Important Questions for the Dog Breeder

Puppies Siberian Husky. Litter dogs in the hands of the breeder. Little puppies.

Don't forget your questions whilst looking at cute puppies.

Have you found your favourite breed? Then you can surely hardly wait to be able to take a small puppy home with you. But to avoid nasty surprises later on, you should only buy your chosen pedigree dog from a reputable breeder. You can put this to the test with the following questions for the dog breeder.

Never support untrustworthy breeders

Once you have seen a cute, fluffy puppy happily wagging its little tail and looking at you curiously with loyal eyes for the first time, it’s often too late for rational decisions. Unfortunately, untrustworthy animal traders know this too and hope to make a quick buck with sick, anxious and poorly socialised puppies.

Even if we should actually know that this trader is untrustworthy, we need to at least give one of their innocent dogs a better life by buying them. But be careful, because by doing so, you do neither yourself nor the animal a favour and are supporting the illegal puppy trade.

Why are questions for the dog breeder so important?

You surely want a healthy dog with a strong character that you and your family can enjoy for many years. You definitely won’t want to think about behavioural disorders, diseases and frequent trips to the vet.

But you will have to contend with exactly that if you buy a puppy from the car boot of any breeder focused on quantity over quality. It’s not uncommon for veterinary costs to hugely exceed the price paid for the puppy. Last but not least, with your purchase you support the criminal machinations of the animal trader, therefore the animals’ suffering will continue.

So be sure to choose your puppy breeder carefully. A reputable breeder chooses their breeding animals carefully based on prescribed criteria, with the health and strength of character of the breed always at the forefront. By excluding sick dogs or animals showing undesired behaviour, a breeder ensures that the breed can live on. Moreover, they ensure that you will get a puppy without cause to fear nasty surprises.

Questions for the dog breeder: Before the first visit

If you have a found a breeder offering puppies of your desired breed, you’re best off asking them the first important questions as soon as you establish contact.

This gives you an immediate first impression of whether going to see the puppies is actually worth it. In addition, some questions for the dog breeder may be forgotten in the excitement of the first encounter.

Are you a member of a breeding club or association?

Ask the dog breeder if they are a member of a club

Reputable breeders are usually organised through an official pedigree dog club. If this is a recognised dog breed, the club will be affiliated with a higher-level association (the VDH in Germany). So ask the dog breeder about membership. If you look online for a breeder, you should ideally only contact breeders whose addresses feature on the website of the breed association.

Is there a family tree and vaccination record?

Ask the dog breeder for the required paperwork

Dogs from an officially recognised breed are registered and have a family tree. Associated with this are various suitability assessments and health tests on the dogs permitted for breeding. In addition, the club or association in question ensures that the mother dog gets sufficient rest between litters, for instance.

A trustworthy breeder will have all this paperwork to hand. Take a close look at the certificates and family tree on your first visit and ask the breeder questions. A breeder usually chooses the stud dog very carefully and will certainly be happy to justify their choice to you if asked.

Why have you chosen this breed?

Ask the dog breeder why they have chosen the breed

Breeding pedigree dogs requires plenty of heart and soul, because you won’t get rich from this highly demanding hobby. So a breeder will have good reasons why they have decided to breed the breed of their choice. What makes this breed so special in their eyes? What do they value about working with these dogs?

You can learn a great deal about the breed in conversation with an experienced breeder. Check whether your reasons for choosing this breed are in line with the breeder’s experiences. Questions for a dog breeder with years of experience with the breed are often very revealing and cannot be replaced by any breed description in books or online.

Ask the dog breeder about price and a purchase contract

What does a puppy cost and is there a purchase contract?

Of course you will also have to discuss business matters with the breeder and the purchase price that they request for their puppies will undoubtedly interest you. Pedigree dogs usually cost between 800 and 1,200 euros. However, it can be significantly higher depending on the breed, breeder and demand.

You should be skeptical if the price is significantly below the average. A breeder invests a great deal of time and money too in their dogs. They take them to the vet, take examinations, have them vaccinated and dewormed, take females to the stud dog, provide sufficient food, care and activity and take part in further training. A price of around 1,000 euros is therefore justified and if asked, the breeder will surely be able to explain to you exactly how this price is reached.

A reputable breeder will also only give away their dogs with a purchase contract. As well as the agreed purchase price and the breeder’s and buyer’s contact details, there will also be important information on the breeder’s liability and the dog’s identifying features, such as breed, sex, stud book number and the puppy’s chip number.

If all these questions for the dog breeder have been answered to your satisfaction, it’s time for your first visit to see the puppies. On the one hand, the breeder will also want to scrutinize you and on the other, not every puppy is right for every person. During a face-to-face visit, you can ask other important questions about the puppy’s living conditions and see the mother dog in the flesh too.

Hundwelpen beim Züchter © sushytska / stock.adobe,com
A good dog breeder won’t show you their puppies in the park or at a service station.

What questions for the dog breeder are important on the first visit?

As captivating as the sight of little puppies may be, definitely keep your eyes and ears open during the first visit and listen to your gut instinct. Ideally make a list of the questions you have for the dog breeder, otherwise you may forget some important points in the excitement.

