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3 min read

Finding a Reputable Breeder Checklist


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Finding a Reputable Breeder

Use this checklist to help you recognize a reputable dog breeder among the many possibilities available. This checklist is to be used as a guideline only. Some of the questions may not apply to you or the breeder you choose. Remember that you are selecting a pet that will be with your family for many years to come. Expect the process to involve research and planning, and you will be delighted with how well your new puppy fits in with your lifestyle.

  • Ask to see the sire and dam of the litter.
  • May I see the sire and dam of the litter? (Expect to only see the dam, as the sire is usually off-site.)
  • What is the temperament of the parents?
  • What flaws do the dogs have?
  • Are the kennels clean?
  • Are the dogs happy and healthy?
  • How much time are the dogs in the kennel?
  • Do outdoor kennels lead to a climate-controlled area?
  • Does the breeder interact with the dogs both in and out of the kennel?
  • Are the dogs allowed into the breeder’s house?
  • Are the parents shown competitively?
  • What titles do they have?
  • What breed clubs is the breeder involved in?
  • May I see the pedigrees of both parents? The breeder should explain the pedigree to you.
  • Ask about any genetic diseases or congenital defects that may affect the breed.
  • What genetic diseases or congenital defects affect the breed? What, if anything, are you doing to lessen the chances of common defects in your line?
  • Are the parents registered with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) Hip Dysplasia Registry? What are the OFA numbers and ratings for both the dam and the sire?
  • Can I see the paperwork for the parents’ tests on hips (OFA or PennHip), eyes (CERF), and thyroid?
  • What inoculations have the puppies had? If none, will they have their first set of shots by the time they are placed? Can I see the paperwork from the vet?
  • Can I have my own vet examine the puppy prior to making a commitment?
  • Learn more about the contract and guarantee.
  • Can I see the contract? Can you explain the details?
  • Does the contract include terms in case the puppy develops a genetic disorder?
  • What happens if the puppy dies or must be euthanized due to illness or disease?
  • Does the contract include a spay or neuter clause?
  • What if I choose to breed my dog in the future? Are there special guidelines for potential breeders regarding testing and show requirements?
  • What kind of AKC registration is available with the dog – regular or limited?
  • Do you offer a return policy in the event that I am unable to keep the dog?
  • Request the names of previous puppy buyers and other references.
  • How many litters a year do you produce?
  • How many litters are on site?
  • Where were the puppies raised?
  • How much interaction have the puppies had (or if they are younger than 4-weeks-old, how much socialization will they have?)
  • Can I have a list of names and phone numbers of other buyers?
  • How many previous buyers do you still talk to regularly?
  • How long have you produced this breed? Have you worked with other breeds?
  • Find out if the breeder will help you in selecting the perfect pet for you.
  • Will you help me pick the right puppy for my lifestyle?
  • When will the puppies be ready for placement? How old will they be at this time?
  • Can I call you with any questions or concerns after I bring the puppy home?
  • Can I expect you to call and check on the puppy?
  • Will I be notified if any of the other puppies develop unexpected temperaments or disorders?


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