Are you thinking about getting a puppy from a particular breeder soon? Although it can be hard to resist those puppy eyes, don’t let it distract you from carrying out the necessary research. Before you get a puppy off a breeder’s hands, ask the following questions first.
1. What is the puppy’s breed like?
A legitimate and capable breeder is knowledgeable about the dog breeds they specialise in. As such, do not hesitate to ask them questions. Inquire about the positive and negative aspects of your prospective puppy’s dog breed. Ask questions in terms of health and training suggestions. The breeder should be passionate about the specific dog breed and should be happy to answer your questions.
2. Before getting a puppy, can I personally see the doggie parents, especially the mother dog (dam)?
Seeing the mother dog will give you an idea of how your puppy will turn out in terms of appearance, size, and overall temperament. The visit will also reveal how well the breeder takes care of his dogs.
Whilst it is better to see both parents, some breeders do not own the sire and use a stud service. However, you should ask for the complete details of the father, including photos or videos.
3. How old is the mother dog and how many litters has she already had?
According to the UK’s Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999:
(1) Dams should be over 1 year old but not older than 8 years old;
(2) Should not whelp more than 6 litters in its lifetime; and
(3) Whelp two litters in less than 12 months.
Age and frequency of giving birth can affect the health of both the mum and the puppies.
4. Have the parents been tested and certified?
Certain breeds are often at risk for hereditary conditions. As such, it is important for dogs to be evaluated, tested, and certified by a vet first. Make sure you research the breed thoroughly before your visits so you know which genetic illnesses it is prone to.
5. Can I see the entire litter?
It is vital to see all the puppies in the litter to check their health condition. They should be bright-eyed, approachable, and not fearful. If the breeder insists on showing you only one puppy, consider that a warning sign. That is unless it is the last puppy left in the litter, and it is already older than 9 weeks. Puppies should stay with their mother until they are at least 9 weeks old.
6. Have the puppies been initially dewormed and vaccinated?
Puppies are generally born with worms and should be dewormed routinely. Failure to do so can cause serious illnesses and even death. Some types of worms can also infect people and other animals.
Puppies need to be vaccinated as early as 6 weeks to ensure that they do not catch deadly diseases. The core vaccines include canine distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, rabies, and adenovirus, which are given at different ages.
7. Can I have recommendations from previous clients?
Reputable breeders will gladly put you in touch with the people who have acquired puppies from them in the past. It’s a good practice to speak to other dog owners apart from validating the breeder’s reputation. You can also ask questions in terms of how to better care for the puppy. First-hand advice from someone who has done it already will be very insightful.
8. Do you have a breeder’s contract and what are your guarantees?
Ask a copy of the breeder’s contract in advance, and take time to study it before putting a deposit down. The document should include details on the payment, the turnover of the pup and his care, and health guarantees. It may include a clause that makes you promise to bring the dog back to the breeder. If you cannot care for him at any point in his life, the breeder must accept the animal’s return. Check whether there is a provision that assures you will be refunded if the pup later shows a genetic condition.
Invest time and effort to ensure that your puppy is from a reputable breeder. When you do so, you can expect to have a long and enjoyable journey with your new canine companion.
If you are looking to adopt a puppy, take a look at these available pets for adoption.