Reputable Breeder Facts
|Checklist of Potential Questions to Ask Breeders
Remember, you are bringing in a new member of your family for the next 10 to 15 years. This is not like shopping at
Wal-Mart where you can pick up a name brand at a bargain price.
Where did you find out about this breeder?
(Reputable breeders don't usually advertise in a newspaper and never put a sign out in their front yard).
Do both the sire and dam have hip clearances from the OFA or another acceptable registry?
Ask to see the certificates; “My vet Okayed the x-ray” is not a valid clearance. Take time to research the parent's
clearances on www.offa.org -- you can even find information on clearances for the grandparents, siblings and
Are both parents at least 2 years old? Final hip clearances cannot be obtained before that age through OFA.
Preliminary Clearances before age two may be obtained, but have been known to change when final clearances are
done at 2 years of age. (Note: The BVA & Penn-Hip have different age requirements than OFA).
Do both parents have current eye clearances from an Ophthalmologist or a CERF certificate (Canine Eye Registry)?
This must be done every 12-18 months.
Do either parent have other clearances -- Elbow, Heart, Optigen (PRA-Eyes)?
(Specific to Labradors as Labs have been known to have problems in these areas)
References -- remember, reputable and less than reputable breeders will both provide you with excellent references.
Will the breeder take the dog back at any time for any reason if you cannot keep it?
Is there a written guarantee against congenital health or temperament problems?
Read the guarantee closely, having both parents and all four grandparents who have passed their clearances is worth
more than a written guarantee.
Will the breeder be available to answer any question you might have for the life of the dog?
Is the breeder knowledgeable about the breed? Are they involved in competition (conformation, obedience, field, etc.)
or other positive activities with their dog?
Will the puppy have a limited registration with a mandatory spay/neuter contract?
How often is the dam bred?
This can be a mis-leading question. More important is how many litters has the dam whelped. This will give you a more
accurate indication of how often this girl is bred.
Are the sire and dam available for you to meet?
Quite often, the sire resides elsewhere. Sometimes in another state or another country. Ask if it would be okay to
contact the stud owner.
Where have the puppies been raised?
Socialization for a puppy begins at 4 weeks of age, they need human contact. Puppies that are raised without high
exposure to gentle handling, human contact and a wide variety of noises and experiences OR are removed from their
dam or litter mates before 7 weeks of age may exhibit a wide variety of behavioral problems.
Does the breeder provide you with a three or five generation pedigree, a contract to sign, copies of all clearances, a
health guarantee, health records, and material to help you with feeding, training and housebreaking?
Have the puppies temperaments been evaluated and can the breeder guide you to the puppy that will best suit your
Do the puppies seem healthy -- no discharge from the eyes or nose; no loose stools; no foul smelling ears? Are their
coats soft, full and clean? Do they have plenty of energy when awake yet calm down easily when gently stroked? Do
they have their first shots and have they been wormed and vet checked by the time they go to your home?
Does the breeder have only 1 or 2 litters at a time?
If there are many dogs and many puppies, the chances are the breeder cannot devote the time it takes to raise a
properly socialized puppy.
Does the breeder belong to a breed specific club or a local all-breed club?
Do you feel comfortable with this person?
You are entrusting this person with one of the most important decisions you will ever make. If you are feeling
intimidated or pressured, keep looking. Remember, trust your instincts! Finally, don't be afraid to tell the breeder you
need a few days to decide.