all questions to ask a puppy breeder

All 17 Questions You Need to Ask Your Potential Breeder

This post may contain affiliate links. Read more here.

You have decided that now is the right time to bring a new puppy home! Just like you did your research on choosing the right breed you will now need to find the best potential breeder.

You will want to make sure that you buy the healthiest and happiest puppy from a legitimate breeder but how do you know which breeder is bad and which one is good?

Before we go into all the questions that you need to ask your breeder to make the best decision, we will talk about some evaluations that will quickly prequalify the breeder.

Visiting the Breeder

Getting a puppy is such a big decision and a lifetime responsibility, so you do not want to make a buy decision through the phone.

The first contact with the breeder will probably be through platforms, email or via phone. Ask the breeder if it would be possible to check out the place where the puppies live with their parents. It should immediately grab your attention if he refuses, what should he be hiding?

He would have to have a very good reason why you cannot check out the facility before buying a puppy. It is important to see that the puppies live with their mother in a clean and warm environment. They should always be provided with enough food and water.

It is not a shame if a puppy just urinated on the ground but there is a difference between somewhat clean and neglection. Look around the property and see how the yard and the house is looking. You are not a realtor and nothing needs to be looking perfect, it just shouldn’t be filthy and mess everywhere.

Look for the Mother

Often times the father of the puppies is not owned by the breeder but the mother should always be near them. See if she looks healthy and clean and pay attention to how she behaves with the puppies if you have the chance to see her with them.

Every mother protects her puppies but if she seems extremely fearful or aggressive, this would be a sign that you should look for another breeder.

Seeing the actual place and interacting with the mother of the puppies will give you a great first picture if this should be the breeder you will be buying from, so now to the questions that you can ask them:

1. Are the Puppies Registered?

If it is not important to you then you can skip this question but registration by the Kennel Club is a must if you are buying a pedigree dog.

If one of the parents is not registered, then the puppy will never be able to be registered. The breeder should provide you with the right documents and if you are planning on breeding with the puppy, make sure that there are no endorsements on the pedigree.

2. How Old Are the Puppies?

This may sound like a silly question but you want to make sure that the puppies are between 3-12 weeks old before you visit them.

Puppies under 3 weeks are too young to be visited and the breeder shouldn’t accept a visit. I saw my puppy for the first them when she was 4 weeks old. If the puppies are older then 12 weeks, you should as the breeder for a plausible reason but the puppies haven’t been sold yet.

3. Are the Puppies Healthy?

Ask the breeder for a vet report and examination and if there have been any issues concerning the health of a puppy and if so, what was the illness and what treatment has he received?

The breeder should be able to give you a medical history on the puppies and if he will be willing to refund you if serious health problems occur in the very first weeks.

4. Health Certificate of the Parents?

Even purebred dogs can have diseases in their hereditary that they will pass on to their offspring. Ask for a health certificate of the parents and see some health tests that assure that the parents don’t have any genetic diseases that are common for the breed.

For my Rottweiler puppy, it was very important to me that the bloodline had no history of hip dysplasia as the breed is prone to this.

5. Can I See the Parents?

Like I said before, seeing at least the mother will give you a great idea about what you should expect from your puppy.

Look how big she is and how she lives and interacts with the puppies. If you are looking for a certain color or appearance of the breed then just take a look at the parents. The breeder should at least have some photos of the stud dog.

6. Can I see the Whole Litter?

Depending on what breed and size of dog you are looking for, the litter should be between three and nine puppies with large breeds having the bigger litter.

Compare the puppies in size and character to see if they all seem to be equally healthy. You will also be able to see how the puppies interact with each other and it will give you a glimpse of each personality.

One might be a bit rougher and rolling over everyone and another might be shyer and sitting alone in a corner. We knew from the beginning that we wanted a female puppy and there where only three females in the litter. Amalia was the first one that came stumble up to us and she never left our side. I guess she chose us.

