What important questions to ask a dog breeder?

Deciding to get a dog is a big, exciting step in anyone’s life. But before you take out your wallet, there are a lot of things to consider. One of those is choosing a reputable breeder where you’ll find the right canine for you.

You have to do your research about the breed you want, know what to expect from dog breeders, and be ready to ask and answer questions.

What you should do before buying a puppy

Whether you already have a specific breed in mind or not, it’s every potential dog owner’s task to know the basics.

close-up photo of a Dachshund using a laptop

You can read some profiles to get an idea of the pros and cons of the breeds you’re interested in. One of the factors that you have to decide on is the approximate size of the dog that will work for you.

It’s noticeable how most people are in love with puppies, but once they’re all grown-up, they end up being given away, or they’re left in shelters or pounds.

Another thing is the temperament or personality you prefer. Although certain breeds are categorized as friendly or intelligent, it doesn’t mean others can’t have those good (and bad) traits.

Breeders who care for their dogs know what they’re like character-wise, and they can be passed on to their dog’s offspring. Other than that, they probably have observed how the puppies are within a few weeks. They can help you pick out which one is a barker, have a prey drive, or even exhibit watchdog abilities.

How about gender? Do you know the difference between having a male and a female dog? How much grooming is okay with you? Is anyone in your family allergic to pets? Shedding tendencies would be a big deal, then.

Aside from researching what health issues are common in the breed you want, helping them stay in tip-top shape means you’re up to the task for the dog’s exercise requirements.

If you join dog shows or competitions, trainability may be an essential factor for you. This means you should be aware of breed standards, as well.

Here’s a video of 5 things you need to know before getting a puppy.

Important questions to ask breeders when buying a puppy

It’s understandable for responsible breeders to quiz you with a Puppy Buyer Questionnaire, but what do you have to ask before purchasing a puppy?

Reputable breeders would welcome all questions as it shows how much heart you have over getting a dog.

Here are good questions that will be handy once you’re talking to a breeder.

Ask to meet the parents and siblings of the puppy

Getting to see what the dam and sire look like would help buyers predict what temperament and conformation the pup will have. Being able to visit the dogs will also give you a chance to observe their overall condition.

Photo of a puppy and adult Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Check the facilities to make sure that the puppies are treated well and was raised in a clean environment.

One of the warning signs is where the parents and the litter seem scared or aggressive, but if the kennel or house is filthy and crowded with dogs, then that’s a no-no. We all know that with puppies, it can be challenging to keep things clean all the time, but you can tell if they are experiencing neglect.

If a breeder declines your request to visit, it should alert you, not unless they have a valid explanation. A common reason is the puppies are too young, and it’s to protect their health.

Request for a record of health tests and certificates performed

Some breeds are at risk of genetic conditions such as heart problems and hip dysplasia. Since they mostly are inherited, ensure that no diseases are passed on to the puppies by making sure the bitch and sire were tested before breeding.

Two veterinarians doing a check-up on a white dog

Don’t be afraid to ask for certifications that they are tested and certified clear from genetically passed health issues.

While you’re at it, ask about the puppies’ breed line or family history and pedigree.

The breeders’ experience

Don’t hesitate to ask the breeders how long they’ve been breeding and their experience with the specific breed they have. After all, they should be knowledgeable of their dog’s genetic diseases, weaknesses, and strengths.

A great question you can ask related to a breeder’s experience is the cost of the puppies.

If their dogs have “show” potential, they will likely charge more for a puppy. Sometimes, the sky is the limit for their prices when a puppy comes from an excellent bloodline!

But expensive doesn’t always mean a canine has better quality than others. Be careful as there are backyard breeders and puppy mills that offer pups for a lower price, but won’t pass any of your questions or checklist.

How do the puppies socialize?

Three young puppies playing on the grass

Whichever purpose you have for getting a puppy, it’s best if they are properly socialized.

Know if the pups have been around other dogs, pets, and people. What are the puppies used to?

They’d be able to adjust easily with a new life with you if the puppy had early socialization with other puppies who differ in breed, size, and age.

If during your visit and you see the dogs are kenneled, ask how much interaction is provided.

Ask to see a record of up-to-date vaccinations

Puppies must get their shots on time, have routine deworming, and regular visits to a veterinarian.

Veterinarian with a Chihuahua puppy placing one of his first vaccines

Responsible breeders know the shots that the puppies need. They should have a record showing all the vaccinations they got and when to get their next shot.

This is also the right moment to ask if any of the pups have ever been sick. If the breeder said yes, go ahead and question what were the symptoms of illness, and what was the diagnosis and treatment for it.

Dogs can get sick, it’s inevitable even for well-bred and cared ones. So another essential question related to this part is asking their visit with their trusted vet. How often do they get checked, and are the puppies have been or currently on prescription meds?

Have a contract that guarantees a healthy puppy

What kind of guarantee can the Breeder provide when you purchase a puppy? What steps should be taken if the pup suddenly gets ill or if you can no longer care for it? These are just some of the questions that puppy buyers would want to see in a puppy contract before paying anything.

Clarify if the amount they’re asking for the puppy includes the breeder’s guarantee.

Some might offer rebates or refunds if the dog developed a hereditary condition. To back this up, the breeder may include in the contract some recommended diet, certain health care practices, or other instructions.

At what age will the puppy be able to go home with you?

Puppies are allowed to go home to their new owners by the time they’re 8 to 12 weeks old. They need time to nurse from their mom, so they can mature and get to socialize with siblings.

A woman reaching out to a puppy inside a crate that is for sale

New owners can pick up their puppy as soon as their socialization period is happening. It will give them a chance to adapt to their new home and surroundings.

Once they’re 7 to 8 weeks old, their first behavioral fear period occurs and is the right time to build resiliency to a lot of experiences.

Keeping in touch with the breeder

Breeders would usually give their contact information when you pick up your puppy. They encourage those who buy puppies from them to reach out if they have any concerns or questions with regards to the pups.

Breeders know that they’ll be the buyers’ breed mentor and source of information and support throughout the dog’s life.

To start this communication, you can ask what the breeder is currently feeding the dogs to avoid a sudden change in their diet, which may cause gastrointestinal disturbances. And when you’re ready, you can ask if they belong to a breed club.

You can ask for references, and your breeder can guide you on what to do to join their current association, canine club, or sports, such as the American Kennel Club.

What is the breeder looking for from puppy buyers?

Aside from answering their questions, show breeders how willing you are to have that pup in your family. Ask if there’s any other information or action that is needed for you to be able to get a puppy.

They’d want the little doggos to go into good homes that know what to expect from the furballs.

Get informed with plenty of research and questions

A breeder kissing and hugging four Siberian Husky puppies

There’s nothing wrong with asking so many questions to make sure you’re bringing home the best dog for you and your family.

Purchasing a puppy is best done by meeting the breeder in person to discuss everything about the canine. If that’s not possible, exchanging a lot of emails or chat conversations or lengthy phone calls can work. The important thing is having your queries answered.

With responsible breeding, proper socialization, and appropriate care for the dog’s health will make a huge difference in the kind of dog your puppy will turn out.

Do you have any other questions to add to our list? Type them all in the comment box below!

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