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What Questions Should I Ask of a Responsible Dog Breeder Before Buying a Puppy?

Purchasing a puppy is a big responsibility, and finding a responsible breeder is crucial to ensuring that you get a healthy and well-bred puppy. To ensure the best possible chance of getting a healthy and happy puppy, it's important to ask the right questions of the breeder. A responsible breeder should be more than willing to answer your questions and provide you with information you need to make an informed decision. Here are a few questions you should ask.

Can You Tell Me About the Puppy's Parents?

Knowing about a puppy's parents can provide insight into what the puppy's temperament and health may be like. Ask the breeder about the parents' breeds, ages, and health history. Find out if the parents have been screened for any genetic health problems.

Many breeders keep their dogs in Guardian Homes so their breeding dogs aren’t always available. Not being able to meet the parents isn’t always a red flag. A guardian home for a dog breeder is essentially a foster home which provides a safe and loving environment for one of their pet dogs to live in. It's similar to an adoption, except the dog remains legally owned by the dog breeder. Dog breeders use guardian homes to make sure the puppy they have bred lives in a caring family environment, so they can be socialized, house trained and loved. The benefit for the dog is that they can enjoy all the benefits of having a permanent, loving family without living in a kennel and later being retired to a new home after their breeding career is done.

Do You Do Health Testing, If So, What Tests, and Can I See Them?

Responsible breeders will have their breeding dogs screened for possible inherited diseases, and they should be able to provide paperwork or evidence of these tests. Any reputable breeder must have tests done on their breeding dogs to ensure that no genetic health concerns can be passed on to their puppies.

Do You Have Any Certification or Accreditation for Breeding or Working With Puppies?

A responsible breeder will have some credentials to show that they are knowledgeable and educated. They may have certification through a dog breeding organization, which may provide them with additional learning opportunities and connections within the dog breeding community. They can be certified through an organization like GANA, which has breeding standards and code of ethics. Or they can be certified in training and behavior.

How Much Experience Do You Have?

It takes time and practice to become an experienced breeder. A more experienced breeder will know more about raising, socializing, and training puppies. This can improve the chances of producing healthy and well-adjusted puppies. If a breeder is just starting out, you can ask if they are working with a knowledgeable breeder mentor, and you can check out that mentor to see if their values are what you are looking for. You will usually pay less for a puppy from a less experienced breeder but you should also not expect the same level of decision making and puppy raising that you would from an experienced breeder.

What Are Your Breeding Goals, and What Makes Your Breeding Program Different?

Responsible breeders should have a clear set of goals that they're working towards with each breeding plan. They should be able to tell you about their breeding programs and their goals for their puppies. They should also be able to provide information on what makes their program different from other breeders.

Asking these critical questions while searching for a responsible dog breeder will help ensure that you are acquiring a healthful, delightful, and well-bred puppy. Remember, a puppy isn't simply a pet, it's a member of your family that you will enjoy for years to come. By spending time researching potential breeders before finding a puppy, you significantly increase the chances of selecting a responsible breeder who can provide you with a loving and healthy new family member.


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