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15 Essential Questions to Ask a Dog Breeder (Updated in 2023)

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By Nicole Cosgrove


Suppose you’ve decided to find your puppy through a breeder. It’s essential to ask any potential breeder these necessary questions, as it’s vital to work with a reputable breeder. Be sure to make an appointment beforehand as most breeders work from their homes. The following questions should help you determine if the breeder and their dogs are right for you. Here are the top 15 questions to ask a dog breeder before committing:

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The 15 Questions You Need to Ask a Dog Breeder:

1. How long have you been a breeder?

This is a good preliminary question as it will give you an idea about what kind of experience the breeder has. You might want to follow up on this question by asking if the breeder is involved with any dog clubs or dog sports and how much experience they have with the breed you are interested in. The more the breeder knows about these dogs, the better.

2. May I see the health certificates of the parents?

The breeder should have the health certificates of all of their dogs available upon request. A good breeder will have all of their dogs tested for any genetic health issues commonly found in these purebreds. You also want to be sure that the parents are in generally good health.

Cute puppies
Image credit: Sugarlove7714, Pixabay

3. May I see where the puppies are living?

This is an important question as a responsible breeder will have nothing to hide and should be willing to show you where the puppies and adult dogs reside. Is everything clean and well taken care of? The state of their dogs’ living space will tell you a lot about the breeder you are dealing with.

4. When can I bring my puppy home?

A good breeder will not let their puppies go home with anyone until they are between 8 and 12 weeks of age. All puppies need this time with their mothers and siblings in order to mature and learn proper socialization. Taking a puppy home before she has developed enough will impact on her temperament and personality.

5. Do you have a guarantee?

This might sound like an odd question for a puppy, but if you take your puppy home and discover a serious health problem, you need to know what your options are. Also, if you run into a situation where you are unable to take care of the puppy, you’ll need to ask the breeder what their policy is in reclaiming the puppy.

White Puppies
Image credit: balouriarajesh, Pixabay

6. Will my puppy be seen by the vet before I take her home?

The puppy should have been dewormed and had her first set of vaccinations as well as a regular physical exam before going home with you. The breeder will provide you with your puppy’s health records and information on following up with your own vet for the puppy’s next set of vaccines.

7. Are the puppies registered?

If you’re interested in buying a purebred, the breeder should register their puppies with a Kennel Club and will have a certificate available for you as well. You can also request to see the parents’ pedigree certificates if you’re interested.

8. May I see the entire litter?

This will allow you to observe not only if they are well taken care of, but also how they all interact with each other. This will also give you the opportunity to see if there are any health problems and how they all compare in size, color, and temperament. Besides, who doesn’t want to cuddle a small army of adorable fluffballs?

Coton de Tulear puppies
Coton de Tulear litter of puppies | Image credit: Needpix

9. What kind of socialization have the puppies had?

Puppies receive proper socialization in the first few months of their lives but should be introduced to other dogs and people at around 12 weeks. You need to find out if the puppies have been in a household, and the breeder should provide you with information about the different environments and interactions your puppy has had and how she has reacted to them.

10. May I meet the parents?

Not all of the puppies’ fathers will be on-site, but the mother should be available for you to meet. You can observe the parent’s temperament and how healthy they are. You can also ask the breeder about whether they have had any major health issues throughout their lives. Watching the parents interact with your puppy will also allow you to see their relationship. Is the mother antagonistic or gentle, and is the puppy hyper or calm?

11. What is the puppy’s diet?

Knowing what food your puppy has been eating is important as you’ll want to feed her the same food for at least a couple of days once you take her home. Some breeders might provide you with a diet chart and a sample of food when you pick your puppy up.

chihuahua family
Image credit: Teerasuwat, Pixabay

12. May I call on you when I need help?

A good breeder will encourage you to be in contact with them for any advice, questions, or concerns you may have. The breeder is an expert on the breed and should be an excellent resource throughout your dog’s life.

13. Do you have any references?

The breeder will have no issue with giving you a list of references that should include veterinarians they have worked with and previous customers. Speaking to past customers about their own experiences with the breeder and their viewpoints on their dogs will give you a valuable second opinion.

14. Which of your puppies would suit my family best?

Good breeders will have been interacting with their puppies every day and will develop insight into all of their puppies’ personalities. Once they’ve understood what you’re looking for and the dynamics of your family, the breeder should have a good understanding of which puppy will be the best fit for your family.

bulldog puppies
Image credit: kim_hester, Pixabay

15. Do you have any questions for me?

A reputable breeder will have many questions for you as they want to ensure their puppy will be going to a good home. They will need to see that you have prepared for the puppy with supplies as well as in your general home environment. Any breeder that doesn’t quiz you or seems to care more about the payment rather than giving their puppy the best home possible should be avoided at all costs.

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Final Thoughts

Asking a dog breeder these questions will help you not only find a good dog breeder but also understand your puppy better before you bring her home. Any breeder that shows reluctance or refuses to answer any of these questions should be considered suspicious and needs further investigation or complete avoidance.

Responsible breeders will give you a healthy and well-socialized puppy. This will make a huge difference in your puppy’s behavior and happiness when you bring her home to meet her new family.

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Featured Image Credit: varjag, Pixabay

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