Questions to ask Dog Breeders, anyone advertising puppies, or facts you need to know.
When people contact me about my puppies, I love it when they ask me lots of questions. It shows they are not impluse buying, and are really thinking about the puppy and or breed they want to purchase. I always tell my clients, the more questions the better! I tell them to contact other breeders as well, to help them be certain who they want to purchase a puppy/dog from. I have been asked many, many times by puppy clients what they should be concerned with. Here are some questions to ask prospective Breeders,to help you pick the breeder you want to buy the next member of your family from.
When I say Breeder, that can be from someone who does this for a buisness, or someone who has only produced one puppy.
1. Do first impressions really matter??
I say Yes they do. What kind of feeling did you get when talking (phone,email or in person) to a breeder? How comfortable did you feel and how easy was it to get information from the breeder?
2. Should a breeder tell me about health problems??
Yes!!!!! and Yes again. If asked, a breeder should be able to tell you the major health issues of the breed. They should also be doing Health Testing for those problems. They should have proof of the tests, not just give you lip service about it, and freely give you the name of the Vet that did the Health Tests on their dogs. Some breeders might not have all their dogs done at once, but they should be in the process of doing all of their parent dogs, as soon as they are age appropriate for the tests. They should be doing everything possible to make sure they are not producing the problems in their lines. There are 5 Major issues with Bostons, and a breeder should be testing for all, if not making sure that they do the top 3. the Certified C.E.R.F Test for eyes, the B.A.E.R. Test for ears, the OFA Certified Patella Test on the legs, the Juvenal Cataract Carrier DNA Test, and another one that is becoming important is the exam for HemiVertibrae.
3. Should a breeder give a health guarantee??
If the breeder is doing all they can to produce healthy puppies, they should stand behind them. A health guarantee is a great way to do that. Assurance for you and for the breeder.
4. Can a breeder guarantee my puppy won't have worms??
No, But a breeder should have a good shot and worming program that they have talked over with their Veternarian, or other educated, experienced Breeders. Puppies can contract worms when nursing from their Mother and can also be born with them. If the breeder follows a good program, the chances are your puppy will be clean, but that is not always the case. As hard as you might try, puppies in a litter do things like eat poop, or dirty newspaper bedding and other things that can re~infest them. All dogs and puppies have another parasite called Coccidia present in their bodies,and when understress this bug can take over and cause loose poop or diarrhea to the point of some blood in it. What more stress is there than going to a new home. That is why some puppies break with it after going to a new home when they did not have it before they left. Giardia is another bug that can be easily contracted as a puppy in a litter. Some breeders do preventative medications for these bugs before the pups go home, but that is not a guarantee either.
5. Can my kids, myself or other pets catch these bugs??
Humans can catch internal parasites on their own from dirt, food and other sources. It is pretty hard to catch them from your pets. The Canis Coccidia is not transferable to humans. If you have good hygene practices (washing your hands after cleaning up after your pets) you should not catch Giardia from them either. I do not ever let my pets kiss me on the face or mouth. Usually your other pets if they are older will be ok as well.
6. How can I tell if my pets have these parasites??
The breeder should always recommend you have your Vet do a stool sample test when you take the puppy for it's Puppy Check to be sure. You may or may not ever see any parasites. Your puppy might drag its rear end on the ground, or have loose stools.
7. Can I switch my puppy's food if I dont like the puppy food my breeder recommends, and should the breeder give me some food??
Yes, the breeder should give you some of the food the puppy is used to when you pick the puppy up. It is my advice that you do not switch puppy food for at least a month after the puppy comes home. Your Puppy will already be under stress coming to a new home, don't add more to it all at once. When you do switch foods do it slowly. At first add 10% of new food to the old, give it a few days and then add 20% of the new food to 80% of the old, a few days later add 30% of new to 70% of the old and so on and so on until the puppy is 100% on the new food. The breeder should also tell you how often the puppy should be eating and drinking. With little puppies they need to eat at least 4 times a day to keep their sugars up, if not have free food all the time, especially if you are going to be at work all day and there is no one to feed it.
8. Are there any health problems I should know about with the Colored Bostons??
The Color Specific problems I know to look out for with the Colored Vs. Traditional Bostons, besides the other Breed Health problems mentioned above, is a Syndrome call Blue Dog Syndrome or Alopecia. Dilute Colors (Blue and Lilac/Champagne) have less hair per square inch than black,brindle or red dogs. When breeders breed dilute to dilute, especially if they are from generations of dilute colors, the chances are higher that the puppy could get this condition as they grow older. Ask the breeder what color the parents are, and ask to see pictures. Ask what color the grandparents are on both sides as well, and pictures if they have them. If the breeder continually breeds dilute to dilute be aware, as you cannot usually tell this condition until the dog is older. The best way to try to insure they won't have Alopecia, is to breed a dilute(Blue or Lilac/Champagne) to a dilute factored black/white or red/white. Breeders that don't care about this will continually breed dilute to dilute to produce as many dilute puppies that they can. Another thing to keep in mind is that the breeder will make more money this way and it is always good to question them about their breeding plan or keep an eye on their websites to the patterns in their breeding. Fawns tend to be more prone to Uni and Bi Lateral Deafness so make sure your puppy is BAER Tested or at least both parents have been. Creams have a HIGHER incidence of Juvenal Catracts so make sure the parents have been JVC DNA'd Clear. Reds tend to have more dog aggression (you know those red headed tempers LOL ).
