Choosing a Dog Breeder

I had a question come in via e-mail that I thought a lot of people might be interested in, so the writer, Colleen, very graciously allowed me to post it.

Hi Beth,
My husband and I are interested in purchasing a dog from a breeder. What are some of the things we should know before hand. The breeder is registered with AKC. What are some of the questions we should ask the breeder?
Thank you


At a minimum, you should ask to see the parents.  Sometimes they will not both be on-site, but at least the mother should be.  The purpose of seeing the parents is that you can get a general sense of their health.  If you are lucky, the breeder will take you to the kennel area when showing the parents, which means you can check out the living  conditions.  Run, don’t walk, away if the conditions are not clean, adequately heated/cooled, and humane.  You can also see whether they breed several breeds or specialize
in just one or two (which is usually better).  Check to see how many dogs they have who are pregnant or still nursing.  Ideally, they will space out their litters, especially for each mama, rather than breeding each dog every time she comes into heat.

Ask to see the vet records for the parents, including an OFA certification for hip dysplasia and a CERF record for eye problems.  Also, make sure that the parents are up-to-date on their shots and that initial puppy shots and worming have been done on the puppies.  If you are buying a breed with a docked tail or other alterations, you might ask if the breeder does these procedures himself, and ask to see where, so you can make sure the facility is clean.

Depending on whether or not you plan to show the dog, you will want to discuss the breed standard, and how the breeder tries to further the quality of the breed. Ask to see breeding records so you can see that he is making an effort to prevent in-breeding and to try to bring out certain traits or suppress others.

Follow your instincts.  If you get a bad feeling about a breeder,it is probaby best that you don’t buy there.  A good breeder will also want to ask you questions to make sure his dog is going to a good home.  He may also have a waiting list, indicating that he doesn’t overbreed just to make money.

Thanks for writing, a good luck!  Let me know when you get your little bundle of joy – I’d love to see pix.

P.S.  Do you mind if I post your question and my response on the site for others to see?

Thank you so much and yes feel free to post my question. May I ask one more how do I determine what price is appropriate for the breed?

The way I’ve always done it is to check with several breeders and see what they charge.  I rarely take the highest or lowest price.

One other thing.  Once you have several breeders’ prices, you may be able to negotiate with the breeder you have chosen for a puppy you really like, telling him that you can get a similar dog at a lesser price and would he be willing to come down some?  Also, some (but by no means all) breeders will give you a price break if you are buying with no intention of breeding your puppy.

Until next time,

Good day, and good dog!

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2 thoughts on “Choosing a Dog Breeder”

  1. if your choosing a dog breeder make sure it has papers. Ask to see the vet records for the parents, including an OFA certification for hip dysplasia and a CERF record for eye problems. Also, make sure that the parents are up-to-date on their shots and that initial puppy shots and worming have been done on the puppies.

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