GENERAL BREED INFO

Questions to Ask A Dog Breeder: 14 Questions to Know Your Future Puppy Better

Questions to Ask A Dog Breeder
Wyatt Robinson
Written by Wyatt Robinson

Dogs are amazing beings. Having one or more, will fulfill you, make you happy and give you a truly loyal best friend. Although they do not talk, a dog and his owner perfectly understand each other and create strong bonds. All the love, effort and energy you invest in raising a dog will return to you with unconditional love, tons of fun, moments to be proud of and not a single second of loneliness or sadness.

So, have you decided to get a dog? Wonderful! As exciting as it seems, choosing a puppy and arranging your home for a cute new resident demands some serious preparations. Are you adopting a puppy from a shelter, or are you buying a dog with pedigree? If buying a dog is your choice, have you decided what breed would be a perfect fit? Will your future best friend live in your house/apartment or outside?

You will be faced with a huge amount of questions, and you should be ready for them. After dealing with some of the mentioned questions, it is time to get prepared for making the right choice and choose the perfect puppy with whom to enjoy the life of a dog owner.

Before you meet the breeder, however, you should ensure that they’re meeting specific ethical standards with running their business. It would be best if you checked out this article on dog breeding laws to see if the breeder you’re in contact with actually cares about the breed and isn’t only focused on making a profit.

Dog breeders

The following article will offer some guidance and instructions on how to pick the perfect dog from dozens of puppies that will be presented to you. Read on and learn about what questions to ask a dog breeder so you will know as much as possible about him and the dog you’re buying.

Here are 14 questions for a dog breeder that will help you know if you’re at the right place.

  1. How familiar are you with this breed?
  2. Are both parents registered and certified?
  3. Can I meet the parents?
  4. Have puppies been treated against parasites?
  5. Have puppies been vaccinated?
  6. Did any of puppies get sick?
  7. Were they seen by a veterinarian?
  8. Have puppies been socialized?
  9. Where do you keep them?
  10. When are they available for taking?
  11. What are characteristic health problems for this breed?
  12. Guarantee and Contract
  13. References
  14. Contact

Each and every one of these questions is equally important. Asked in this order, they start to give information about the dog breeder, the parents of the puppies and eventually about the puppies and conditions they are kept in. Keep reading for a detailed explanation of every question.

How long are you working with this breed and how familiar are you with it?

Before you even see the puppies, you need to learn something about the person that is selling them. Not everyone should call themselves a dog breeder, yet, real situation differs. We face many amateur owners that present themselves as dog breeders, or even worse, people who just see dogs as a way to earn money and do not really care about them. You need a perfect combination of an expert that loves his dogs.

A dog breeder must know every specific detail about the breed and has to be able to prepare you for your new pet. If he doesn’t meet these requirements, we strongly suggest looking for a dog at another place.

Are both parents registered and certified?

It is important to make sure the puppy you are ready to pay for is actually the breed you want. If you do not check this, someone someday might ask you about those white spots on your black Labrador or why your grey Siberian husky does has a brown colored tail. Besides that, you need to take a look into the papers that show how well were they provided with medical care. This is also important if you want to have your dog registered. According to the rules, a dog may be registered as a part of a specific breed under the following conditions:

  • Both parent dogs are registered as the same breed
  • The dog breeder is registered as the dam owner
  • The dog breeder is the one who applies to register puppies.

Registering your dog has no downsides, and owning a pedigree will provide you a look into your pet’s family history.

Leopard dog

You will also be allowed to breed it and register its future offspring and you may take your dog to an official show and participate in competitions. Don’t forget that in order to enjoy these benefits, you too have to be registered as an owner.

Can I meet the parents?

Basically, puppy’s parents are an image of how your canine will look like as a grown up. Dog’s parents are the best source of information about the color, size and temperament of your pup and those may be decisive factors when resolving whether to take it or not. It is not a rare case that the dog breeder is not the owner of puppies’ father. You should insist on seeing both parents as attributes of the father are equally important as those of the mother.

Have puppies been treated against parasites?

Providing essential health care in their earliest stage of life is extremely important for puppies. Clearing them of parasites such as stomach worms takes just a few dollars and two tablets (or shots) and every dog breeder is responsible for this. A stomach that looks swollen, bigger than normal, is one of the indicators they are infected with stomach parasite which can often lead to fatal consequences if not treated.

Other symptoms of parasite presence are diarrhea, vomiting, losing weight and licking under its tail. Check for these signs even if the dog breeder told you he treated them. Control of worm-carrying pests like fleas and keeping hygiene on a high level is a great prevention.

Are they vaccinated?

Every whelp must receive its first vaccine and re-vaccine at the age proposed by the vet, usually somewhere between 4 and 6 weeks of its life. The vaccine provides vital protection against numerous threats that are hard to cure and possibly lethal.

The DHLPP vaccine is kind of a shake, a mixture of many important vaccines that protect your dog from a long list of diseases: Canine distemper (potentially lethal), canine parvovirus (80% fatal), viral hepatitis, canine influenza and many more. It is of grave matter that their mother too is regularly vaccinated. Don’t forget to ask for proof about this from the dog breeder. To learn more about these essential vaccines, please read this article on puppy’s first shots.

Did any of puppies get sick?

Healthy litter is a perfect place to get your new pet from. It may happen that one or two weaker puppies get sick or even pass away, and that does NOT mean the rest of the puppies should be avoided, on the contrary, those that are stronger survive, and you should look for the happiest looking one, the most active of all puppies.

