Choosing a breeder

Tips on choosing a dog breeder

We’ve put together a guide to choosing a puppy from a reputable breeder. How to spot possible puppy farms, what questions should you be asking and choosing the right puppy for you.

Responsible breeders

When making contact with a breeder they should spend time chatting to you on the phone, and will be happy to answer all of your questions but also they should also be asking you questions to ensure you can provide one of their puppies a good, loving home. They should then arrange a time for you to visit the litter of puppies in the place they have been born and raised. When visiting, the mother of the puppies and the siblings should all be present and the breeder should be happy to have more than one meeting to ensure you and the puppy are compatible.

The breeder must be able to provide genuine paperwork for pups vaccinations, microchipping (a legal requirement), worming and results for health tests as well as the health checks carried out on the pups parents. They should also be able to show you their Local Authority license if they are breeding and selling pets as a business (to make a profit).

Irresponsable breeders

A breeder should never rush you into parting with cash in exchange for a puppy, you must feel comfortable with the commitment.

The breeder should ensure the mother is present when you visit, If mum isn’t there, then it is very likely the puppy wasn’t bred there. Excuses such as she is ‘at the vets’, ‘asleep’ or ‘out for a walk’ or any other reason is a red flag.

They should not offer to deliver a puppy to you or meet you somewhere random like a car park, even if this is more convenient for you by cutting travel time, you should see the puppies home environment along with the rest of the litter and mum.

If you notice any potential health concerns, the breeder should not say ‘it’s normal for the breed’.

The breeder should not have excuses for not having the relevant documents for health checks, flea, worming and vaccinations. They should not use kennel club registration (or parents KC registration) as a substitution or guarantee of health and happiness of puppies.

Tips for spotting a healthy and happy puppy

When viewing a litter it is important to ensure that the puppies you are choosing from are in good health, a reputable breeder will not and should not sell any puppies with health concerns. Proof of health checks carried out by registered veterinarians should be provided by the breeder upon request, however, problems could arise after checkups so it is important you look out for the following:

– The eyes should be clear with no redness or dirt.

– The ears should also be be clean with no smell (this could indicate infection or mites).

– The nose should have wide open nostrils, be slightly wet and cold to touch.

– Breathing must effortless and quiet, no coughing, grunting, wheezing or snoring.

– Skin should be clean and dry, with no signs of sores. Look for fur that’s soft with no sign of fleas or other parasites and the bottom should be clean and dry under the tail.

– The mouth must be clean with white teeth and pink healthy gums.

Your chosen puppy should be active and friendly. First time owners could especially be advised to avoid a puppy that appears afraid as there is a possibility that they will be more likely to experience behavioural issues later in life.

The puppy contract

Once you are happy you have found a good breeder and have chosen a happy and healthy puppy, a good breeder should be happy to provide you with a Puppy Information Pack and contract for the sale and purchase of a puppy.

Remember, if something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.

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