When deciding to purchase any animal. It is important to know as much information as possible to live up to its full potential. And not have health issues down the road because of something they were inadvertently exposed to too early in life. It’s also crucial that if there are any problems with vet care, etc., it can be addressed immediately instead of waiting until it becomes a larger problem. I’ve outlined 10 questions for you to ask a breeder when considering purchasing a pup or dog from their kennel in this blog post.
Not sure which question you should ask a breeder first? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page.
Here's what we'll cover:
- #1 Do you know the medical histories of all the parents (or sires and dams) of your puppies?
- #2 What kind of vet care do they get?
- #3 How long have they been breeding dogs?
- #4 Are there any diseases that run rampant through their kennel?
- #5 What are the parents’ colors that will be producing a litter for me to purchase from them?
- #6 What is the size and age of the parents that will be producing a litter for me to purchase from them?
- #7 How many litters do your dogs produce each year?
- #8 How long have they been breeding dogs?
- #9 What type of vaccinations does a puppy need before it can come home with me?
- #10 What’s the breeder return policy?
- Questions to ask when buying a puppy online
#1 Do you know the medical histories of all the parents (or sires and dams) of your puppies?
This is the first question you should ask a breeder. You want to be sure that all parents are healthy and well taken care of, so you need to know their medical histories.
#2 What kind of vet care do they get?
The second question usually asked is, “What kind of vet care do they get?” Again, this needs to be in the parent’s best interest and health, so it is important to ensure excellent care. It could be as simple as an annual check-up or shots or more complicated, such as surgery or treatment for illnesses.
#3 How long have they been breeding dogs?
After asking questions about the parent’s health, you will ask questions about the breeder’s experience.
#4 Are there any diseases that run rampant through their kennel?
Do all of their animals get tested for them? What are some basic things I should know before buying a dog from them?
This is essential information because it tells you how experienced and knowledgeable the breeder is. It also gives you an idea if this person has ever had issues with quarantine, animal welfare violations, etc. This would be your time to decide whether or not this breeder really knows what.
#5 What are the parents’ colors that will be producing a litter for me to purchase from them?
Make sure you know which color is dominant in their gene pool. If they have been breeding only one or two breeds, there may not be enough diversity, leading to health problems down the road.
#6 What is the size and age of the parents that will be producing a litter for me to purchase from them?
Make sure you know how big their adults are. You don’t want small pups growing up into large, unhealthy adult dogs.
#7 How many litters do your dogs produce each year?
For a dog to be mature and healthy, it needs at least two years old before reproducing. Ideally, make sure puppies have had three years of age until reproduction because some diseases need time to manifest themselves.
#8 How long have they been breeding dogs?
The breeder should have paperwork detailing the lineage of their dogs. You will want to ask them about how long they’ve been breeding before you buy a pup from them. If they have been breeding only one or two breeds, there may not be enough diversity, leading to health problems down the road.
#9 What type of vaccinations does a puppy need before it can come home with me?
I am not an expert, but at the very least, your pup needs three types of vaccination before he can come home with you: Distemper, Adenovirus 2 (Hepatitis), Parainfluenza (type 3), and Bordatella. Puppies need four doses of these vaccinations, administered at the first visit and days 3 and 10 after that.
In addition, your puppy needs a rabies vaccine which will ensure his protection against future animal bites. The rabies vaccine is typically given at 18 months old. Still, it may be given earlier based on jurisdiction regulations or per vet recommendation.
Make sure your breeder of choice is aware of this and acted upon the recommendations.
#10 What’s the breeder return policy?
This may not be something they are willing to discuss with you if it is a private breeder, but some will have a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. And you definitely have to ask about the return policy.
Questions to ask when buying a puppy online
In my opinion, the best way to buy a puppy is in person with no internet involved. That way, you get to see and meet a real dog breeder before committing to what may be forever for both of you!
But these are some good questions to ask a dog breeder when you are being shown puppies from the phone or through the internet:
- Does the dog come with papers?
- What breed is it?
- What is the family history of this breed, and how healthy are these dogs?
- Should I buy this puppy if it’s unhealthy at birth?
- Is there any health guarantee on the puppy?
- Can you find me another puppy but at the same price and sex as this one in case we want to have two puppies in our home (especially for pet parents with small children)?
- What will you do if my puppy dies?: If your pup gets sick, can they be taken right away to get vet care, or will it just die because its genetic disposition has already been?
- Are these puppies registered with any organizations or clubs like the AKC, and how old were they when they achieved registration?
- What are the breeds’ general health profiles? Many dogs out there can’t breathe because of their heavy coats – how does yours fare?
The most important thing to ask a breeder (whether you are buying a puppy online or in-person) is whether the parents were tested for genetic diseases and what those tests revealed. A reputable breeder will be happy to provide this information and should have been clear about any issues before breeding their dogs in the first place.
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