Will you show me your breeding site?

Get the breeder to show you the puppies’ home

A trustworthy breeder will voluntarily show you their facilities and where their dogs live. Make sure during the inspection that the breeding site is clean and the puppies grow up in a light, spacious, heated and friendly environment.

Sufficient water, toys and a close connection to the breeder’s family should also be provided. Breeders usually don’t have puppies all year round or several litters at the same time in order to be able to adequately take care of the mother and each of the small dogs.

Does the dog breeder take time for you?

May I look at the puppies alone?

If the breeder currently has puppies at home, they will certainly show you these cute furballs with pride. Even if your heart skips a beat at the sight of the bumbling canines and you’d really like to take them all right away, you should take as close a look as possible at them.

Do the puppies appear in good health and is their area clean and well maintained? What does their fur look like and how do the little ones behave? Puppies are by nature open, curious and keen to move around. But if they show no interest at all in your visit, lie apathetically in the corner, appear anxious or possibly have a bloated abdomen, you should definitely refrain from buying them.

Can I see the mother?

Ask the breeder about the mother

For an optimal start to life, puppies should stay with their mother for at least eight weeks. This is even a legal requirement in many countries. If the young dogs live with the breeder and the mother isn’t present, this is a sign of a dubious puppy trade.

Of course, some criminal traders know this and show their clients a random adult female dog when asked about the mother. So take a close look and observe how the female dog behaves towards the puppies. If she shows absolutely no interest in them and even pushes them away, she probably isn’t the mother.

Pay attention to the relationship between the mother dog and breeder. Is there a close, loving and friendly bond or does interaction appear rough and defined by mistrust? In this case, you should start looking for another breeder.

Have the puppies already seen a vet?

Have the puppies been vaccinated, dewormed and microchipped?

Breeders are obliged by breeding associations to vaccinate their puppies in good time. At eight weeks, they are vaccinated against hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, kennel cough and distemper. Ask to see the vaccination record, check it is genuine and that all compulsory vaccinations are registered.

If you are already in contact with the breeder before the first vaccination, you can even ask if you can accompany them to the vet. Also ask for the name and address of the vet in question and find out if the puppies are microchipped and have regularly been dewormed.

What are the puppies fed?

Ask the dog breeder about the puppies’ food

The right diet plays a crucial role for the health of puppies. In the first few weeks, they still receive all essential nutrients from their mother’s milk. From three to four weeks, however, they have to gradually get used to eating on their own. Small puppies need two to four times as much energy and nutrients as adult dogs. This means that they need a special puppy food perfectly tailored to their needs.

A trustworthy breeder ensures with a high-quality puppy food that puppies get all required nutrients in the right quantity in order to grow healthily and avoid later complications. The dog breeder will certainly willingly give you information on your question about food and will recommend you a diet plan for the puppy’s first weeks in its new home.

Ask the dog breeder about socialisation

How do you socialise puppies?

The first weeks of a dog’s life are crucial for its later life. Close contact to its mother, living with its siblings and intensive care from the breeder and their family shape a young dog. This all ensures that it can live the rest of its life confidently and free of fear.

In the first few weeks, a puppy should get to know plenty of things that it will later encounter in day-to-day life: other dogs, different people, children, noises from kitchen devices, cars or motorbikes. Successful socialisation is essential for a dog forming a balanced, fearless and strong character. However, it is important not to overwhelm little dogs.

A trustworthy breeder usually has a plan for how they will socialise their puppies in the first few weeks. They will be able to explain to you exactly what the puppies have already become accustomed to you and to what extent you should continue the young dog’s socialisation at home and in everyday life.

Are further visits welcome?

May I come back?

A dog is a huge change in its owners’ lives, so acquiring a pet should be well thought through. A breeder will support you throughout this important decision and will never coax or even push you into making a purchase. Moreover, they will explain to you in detail what dogs of this breed need, how much exercise they require, whether they cope well with small children and what demands they pose in terms of care, diet and training.

It’s quite normal and even recommended if you don’t decide whether to buy a puppy during your first visit. Ask the dog breeder if you can see the puppies again in order to get to know them better.

Welpen beim Züchtern fressen aus Futternapf © muro /
Also, ask the dog breeder what they feed the puppies.

What questions does the dog breeder have for me?

Breeding pedigree dogs requires plenty of dedication and commitment from the breeder. If a breeder’s heart isn’t in it, they probably won’t be able to put up with the strict conditions imposed by the breeding commission, breeding warden examinations, long hours at breeding exhibitions and sleepless nights with pregnant females.

A breeder of course earns some money when they sell their puppies. But compared to the amount of work they put in, you soon realise that breeding is primarily about love and maintaining the dog breed. Anyone who invests so much naturally wants to know that their beloved puppies will be happy in their new home.

So don’t be surprised if the dog breeder asks you plenty of questions about your circumstances, work and future plans. In fact, take this as a positive sign that you’re in good hands with this breeder. The better the breeder gets to know you, the better they can assess and whether the breed in general and which puppy in particular is right for you and your life.

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