You’ve found a perfect breed that compliments your family, your lifestyle and your personal preferences. Now it’s time to find a breeder to raise your new family member until you bring it to its fur-ever home!

Before you commit to a breeder’s contract, invest your heart and soul into your new pet, and the time and money it takes for obedience classes and vaccinations, it’s essential to make sure that you’re asking the breeder the right questions. We’ve compiled a few to get you started, but remember, a good breeder will ask you questions, too!

How long have they been breeding?
Being a breeder for a lot of years isn’t necessary, but using this question as a starting point can ease any nerves and lead to other questions, like what lead them to breeding and how long they plan to continue. Establishing a rapport with your breeder is important. You will inevitably have lots of questions as the time progresses, so it’s smart to open up lines of communication in case there is a problem.

Where was the litter whelped?
Basically, you’re asking where the puppies will be or have been raised. Whether the answer is in a house, garage, or backyard kennel, this answer is very important! Puppies need to be well socialized prior to welcoming them to your family. Additionally, they should be kept away from anything outside that could carry germs. The ideal answer to this question is that your new puppy has been raised inside the home and has had contact with both people and animals.

Ask to see at least a four-generation pedigree of the litter.
This may seem like a foreign concept to you, but if the breeder knows their stuff, they will have one ready and generally can tell you about the various ancestors.  A good breeder will be able to talk to you about longevity, health and beauty in their lines. It’s also a good idea to ask to see the parents, but understand that the stud may be from outside the breeder and not available to see. Regardless, make sure to ask about both parents’ personalities and mannerisms, as your puppy will likely inherit similar traits.

What age do they let their puppies go?
Most veterinarians and dog breeders agree that puppies shouldn’t be separated from their litter before reaching eight weeks of age.  In some states, this may even be a law. Dogs that have been removed from their litter too early can have behavioral problems such as destructiveness, excessive barking, attention seeking, and fearfulness of noise.

What kind of guarantee do they offer on the puppies?
Though there’s no doubt that you will love your new family member no matter what, this is a vital question to ask! Being saddled with huge vet bills or a sick puppy due to breeder neglect is not fun. In addition to finding out what the guarantee covers, you should also ask how long it is in effect. A good guarantee is usually good until around two years of age. You should also find out what is required from you.  For example, some breeders will require you return the dog to them for your replacement.

What are some other questions you would add?

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