7. Are the Puppies Social?

Get some information on what the breeder has been doing with the puppies regarding socialization. To give you an example, once the puppies were old enough my breeder took two each day and drove them to work or visited a friend. They lived in a very quiet area, so they made sure that the puppies still get exposed to traffic, sirens and other sounds.

They interacted with people, children, the cats that were living in the house and of course with each other. They have been in the car at least once and had time in the exercise pen in the yard every day.

8. Are There Any Limitations?

Some breeders have some limitations, for example, that you will need to be required to spay or neuter your dog. You will want to know all the requirements before deciding on the purchase.

9. Are the Puppies Vaccinated and Dewormed?

During birth, puppies usually get infected with worms by the mother so regular deworming is recommended.

How many shots did the puppies have and what will be the vaccination schedule after you bring him home? Puppies usually receive the first round of shots when they are 6-9 weeks old and the second when they are 10-12 weeks old.

You can use this graphic for your reference:

Source: VIPPuppies

10. How Is the Parents Temperament?

If you are looking for a certain type of character in your puppy, ask the breeder about the temperament of the parents. If you are looking for a calmer dog and the parents are hyperactive and need lots of exercise, you might want to look for another breeder.

What activities do they engage in? If you want to do some agility, make sure that the parents have enough energy or are even doing the activity themselves.

Keep your ears open for some potential underlying issues and see if the breeder is talking around the bush or if he enthusiastically describes you what good dogs they are.

Also ask if they have recognized any significant differences in the puppies, so you can have an easier decision on which one to choose.

11. Do You Have a Contract?

If the breeder has a contract of sale, what does it contain and does he also give you a health guarantee?

We, for example, have signed, that we will never breed with the puppy and certain requirements were outlined, how the puppy should live, how it should be treated and so on. The price of the puppy was also stated including the amount that we reserved her with.

12. What Is Your Breeding Experience?

You will want to know what experience the breeder has and especially with the specific breed. He should know all the characteristics the breed has the potential genetic illnesses.

You can also ask if the breeder is part of any breeding club or organization.

13. When Can I Take the Puppy Home?

Puppies should not be taken home before they are 8 weeks old. They need this time to develop into a healthy puppy with plenty of interaction with their littermates and their mother.

Avoid a breeder that suggests that you can take them home earlier.

14. What Are You Feeding the Puppies?

It is important to continue feeding the puppy with what he has been fed by the breeder at least for the first weeks. A sudden change in diet can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain.

The food should be off high quality, well balanced and high protein for healthy puppy growth. Some breeders can provide you with a diet plan and can help you out with any types of questions regarding nutrition.

15. Do You Have Questions?

While you are asking plenty of questions, pay attention if the breeder is interested in the potential owners too. A good breeder will have his requirements and will turn down prospects if they don’t fit.

The questions could be something like, “What are you planning to do with the puppy regarding exercise?” or “Does he have to be alone often?” These questions will show you that the breeder really cares for the well being of the puppies in the future.

16. References?

Ask the breeder if there any past dog owners that they have been sold to and call them for reference. What was there experience and how are the puppies doing?

If the puppies are from the same parents, ask every question possible to find out if this is the puppy you are looking for.

17. Do You Offer Any Support?

A professional breeder will offer you support after selling a puppy. They often have like a puppy starter kit with everything you need to know.

Ask yourself if this is a person you would come to with your very important puppy questions. Do you trust them and why would you trust them?

A responsible breeder will give you an overall good feeling. You can ask him even more questions if you like, there is not such a thing as too many questions when it comes to your future puppies well being.

I don’t want you to forget any of these questions, so I have prepared a downloadable checklist for you:

The conversation should come from both sides, the breeder should be just as interested in you as you are in him.

If you have any more questions, feel free to let me know in the comments. I wish you the best luck on picking the right companion for your life.

Get Your Free Copy!

Learn how to quickly and easily solve the 10 most common dog behavior problems!

*Your email address is protected and you won't receive any spam.

Leave a Reply