Here are some questions to ask a breeder
before deciding where to get your next
What are the congenital defects in this
breed? -- The breeder who says "none" or "I don't
know" is to be avoided. Don't pay the price
for their ignorance. A good breeder tells you every remotely
possible problem in the breed, from droopy
eyelids to deafness to epilepsy.
What steps have you taken
to decrease defects in your dogs? -- You want to hear words
like "screened" and "tested" and "certified." In breeds with the potential for hip
dysplasia - that's almost every large breed --
look for PennHIP or Orthopedic Foundation for
Animals certification. These are expert,
unbiased evaluators who know exactly what to
look for. Insist on documentation on both
parents. And their parents, too.
Do you have the parents on
site? May I see them? -- You should
always be able to see the mother (unless
she died giving birth) but reputable
breeders often don't have the father on
hand. That's because the best
match for any particular dog may be
owned by another breeder, and the female
was sent away for breeding.
What are the good and bad
points of the parents, and what titles
do they have?
-- You may be looking for a pet-quality
purebred, but you still want to buy from
someone who knows what top-quality
examples of the breed are -- and uses
such animals in a breeding program. You
want to see show and working titles all
over that pedigree. It doesn't
matter if you go home and throw that
fine pedigree in a drawer. Recent titles
on both sides of a pedigree are the sign
of a breeder who's making a good-faith
effort to produce healthy dogs who
conform to the breed standard.
Where were these puppies
raised? How have you socialized them?
"In the house" is the best
answer to the first question. You want a
puppy who knows what the dishwasher
sounds like, whom you don't have to peel
off the ceiling when a pan drops, who
has set a paw on linoleum, carpet and
puppies been around children? How
were they around kids?
-- This helps with their socialization
and gives you a better idea how "solid"
their temperaments are. If they
are scared of kids and noises at an
early age, it will be a more difficult
puppy to raise properly.
What guarantees do you provide?
-- You want to see a contract explaining
the breeder's responsibilities should
the puppy develop a congenital ailment.
In most cases, such contracts state
either replacement with a new puppy or
refunding of your purchase price.
The best breeders offer contracts that
protect not only the buyer and seller,
but also the most vulnerable part of the
transaction: the puppy.
What Should You Look for When Picking a
You want to see a
well-socialized, calm and well-mannered
dogs -- not only the mother and
father of the litter but also the
breeder's other dogs.
You want all of the puppies to be
out-going and friendly.
just want a pet, not a show dog -- Why
should I pay for the more expensive breeder
If you must have a
purebred puppy (and no
one says the dog you get
has to be either
purebred or a puppy), I
hasten to note -- don't
buy from anyone but a
reputable breeder. Ask
about health clearances.
Ask about guarantees.
Ask about socialization.
Don't buy a
puppy that is a ticking time bomb of genetic
disease, or puppies destined for temperament
problems because of poor breeding and a lack
of proper socialization. The Careless
or Clueless breeders
have produced dogs with
hip disease, blindness,
heart defects, thyroid
disease and cancer, as
well as hyperactivity
Every breed has its own
problems that good, dedicated
breeders are working to
intelligent people who spend hours
researching a VCR or vacuum cleaner buy a
purebred puppy on a whim? Why do so many
people spend more time reading the label on
a frozen dinner than they do researching the
purchase of an animal who will be a family
member for years?
When you do make the
right decision about
where you buy your
puppy, you're helping to
end the problems caused
by bad breeding. When
there are no buyers for
purebreds with problems,
there'll be no sellers
of them. No backyard
breeders. No puppy
mills. And that will
make a big difference,
not just to the future
of purebred dogs, but
also to rescue groups
and shelters who'll
eventually have to deal
with so many unhealthy
and unstable purebred
dogs. Finally, it will
spare a great many
families the heartbreak
of dealing with a sick
If you don't get the
right answers to your
questions, ask where
the door is....
You want to be dealing
with someone else, let
me assure you.