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Questions to Ask Before You Buy

Ask these questions BEFORE you go see the puppies because once you are there looking at them you’ll be less likely to think about what you are doing – puppies are really cute and it is very hard to walk away. Make sure you know how your puppy has been raised and make sure they have been socialized to people and they will ideally be living indoors.


Once you have gotten your puppy, take it to your veterinarian right away for a check-up so you know your pup is as healthy as possible. The more you know about you puppy, the better off you will be.


As with most things, knowledge is power.


  • How many years have you been breeding dogs?  
  • How many years have you been breeding this breed of dogs?
  • Is this the only breed of dog you have available?
  • How many litters have you bred?
  • Can you supply a customer or reference list?

If the breeder answers truthfully, you should have an idea if these breeders are legitimate or a professional breeder. Pet stores probably won't know these answers because their puppies generally come from a supplier.

  • Do you show your dogs in AKC, UKC, IABCA? Ideally your breeder is showing their dogs for an objective outside opinion. 
  • Which dog clubs do you belong to?
  • How many dogs have you bred or owned and what titles have they achieved?  
  • You can find American Kennel Club information here - AKC Titles and Abbreviations

Good breeders are usually actively competing or participating with their dogs. Pet store puppies usually do not come from breeders that are working and competing with their dogs.


  • What are the AKC or UKC registered names of the Sire (father) and the Dam (mother)? Both parents should have registration papers. When in doubt, check the details with the registering club. 
  • Why did you chose to breed these two particular dogs to each other?
  • Are there some particular physical characteristics and personality traits that you are attempting to improve in your breeding line?

Were these dogs bred because they are excellent examples of the breed with excellent temperaments or because the breeder was looking to make some quick money?


  • Which of the following genetic tests/clearances/certifications did you obtain on the parents? (There are other tests too depending on the breed of dog – do your homework to find out what you need to ask.)
    • OFA (Checks for hip and elbow dysplasia) If their information was sent in, you can check this on the internet.
    • CERF (Checks on eyes)
    • Temperament


  • What is the name and phone number of the veterinarian that has seen and cared for the puppies?
  • At what age will your puppies be ready to go to their new home? (Pups should stay with their mothers for a minimum of 7 weeks; this helps with their social development and with dog interactions.)
  • What is the price based on? You may hear any of the following responses: Pet Quality, Show Quality and Breeding Quality. If you are told they are show or breeding quality, ask how the breeder has determined this. What is the breeder’s experience showing dog? Are there lots of dogs with titles and clean health checks in the breeder’s background?


  • Does the breeder require that puppies not intended for breeding be spayed or neutered?
  • Do you have your transfer copy of the registration papers? (Contact AKC and/or UKC so you know what puppy registration papers look like.)
  • Do not pay extra for registration papers; this is a violation of kennel club rules. Notify the registering kennel club immediately if this happens.
  • Is there a money back or replacement puppy guarantee?
  • Do you unconditionally take back any puppy/dog of your breeding? Anytime?
  • Ask specifically what the breeder will do if your puppy is very sick. Will they treat it or euthanize?
  • What conditions do you need to satisfy for the breeder to take the dog back?

This should get you started on the right path to puppy ownership. As with any companion animal, be certain you are ready, willing and able to commit to a lifetime of care. Dogs are not disposable.

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Disclaimer : This is an educational web site. If you obtain information from this site, ask my opinion or assistance on health related issues, feeding suggestions and training or behavior, understand it should NOT be used "in lieu of" veterinarian's advice, diagnosis or treatment. Permission is granted to use this information for individual educational purposes only. Any other use of these materials for any other purpose violates intellectual property rights.

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