If the right decision for you and your family is to purchase a dog from a breeder, there are key pieces of information to collect and key steps to take before bringing that new puppy home for the first time.
Where to start:
- Narrow down your breed preference.
- Find a breeder that specializes in that breed.
While the Kennel Club in your country likely won’t be able to recommend specific breeders, they should be able to provide you with a list of accredited breed clubs in your country who can. Check out the American Kennel Club at akc.org; the Canadian Kennel Club at ckc.ca; the UK’s Kennel Club at thekennelclub.org.uk; or the Australian National Kennel Council at ankc.org.au for starters.
Questions to ask a breeder:
A responsible breeder shouldn’t be surprised by any of the following questions or have any trouble answering them or complying with them.
- Can I visit the kennel and have a tour of your facilities? Look for spacious, well-maintained spaces. The facilities should be clean and uncrowded with room for roaming. The dogs should be able to exercise and engage with the breeder’s family as well as other dogs.
- Can I meet the puppy’s mother and father? Insist on at least seeing the mother (dam). Fathers (sire) are often on loan to, or from, other breeders and may not live on site.
- Are you Kennel Club registered? Are the puppy and its parents Kennel Club registered?
- Can I see references from families who have purchased your puppies?
- Can I see health certificates and proof of vet visits for the puppy?
- Has the puppy been permanently identified by microchip or tattoo?
- Do you provide a written contract and health guarantee for the puppy?
Questions a breeder should ask you:
- Why do you want a dog?
- Who will care for the dog’s daily needs and training?
- Where and how will the dog spend its time living with you?
- Do you have vet references? (If you’ve had previous pets).
- Will you sign a contract that you agree to spay or neuter your puppy unless you decide to show him or her?
- Will you sign a contract that you agree to return your puppy to us – at any point in the dog’s life – if you are no longer able to keep him or her?
These questions should help ensure that you are purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder and not from a puppy mill. Responsible breeders are out there. And of course, trust your instincts. If you’re not comfortable with the level of care – or anything else – at one facility, go somewhere else.
Feel good about your choice – you’ve done your research!
*This isn’t intended as an exhaustive list, so by all means, do more research!*