Questions to ask a breeder


Once you have a found a breeder, you must be sure to ask plenty of questions. This will not only help you learn more about your potential new puppy but will also help you determine if the breeder is reputable and trustworthy. If you’re worried you won’t know what to ask or will forget your questions, why not print our suggested questions off and take them with you when you meet with the breeder?

Can I meet the puppy’s parents?


You should always be able to meet the puppies’ mother and see it with the litter. If the breeder won’t allow this, there may be a health problem with the dog that the breeder doesn’t want you to know about.

Is the puppy kennel club registered?


While being Kennel Club registered is not a guarantee that the breeder is reputable, you won’t find a good breeder that isn’t registered with the Kennel Club.

Has the puppy had its vaccinations and been dewormed? Which vaccinations are still required?


If the puppy isn’t up to date with its vaccinations it shows the breeder has not been paying careful attention to its health. This is a very bad sign.

Is the puppy micro chipped?


Most good breeders will ensure that the puppy has been micro chipped before it leaves its mother and goes home with you.

Has the litter been healthy?


A good breeder will not breed unhealthy dogs and will not sell sick puppies.

Do you have any references?


A personal recommendation or two from people who have previously bought puppies from the breeder will go a long way in helping you determine whether or not the breeder is reputable. If the breeder refuses to give you details of references, ask them why they are so reluctant.

What are you currently feeding the puppy?


By knowing this, you will be able to get prepared for bringing the puppy home and buy the dog food that it is used to.

What is the breed line’s family history?


Reputable breeders will not breed dogs which carry inherited diseases.

How has the puppy been socialised?


You will want to hear that the puppies are given plenty of human interaction and playtime throughout the day.

Where are the puppies kept and reared?


A good breeder will have subjected the litter to plenty of interaction and socialisation by raising the puppies in the family home.

Will you provide written advice on puppy care? Will you provide aftercare?


Reputable breeders want to ensure that the puppies they’ve raised will go to good homes and will be well taken care of. This means they will make themselves available to offer help and support to you when you take your puppy home, and some breeders will often give you an introductory pack with information on caring for your new pet.

Are there any inherited conditions in the breed which I need to monitor?


Some breeds are more prone to certain disorders or illnesses than others. Your breeder should be able to tell you about these and how to look out for them.

How old are the puppies?


If the breeder is trying to sell very young puppies then they are not reputable and care more about making money by selling them quickly than creating healthy litters.

How old is the mother?


Dogs should not be bred before they are two years old.

When can I take the puppy home?


The best age to take a puppy home is at 12 weeks as they are ready to be away from their parents and stable enough not to find it too traumatic.

How many litters has the mother had?


It is illegal for a dog to be bred more than four times in its lifetime.


Beware of Backyard Breeders


A backyard breeder is someone who recklessly breeds dogs to make a profit or for ‘fun’. They have little to no experience of breeding dogs and don’t know how to care for a mother and her litter. They are usually unregistered. Backyard breeders give little consideration to animal welfare or their responsibilities as breeders.


There is no exact definition of a backyard breeder; it could be someone who decided to breed their family pet because they like puppies and thought it would be enjoyable to have a litter in the house, or it could be someone ignorantly breeding litters with the hope of selling them to turn a profit. One thing all backyard breeders have in common is they give no thought to the health, genetics or bloodline of the dogs. If a backyard breeder can’t sell the litters, they will ultimately abandon them.


You should always avoid buying from a backyard breeder. The puppies are often inbred which makes them particularly prone to disease and genetic illness, as does the fact that they are usually subjected to terrible living conditions and have a lack of veterinary care, exercise, play, good quality food and affection.


If you are hoping to buy a pedigree then you won’t find one with a backyard breeder. Dogs show a distinct lack of breed standards due to a complete ignorance of selective breeding.


On the occasions where you may find a good looking breed, it is likely that it was bred for appearance and temperament and health were not taken into account. Some toy dogs are bred to be incredibly small and are nicknamed ‘teacup dogs’, which leads to a wealth of health issues.


In addition, some breeders will create litters for unscrupulous reasons such as dog fighting, and you will be funding their activities while encouraging further backyard breeding should you buy from them.


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