Questions to ask a dog breeder

When visiting a dog breeder, it is best to prepare a list of questions to ask although plenty more will probably occur to you while you are chatting. Make sure you cover the important points including:

  • When was the litter of puppies born?
  • How old is the mother?
  • How many litters, if any, has she had previously and how often is she bred from? The mother should not have spent her life in pup, she should have had regular breaks from breeding.
  • How long has the breeder been breeding dogs, why, and the reason for this litter?
  • Can I see both parents? You may not be able to see the sire (father) as many breeders choose to take their bitch to the sire, and don’t own the dog, but a photo will probably be available.
  • Have both parents been screened for hereditary diseases the breed is known to suffer from? This is vital in many pedigree breeds.
  • What are the puppies’ temperaments like? This can be difficult in the early stages, but the breeder will probably be able to point out the greedy pup or the noisy one.
  • Are the pups used to other people and pets? They should be handled regularly and introduced to household objects early in life.
  • Have the puppies been wormed?
  • Are they vaccinated and microchipped? Vaccination programmes start around seven weeks of age.
  • Are they insured? Some breeders can offer an extension to their Kennel Club breeders policy which can be passed on to the new owner.
  • Can you see all relevant documentation including worming, screening, pedigrees, and registration papers? Check that the name matches that of the breeder.
  • Are there any dogs from previous litters that you could see to get an idea of how they turn out?
  • Will there be any support and advice from the breeder if you have any problems?
  • Will the breeder take the dog back should you find yourself unable to keep it for any reason?
  • What type of written guarantee and contract is provided? Don’t expect a guarantee but most breeders will take a puppy back should a health problem be detected within the first 24 hours of ownership.