Parents?
When it comes to heredity and canine genetics, things are clear. Therefore you must ask to see both parents, or at least one.
Whelps from a litter will receive half their mother’s genetic material, and the father’s will make up the other half. By meeting and interacting with the parents, you will get an idea of what to expect both physically and behaviorally in the near future.
Of course, you must take into account that you are, after all, just a stranger and that the mother may want to protect her babies. So be gentle, quiet and respectful.
Seeing how the mother and puppies behave with the breeder is also a wonderful opportunity to see the level of trust both sides share.
#3 — What Health Checks Have You Done?
There is no way you should ever buy a dog without knowing what medical conditions affect the breed.
Only puppy farmers risk breeding dogs without making sure both parents are cleared of all inherited diseases. There are plenty of databases listing these breed-specific conditions online and you must absolutely use them to learn as much as possible.
Aware of what diseases affect the breed you love, you may then ask the breeder for proofs of health screenings. Often, they will be performed by a vet and will detail what conditions the test was for, the score received and an explanation of the scoring system.
Having a list of all deworming tablets as well as vaccines received by the puppy is vital so you can hand this information over to your vet for a seamless transition.
If the breeder refuses to provide you with any of this, run away.
#4 — Have You Got References From Other Families?
Reputation is what makes or breaks a breeder. Asking the breeder directly for contact details or references from previous families is always the right choice.
Most people will feel intimidated. Don’t, because you have to make sure everything went well with previous homes. Ask for a picture and how is the dog’s health keeping. Trust me, it is great to see other members of your soon-to-be family!
Here again, if the breeder refuses, then run away.
#5 — What Made You Pick The Parents For This Litter?
Depending on the reasons why you are buying a dog, you expect a particular answer to this question.
If you are after a family pet, you want the breeder to select the parents based on their temperament. If you want an agility dog, you want the parents to be athletic and docile. And so one, and so forth.
What you most certainly do not want to hear is that parents were picked somewhat randomly, or they are the canine couple the breeder has at home so he “let them be.” That shows there was very little research put into this mating.
Dog Breeders Are Artists, Not Landlords
There should be no room left for improvisation in dog breeding.
Obviously, dog breeding is not an exact science but the breeder’s role is NOT to host the litter until their new owners pick them up. A breeder is here to plan the right breeding at the right time, set expectations and then make sure the puppies go to the right people.
When bringing up the right questions to ask a breeder, you gauge how involved the breeder is. You can figure out whether this litter is just another litter for him, or a well-planned milestone leading to bigger plans for their breeding program.
In an ideal world, you would like the breeder and yourself to gather all health screenings, the dog’s pedigree as well as details of the transaction into a proper dog sale agreement or contract. This is to cover both parties in case of disagreement or issues occurring in the future.