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Choosing a Reputable Breeder

After your family has decided which breed best suits your lifestyle, it is now time to choose a reputable breeder. United Kennel Club wants to provide your family with some basic guidelines on choosing a reputable breeder.

Initial Contact

Initial contact of the breeder should be by phone or e-mail. Many questions you have concerning the breed are normally answered at this time. We also urge the family to keep a written list of questions you wish to ask the breeder. Otherwise you may be are unable to recall any of the questions you want to ask when conversing with the breeder. They will probably have some general questions for you as well.

First Visit

We strongly recommend restricting the first visit to parents only. Saying no to your children when they are begging for a puppy is harder than you think. This is a time you need to be able to focus and ask questions. You should also thoroughly check out the facilities at this time. Make certain the facilities are clean, odor-free, and fresh air is available if the season permits. Also, dogs and puppies should not be overcrowded. Overcrowding can lead to unhealthy, unhappy puppies.

Choose a puppy that readily comes up to you. Its eyes should be bright, and the abdomen should not be distended, as this could indicate intestinal parasites. Puppies shouldn’t smell bad unless they are housed in less than desirable conditions. You are looking for a happy, healthy individual. Do not choose a puppy that wants to hide, or acts fearful and unsure of its surroundings. You are viewing this puppy in its own environment. If it is afraid or shy in the home it has been raised in, how will it react to your home? Another recommendation is to bring a small camera and take a couple of photos of the mother and the puppy – this way you can refer to the photo later.

Make sure the breeder is aware you have children, and their ages. Work out all the details for purchasing your puppy; when the breeder will have a puppy available for your family, what vaccines this puppy will have had, price of the puppy, etc. Before making an appointment for a second visit, verify with the breeder the type of health guarantee you will receive with your puppy. Also, request to see a sample contract, and ask for a list of references. Most breeders have this information readily available. The sample contract should clearly state that you will receive your puppy’s registration certificate at the time you take possession of the puppy. Once you and the breeder come to an agreement, set up an appointment for the second visit. At this point, the breeder may ask for a deposit on your puppy.

Second Visit

Time for the children to visit! Establish some basic ground rules for the children such as:

• Do not pick up a puppy without permission from the breeder.
• Stay in the same room you are in.
• Be polite and respectful of the breeder’s facility.

Another great rule of thumb when children are involved is to have the breeder teach the children how to properly hold the puppy, walk the puppy, foods the puppy shouldn’t have, etc.

Hopefully these basic guidelines will prove helpful in selecting the right breeder and ideally the best puppy for your family.