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ENPB Movement Mission: To educate New Puppy Buyers (NPBs) on what they should expect from the person they are buying their puppy from.

3 Simple Rules to Help you Find the Right Puppy From the Right Breeder

1) Only buy your puppy directly from the breeder, NEVER from a Pet Store, Broker, Referral Service or Wholesaler
2) Call the "breed" Rescue for the area and ask them about the breeder you have chosen (Google search terms like: YourLocation BreedOfDog Rescue i.e. Jacksonville Great Dane Rescue or Florida Pug Rescue).
3) Ask for References AND call them, expect at least 3 references, more if possible; at least 2 previous puppy buyers & their vet. Contact the National Parent Club (i.e. