Section one is designed to help you rule out breeders that you do not want a puppy from. If you like the breeders answers to the questions and it feels good to interact with the breeder, they can be added to your keeper list. Any that didn’t answer questions to your satisfaction, you didn’t like the answers to their questions or don’t feel right, or maybe don’t come across as knowing their dogs, can be crossed off your list for further consideration.
Breeds for temperament and health first and foremost.
Does health screening testing on their puppies’ parents (and ideally grandparents). What specific tests these are depend on the breed. Common things they look for are eyes, hips, elbows and heart. There are also medical problems that may not be tested for but you can ask if they are present in the lines: epilepsy, allergies, thyroid etc. Research what the breed's common genetic weakness are before approaching a breeder. They will give you copies of the applicable test results for you to verify yourself. These tests are done on the parents not the puppies.
Be a member in good standing of a breed club.
Membership in a breed club is a good sign if the breeders follow the club guidelines for breeding. Find out what the breed club’s guidelines are and ask the questions if they do the specific requirements (health checks etc). Ask the breeder do demonstrate that they follow the club’s guidelines, it pays to be diligent.
RETIRES FEMALES FROM BREEDING AT A REASONABLE AGE FOR THE BREED.
Usually after no more than 3 to 4 litters in her life.
Will not breed a female or male until s/he is physically mature (2 years old for most breeds).
Will not breed a female any more often than every other heat cycle (unless they can state reason to do so such as recent studies).
Sells you a puppy or dog directly from their home environment and not sold through brokers or pet stores.
Will not allow you to take your puppy home until at least 8 weeks old.
The ideal time to remove a puppy from its litter and mother to becoming a well-adjusted dog is between eight and nine weeks.
By this time the puppy has had a chance to begin to develop both dog social skills needed as an adult and develop bite inhibition (the ability to control the amount of pressure he bites with). Bite inhibition is critical later on when the dog is faced with a situation that puts them over threshold and he is forced to bite. A dog with bite inhibition is more likely to bite softly than a dog that has not developed bite inhibition. Taking the puppy home at this age, gives you 3 to 4 weeks to grow the puppy's brain through socialisation and environmental enrichment. Taking a puppy home much later than this reduces the amount of time for you to expose the puppy to the people, animals, places and events (that you need him to be comfortable with later in life) during the sensitive socialization window. For most breeds, by 12 weeks the window is already closing and socialisation window has declined by 16 weeks.
Getting a puppy over 12 weeks of age requires that you rely heavily on the breeders (or previous owners) efforts at socialisation. Are you willing to take that risk? if yes, get a list of everything the puppy has been positive exposed to. Also ask about any fear issues that may have shown up in that period.
Provides a guarantee on their puppies.
That is, if a genetic health defect occurs in the first year, they typically will either pay for part of all the vet bills (depending on what the issue is, how much you paid for the pup and if you played a contributing factor), replace the dog with another puppy of similar value (in the case that the dog needed to be humanely euthanised with the prior knowledge and written permission of the breeder), or give you a refund for the dog.
Raises puppies in the house underfoot.
This location is critical for maximum brain development so you want to make sure you can see where they are raised. (Look for cleanliness, indoors, accessibility to family life, people and noises, other family dogs, access to different surfaces and environments (indoors and out)). Ensure multiple daily (brief) positive handling, play and interactions with people of all ages (their family and friends) from the time they are born.
Puppies that are raised by one sex only, away from the family in the garage or outdoor building like the shed, barn or kennel, do not have the desired exposure that a great family dog needs.
Starts gentle handling training
Paw handling for nail clips, ear checks, hands on all over for grooming and vet visits, etc.
Practices age appropriate socialisation and stimulation
In addition, the breeder should make a conscious effort to bring in people of all ages sizes shapes wearing different clothing with different voices and different ethnicities as possible without disrupting or stressing the puppies.
Encourages you to visit regularly to help socialise the litter to people once the puppies are older than one to two weeks.
They may ask you to clean your shoes in a solution or that you refrain from visiting if you have been with other litters in the last few weeks to prevent spread of disease.
Have completed at least one vet visit
Where puppies receive first inoculations and a look over by the vet before they are taken home.
Will provide lifetime support for their dogs.
This means they will be available by phone or email for help in raising the puppy through the various life stages, make training referrals, provide support for health issues etc. This also means that should you need to be unable to care for your dog and need to re-home him or her, they will either take the dog back and re-home it or help you to place the dog directly.
All puppies will be registered and Will not charge you extra because the puppy is registered.
Do not allow cost of the pup to decide which breeder you choose. A good breeder may cost less than a poor breeder (you see this with popular or rare breeds). A mixed breed pup is usually cheaper than a purebred, but if the history of parents or pups is unknown it is not a bargain and you may have to pay the cost of this later. The purchase price is small compared to the long term costs of owning a dog, even if it is an expensive dog.
Price is a personal thing for the breeder. It is usually based on a combination of stud fees, health tests, vet bills to pay for mother and pups, average litter size, breed popularly or rarity of the breed, titles on parents etc. If the breeder is a member of a breed club, they may set the price range for puppies.
Be careful how you handle asking about the price and when. Don't start off with that. Work it in the conversation and only near the end if you feel you want to pursue this breeder. If they feel that price will be your main criterion, a good breeder will lose interest in you as a potential owner.