This is Part 2 of a post that was inspired by Jodi Stone over at Heart Like A Dog so in this part I will touch on some questions that a breeder may ask potential puppy buyers. These are only my opinion and some other breeders may have additional questions or opinions. When you are looking at purchasing a pure breed dog it is advisable to research the breed first and then research breeders. I think it is important to find a breeder that you feel you can work with and you are comfortable with because this will lead to a good working relationship for the betterment of the puppy.
There are reputable breeders and those who are not and the best way I know to tell you how to know the difference is to talk with them and schedule a visit to their home/kennels and see how the animals are cared for and condition of the animals. Reputable breeders are usually very happy to have you come over and talk dog with you and love to show you their dogs. They are very knowledgeable about their breed and can answer most any question you have. If you talk with someone who is very vague or does not want you to come to their home/kennel then that may be a red flag and you will probably want to look elsewhere. There is also word of mouth, if you know someone who has a breed you are interested in ask them where they got their dog and what their thoughts are on the breeder. However as I said earlier the best way is for you to go out and meet them and see what they have to offer, for me I like to hear what others say but I like to form my own opinions from first hand experience.
So here are some questions the breeder may ask you if you have shown an interest in one of their litters, this can be done in a questionnaire form that you fill out and return to the breeder or it may be when you talk with them on the phone or visit their kennels/home; now these are in no particular order so here goes…
Why do you want this breed?
The breeder just wants to get an idea of why you are interested in their breed in part to make sure it isn’t a passing whimsy.
What reference material have you read on this breed?
Here’s where if you have done your homework you can impress the breeder with your knowledge and they can clear up any gray areas so to speak. But even if you haven’t it doesn’t mean they won’t sell you a dog they just want to see what you know already and thoroughly educate you on their breed. I personally am a research freak and want to know as much as I can before hand if possible and then let the expert fill in any gaps.
Have you had any exposure to this breed?
Again they are trying to see if you have just read about the breed or if you have been able to actually see and be around the breed before.
Describe the ideal dog for you (and your family)
This is how they will be able to help you in the selection of a pup that will be a good fit with you and your family. For example if you tell them you are very laid back people and like things quiet they will obviously not steer you towards the most exuberant puppy in the litter. Depending on the breed they may also suggest you look at another breed.
Do you consider yourself experienced in raising dogs?
The breeder wants to see how much knowledge you have in raising dogs so they can best help you with the rearing of one of their dogs. If you have never had a dog before they will usually have suggestions on training; I gave extensive information in my puppy packet on socializing, house breaking, what to have when you bring the pup home, leash training, crate training, etc. And don’t be surprised if they tell you their breed is not for first time dog owners, because there are many breeds that are not. So again do your homework!
Type of dwelling
The breeder wants to know where you live so they know what type of dwelling the dog will live in because again depending on the breed some dogs would not do well in an apartment or a place where they did not have a yard to exercise in.
If renting, please give name, address and phone number of landlord. Are you allowed pets? May I contact to verify?
The last thing the breeder wants to happen is for the person to take the dog home and then call you to say they can’t keep them because the land lord said no animals. I would think that anyone who has cleared it with their land lord would not have a problem with giving the breeder permission to verify.
What type of environment would your dog live in?
Will the dog be kept in the house, will you be raising them as part of the family, will they be kenneled outdoors, if so do you have proper housing for them, shelter from the elements will it be a combination of both, fenced yard, etc. How many hours a day will he be left outside alone? Every breed is different and some thrive better out doors and some don’t. These are all very important to the breeder because they want to make sure you have the proper environment for the dog.
Does anyone in your house have allergies to animals? If yes, to what and how severe?
Again the breeder wants to make sure the dog is not put in a situation where they will be returned because of this. When you are looking for a dog and you have allergies or someone in the household does please consider that may be a potential problem if the allergies are severe. I worked in a vets office years ago and a woman brought her cat in to be euthanized because she was allergic, the kicker to this is it wasn’t the first cat she had and she said she just wanted to see if she was still allergic. Oh and by the way we would NOT accommodate her.
Do you have children? If yes, what are their ages?
Some breeds are not as good with children as others so again knowing some facts about the breed before hand will help you to determine if this is a breed you should consider and if you are not sure the breeder will help you with that.
Do you have other animals?
There may be some breeds who do not get along with other dogs or cats or same sex may be an issue.
Are you interested in a male, female, no preference?
This is just a very general question and for me I never had to ask because the potential buyers always said right up front what they wanted.
Do you plan to spay/neuter your dog?
A lot of times this is spelled out in the contract what the breeder expects you to do as far as altering your dog and what is a good age to do so.
How many hours a day will your puppy be left alone?
We all have to work but the breeder wants to make sure you are able to provide adequate care for a very young pup. Young pups need to be taken out fairly frequently to potty because their little bladders can only hold it for about an hour to every month old they are after 12 weeks of age before that they have no control. If you are going to be gone for long periods of time every day for your job maybe now is not the right time for a dog. Dogs are social creatures and need their human companions for more than a couple hours a day.
Who will be the primary caregiver?
To me this is one of those questions that if I hear oh the kids will do everything I would not feel comfortable with that. Having the kids be a part of care giving is great but being the sole care givers is usually something they are not ready for.
What activities are you interested in sharing with your dog? ___Pet/Companion ___Hunting ___Obedience ___Conformation ___Hunt/Field Tests ___Service Dog ___ Breeding
This will assist the breeder in helping you with the right puppy for your lifestyle. They have spent time with the pups and know the personalities of each one so they can place them in the appropriate homes.
Do you plan on attending obedience classes with your puppy? If no, how do you plan on training your puppy?
An inexperienced dog person would benefit from classes and the breeder will be able to explain this to you and what type of training the dog will need. If you are experienced in training, great, however getting the puppy out to socialize will help them and the breeder wants to know how you will do this. In fact for some breeds, such as Chesapeake’s, socialization is a must!
Have you considered an older dog / rescue dog instead of a puppy?
Maybe you really don’t have time for all the training required for a puppy and an older dog would be a better fit, generally they are already house broke and may have some basic obedience, sometimes breeders have older dogs available and there are plenty of wonderful older dogs in shelters / rescues that would love to have a forever home so don’t get hung up on a puppy if you aren’t ready for one. Puppies are a lot of work so be prepared for the long haul!
There are many more questions that a breeder may ask but this gives you an idea what you may be asked and why. I know I have said this countless times but good reputable breeders take the homing of their puppies very seriously and they put the welfare of the pups first.