Did a veterinarian see them?

A dog breeder who cares for his puppies is going to arrange a vet to see them and their mother. His opinion and evaluation of the puppies matters a lot and looking into it is a great source of information.

Have puppies been socialized?

Dogs learn from the first moments they are born and socialization in their earliest stages of life is extremely important. The time spent with other dogs and humans will help them adapt and get used to their presence and positively affect their future behavior around people and other dogs. You don’t want a dog that will turn out to be aggressive to other dogs or the one that is afraid of any people other than you.

In the earliest stage of life, puppies have no developed fear. The period between 3 and 12 weeks of age is when they will investigate and approach anything. Using that to meet every kind of people of different ages and looks will result into a friendly, well socialized dog.

Little puppies

Socialization is a process that lasts for a dog’s entire life span, but the first year of its life is when it’s best to focus on this. Owning a dog that is not tolerant to other dogs, does not allow other people to pet him, or that is terrified of cars passing by is a really difficult experience for both the dog and the owner. This stage is very critical in a puppy’s life, and you can see how by reading this article on puppy socialization.

Where do you keep them?

This is another factor that shows how much does a dog breeder actually care for his whelps. Any indicator that the seller is owner of a “puppy mill” or a “dog farm” means that you should turn your back and report this person. Honest, loving and dedicated dog breeders are a place to look for a pet. Are they kept indoors or outside on the cold? Are they properly fenced or allowed to roam free? Is the place clean? I can’t stress enough how important all this is.

When are they available for taking?

This one is simple. A puppy is ready to leave its mother between 7 and 9 weeks of age. If you are allowed to take it earlier, that is a sign of a careless dog breeder who just wants to get rid of them as soon as possible. You too should not insist on taking it before it grows old enough as dogs develop and learn crucial habits and behavior from their mother.

Breeder bottle feeding

First two months of dog’s life must be spent with their mother and other whelps to prevent appearance of anxiety, noise phobia, aggression and other unwanted behavior.

What health problems are characteristic for this breed?

Dogs are responsibility. You need to know the most common health problems that may occur and what to do to prevent them. Think about whether you are able to afford a proper health care for your dog. For example:

  • Bulldogs often face respiratory problems;
  • Siberian Huskies are more likely to develop a variety of autoimmune disorders that affect their skin;
  • Under exercised Labrador Retrievers often present risks of cardiovascular problems;
  • German shepherds are at risk of eye problems and hip dysplasia;
  • Kidney or bladder stone is a common problem for Dalmatians.

Every breed will require you to focus on prevention of a specific problem. Learn about the breed you have chosen and the best ways to prevent health problems from happening.

Guarantee and contract

Hopefully, you will not need to use this option, but it is still necessary to make some kind of written, legal agreement between you and the dog breeder. In case your puppy gets seriously ill, or even dies, shortly after you brought it home, and the cause of that is mistreatment of a person who sold it to you, you must get a refund. Also, what if you decide not to keep it anymore? Would he accept the dog into his home if you, for any reason, want to give it back? Think about it and talk this through with the dog breeder.

References

If a friend recommended you this person, there is no need to ask for this, but if you found him in an ad in your local pet store, a paper or online, you should ask for references and check what experience did his previous customers have.

A dog breeder should be a person that can be trusted. A good thing to check for is if he is a member of a breed club and find out what kind of reputation does this dog breeder have there.

Contact

This is a must. You need him to be available for any information you might need about your new dog, at least for first couple of months. Veterinarian and your dog breeder should be on your speed dial and willing to help whenever needed.

All this is a part of your preparation process and it is important that you acquire as much information as possible.

Puppy taken from recommended dog breeder

If you think of any other questions to ask a dog breeder that might be important – ask! Don’t wait for a problem to emerge, prevent it from happening. Find information about your breed, about the best way to treat and train a puppy. Fully prepared for your dog’s arrival will only leave you to enjoy a wonderful experience of raising and owning a dog.

About the author
Wyatt Robinson
Wyatt Robinson

Wyatt Robinson had a great 25-years career as a veterinarian in United Kingdom. He used to be a member of British Veterinary Association and worked in 3 pet hospitals in London and Manchester. He is shining when he sees his pets healthy and full of energy and it is his duty to help other dog owners to keep their best friends full of life.

  • Liz Fraser

    I’ve heard some ‘horror stories’ from my friends who encountered dog mills. It was bleak and they were almost fooled when they found a better reference from another friend. As for me, while dog breeders are a good place to find your pups, I’d rather go to the shelter since there are a lot more dogs who need a loving home. This is a good guide nonetheless but shelter dogs need love too!

    • Wyatt Robinson

      Dog mills are the sad part of breeding dogs, all for the sake of generating money. This has to stop, that’s why aside from adoption from shelters, we are also encouraging responsible purchasing and ownership for both old and new pet parents.

  • Charlotte Queens

    It’s better to go to the breeding kennels to buy a pup so you can see if the place is clean. You’ll also see if the dog parents are healthy or if there are sickness manifesting already at the adult stage.

    • Wyatt Robinson

      I agree, Charlotte. Ocular inspection is a must for potential pet parents to make sure the puppy they will be getting is coming from a well-kept kennel facility. Also, it is best to ask probing questions on how the pedigree has been developed to give you a clearer picture on how its parents have been raised.

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