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Questions to Ask a Dog Breeder

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After you've found a possible breeder, here are some good questions to ask:

  • Will the breeder help you pick out a dog that matches your own or your family's needs?
  • How has the breeder assessed the puppy's temperament?
  • Has the puppy been handled and socialized?
  • What are the puppies being fed?
  • How often will the dog need to be groomed?
  • How does this pup get along with other animals?
  • How long can the dog be left alone at home?
  • How much exercise does the dog need?
  • What are the best training methods for this dog?
  • At what age are the puppies available for adoption?
  • What is the breeder's follow-up policy once the puppy is adopted?
  • If for whatever reasons you cannot keep the puppy, will the breeder take it back?
  • Does the breeder provide a written bill of sale detailing the responsibilities of the seller and buyer?
  • Is there a specific contract for puppies that will be show dogs?
  • How many years has the breeder been breeding dogs?  This breed of dog?
  • Does the breeder have references from other buyers?
  • What possible health problems might this dog develop?
  • What breed-specific health screenings have been performed on the sire and dam of the litter?
  • Will the breeder replace the puppy if a genetic disease crops up after adoption?
  • What vaccinations have the puppies had?
  • Are the pedigrees of both the sire and dam available? Is at least the pedigree of the dam available?
  • Has the puppy been microchipped or tattooed to identify breeding stock?
  • Can you have the puppy examined by your own veterinarian within the next three days and returned with full refund if there's a problem?

Questions you should expect a breeder to ask you:

  • Have you ever had a dog before? A puppy?
  • What do you know about this breed?
  • What kind of temperament are you looking for?
  • Are you planning on showing the dog, or do you simply want a companion?
  • Is this going to be a family dog? If yes, how many children are in your family, and how old are they? Is this their first dog?
  • What kind of lifestyle do you have? Athletic? Laid back? Social? Solitary?
  • Do you live in a house? In an apartment?
  • Do you have a fenced yard? How big?
  • Do you have other pets?
  • Are you aware of the costs of owning a dog over its lifetime?
Credit: Reviewed by Amy I. Attas, V.M.D.
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