9. How can you tell if a breeder has a good breeding plan??
Watch their site and their advertising. What is the pattern? What is their goal? Do they continuously breed dilute to dilute to produce all dilute puppies? (Remember dilute puppies sell for more than most traditionally colored puppies). Do they breed all their females over and over again to the same male or the hottest colored males they happen to own? Do they even have traditionally colored dogs, or are all the hottest most expensive colors? Do their dogs have faults? Are they willing to tell you honestly their dogs faults? Can they tell you the purpose of each breeding they do, and how both parents compliment each other and how they should improve on each other? Will they tell you how many times they have bred these dogs together? Do they health test?? Do they pay stud fees to breed to other dogs that they don't own to improve their dogs and their lines or do they just mostly breed to the males they own? Do they wait to breed their females until they are over a year and their males until they are a year as well, or do they breed them younger? How many times in a row do they breed their females?
10. The breeder seems to have a lot of dogs and a lot of puppies. They say they are not a kennel Is this a danger sign?
It depends. What does the breeder do with the dogs? Do they just breed them? Do they compete with them in Conformation, Fly Ball, Service Dogs, Agility, Rally or ?? Does the breeder talk about their dogs with affection or can you tell they are just money makers for them? How honest do they sound when they say that they LOVE their dogs??
11. If a breeder has a lot of Dogs, and works full time away from the house, how can I be sure they are spending enough time with the puppies and socializing them?
That is a hard question. Of course if there is no one there the majority of the time, the pups and dogs are pretty much on their own. For me it would be too hard to spend enough time with my pets if I was always gone. I do work, but am very blessed to not have to be gone for long periods of time, and there is always someone here. If they have kids, that is a good thing as kids will usually play with puppies when they are home (unless they are too busy, or a grouchy teenager). If a breeder does some kind of competition or service work with the dogs they will be getting a lot of attention during training and competitions. If the dogs are their livelihood they are probably there much of the time but that still does not ensure that they are getting attention, stimulation and socialization.
12. What if the breeder is telling me everything I want to hear from my questions, and only good things about the puppies and their program? Is this too good to be true?
It very well could be. Hopefully they will be honest, but be aware of a Salesperson. An honest breeder will not push you to buy from them or try to make their pup seem like the right one for you even if it isn't.
13. The breeder did not ask me any questions about myself or my lifestyle is this something I should worry about??
In my opinion yes. A breeder should be concerned with making sure their puppy is the right fit for you and your family. Some basic questions they should ask you about is a safe living space of the puppy, if you have a fenced yard, if the puppy will be an inside dog, do you have other pets, do you have kids, do you rent and does your landlord allow dogs, will you be gone a lot and how long the puppy will be alone. The breeder should ask you how active our family is, and try to help guide you to the puppy that will be the right choice.
14. The breeder will not let me come and see the puppies. Isn't this a bad sign??
Well, sometimes it can be because they don't want you to see the conditions the dogs are kept. Now a days many breeders will not let you come out to their place for several reasons. One is to protect the puppies and dogs on their property from any dog diseases that can be brought to their place on your car tires, shoes or clothing. I have had puppy buyers come to my home and play with my puppies, see my dogs in the kennel, and then tell me they were just at another breeder's house playing with their puppies and all had uncontrollable diarrhea. Those words can be heartbreaking and devastating. There is also the issue of people stealing dogs and puppies that are advertised for good money, and many more factors , so not being able to visit the puppies until after they have had their shots can be a very good thing, not only for the breeder but for you and your puppy as well.
15. Can a breeder know everything?
Although there are some great breeders out there, Dog Breeding is a lifetime task and art form. Try to find breeders who are humble, dont have that "know it all", " their way is the only way" attitude. Look for a breeder that is trying to keep up their Education on the lastest findings, not only on Dog Breeds, but Kennel Management, Vaccinations,Worming Programs, Health issues and anything else pertaining to their programs. I have bought a couple of dogs from Breeders I really respect, for their forever On Going quest in the Betterment of Boston Terrier breeding. They have been doing this for over 20 years and dont intend to stop learning!!! I hope that is me in the future as well.
16. I just talked to a breeder and they were BAD MOUTHING other breeders and their dogs.
There IS such a thing as a friendly warning, if WRONG DOING of their dogs is known. Bad Mouthing, Chopping Down, Mean and Nasty Comments and Gossip are another thing entirely. If a breeder is doing this about others verbally, or on their wesite, do not walk, RUN away from that breeder no matter how much you want that colored puppy. You will find another breeder that is up and up that will have that color too. If they are talking about others in this way, think about how they would be to deal with during a puppy transaction, any problems after the purchase, and what they could say about you. Patience is a virtue :0)