5 Questions to Ask a Breeder Before Buying a Dog

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Purchasing a new pup for your family is a big decision. You need to research the right breed, consider your family dynamics, and make sure that all family members are on board with sharing the responsibility. Once you’ve determined that your family is ready to become pet owners, it’s time to choose a breeder or adoption agency. If you decide to adopt, you’re giving an animal in need a loving, nurturing home. Purchasing your dog directly from a breeder is another option and often used by those seeking purebred pups. But there are several things to consider before choosing a breeder and some questions you should ask. Here are 5 helpful tips to get you started on your search for the right breeder.

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1. Ask About the Puppy’s Parents

Puppies are a direct reflection of their parents. The more you know about the puppy’s parents, the more you’ll know about the dog you’re about to purchase. Reputable breeders know everything there is to know about the litter’s parent pups. It doesn’t hurt to meet the puppy’s parents also. Take note of whether or not they’re in good health or seem well-cared for. The demeanor of the puppy’s parents can also offer insight into how your pup might act once you get them home. Are the parents shy and quiet or aggressive and hyper? Although most puppies are full of life and energy, they still have unique personalities. Some are more docile while others forceful. You may also notice health complications or issues with the puppy’s parents and can inquire about specifics during your visit.

2. Get the Medical Background of the Puppy and Litter

Breeders are required to perform certain medical procedures and veterinarian check-ups on their puppies before selling them. It’s important for you to find out exactly what vaccinations and medical treatment your new puppy has received prior to purchase. Find out what shots the puppy has received and when it’s due for more. Ask if the dog has been dewormed or suffered any illnesses since birth. You can also ask if there are any hereditary illnesses you should know about. You can also ask if any puppies from the same litter have been sick. This could indicate an underlying health issue. Find out about the puppy’s demeanor while visiting the vet. Are they anxious or excited? Depending on where you live in relation to the breeder, you may choose to keep the same veterinarian.

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3. Ask About Socialization

While most puppy’s are purchased between the ages of 8 and 10 weeks, this still offers ample time for them to become socialized. Ask the breeder if your new puppy has had any experience around other dogs or people. Socialization for puppies is almost as important as for humans! Puppies need to experience different people, places, and pups. Ask the breeder about the dog’s experiences including their reactions and demeanor. Find out the details about their socialization like the ages and breeds of the other dogs they were around and the ages of the children. This is especially important if you’re purchasing a puppy for your family that includes young children.

4. Read the Breeder’s Contract and Agreement

Just like buying any other product or service, purchasing a new puppy from a breeder is a legal transaction and should include a detailed contract and agreement. Be sure to look over the entire document before signing and address any questions, concerns, or misconceptions prior to agreeing to the terms. The contract should outline things like the breeder’s guarantee, stipulations, and return/refund policy. Ask about transportation, as well. If the breeder is a far distance from you, will they transport the pup or do you need to pick it up? If they offer to transport your pup to you, what is the cost? Learn more about these services here. Ask about a health certificate and a certificate of sale. While all breeders have a different method of selling their puppies and working with buyers, certain states require specific paperwork and a process to follow. Make sure that your breeder is adhering to these guidelines.

5. Ask for References

Any reliable breeder will have no problem providing you with references and contact information for previous buyers. If the breeder refuses to provide this information, it may be a red flag. If they do willingly hand over contact information for previous buyers, take the time to call these individuals. Ask about the health of their puppy and the buying experience with this specific breeder. Inquire as to whether or not the breeder upheld their end of the agreement if they were easy to work with, and accommodating. Just like online reviews, previous customers will tell you a lot about the breeder you’re dealing with. If you choose a breeder who is a first-time seller, you may get a discounted price on your pup but may sacrifice peace of mind over their experience.


If you’re ready to bring a purebred puppy into your home, you’ll likely turn to a reputable breeder. But before choosing the first one you find, be sure to do your research and ask plenty of questions. After all, buying a new puppy is a big investment and you should be informed and comfortable before moving forward.  

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