Updated: Sep 11
You should be able to ask the dog breeder questions without any issues. A responsible breeder will appreciate that you care enough to do some research. You will likely have plenty of your own questions to ask, but here are some ideas to ensure you are working with a breeder who cares.
Can I visit the facilities where you breed and house your dogs? Or can we video call? If the answer is "no," run away!
How long have you been breeding dogs? How long have you bred this specific dog breed?
What genetic issues do you test the adult dogs for before breeding? Ask to SEE the results! What tests do the puppies get before you sell them? Research the breed and find out what tests are recommended. If this breeder has not tested the dogs, you should look for another breeder. Get advice from your vet.
What type of care is required for this specific breed? Does the breed have specific needs I should be aware of?
Can I meet the litter of puppies and their mother? If the answer is no walk away. Note that it is not unusual for the father to be offsite.
What is the health and behavior history of this line (parents, grandparents)? The breeder should be able to tell you about the dogs going back a couple of generations.
Do you sell your dogs to pet stores? If the answer is yes leave immediately.
Can I see the breed registration papers for the puppies and their parents? If the breeder cannot produce these, you should leave without buying a puppy.
Can I see the veterinary records of the puppies and their parents? If the breeder cannot produce these, walk away. If the breeder has the records, but the puppies have not been vaccinated or dewormed, walk away. The puppies get their first vaccine between 6-8 weeks of age.
What happens if my dog is diagnosed with a hereditary disease? Does the puppy I buy come with a guarantee? The answer should be that the breeder will take back the dog, and/or refund all or part of the fee you paid for the dog, and/or work with you to have the dog treated (if you want to keep the dog). A good breeder wants to know if the puppies remain in good health.
What happens if I can no longer keep my dog? The breeder should tell you that you can return the dog if at any time in the dog's lifetime you determine you cannot keep it.
Can you provide references from the owners of puppies from previous litters? If no, ask why not.
Ask for the breeder’s kennel name and business name. Here in New Zealand you are covered by the consumer guarantee act if you purchase off a breeder that is a registered company.
Internet banking gives you proof of purchase and doing correspondence via email gives you a record of what you both have agreed to.
If you notice anything that just doesn't "feel right," then you should do some more research on the breeder. Here are some of the other signs that indicate you are dealing with an irresponsible breeder:
Dogs in the facility appear to be in poor health
The breeder doesn't screen you or ask questions about your home environment and the life you can provide for the puppy.
The puppies are allowed to go into homes before the proper age. 8 weeks to go to their new home in New Zealand.
They advertise or sell their puppies for greatly reduced prices
They breed dogs before the age of one
When talking to or meeting with a dog breeder, you must look at the facts, but also go with your gut. If something does not feel right, ask questions. If you have any doubts that the breeder is responsible, your best bet is to walk away.
It is so easy these days to download photos of beautiful dog areas and say “this is where we keep our dogs” download photos of dogs and puppies and post these photos saying “puppies available”.
These days we have to be extra careful.
Vet bills can be very expensive
We highly recommend Pet Insurance
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All our puppies at Free Range Pooches go home with PD Insurance.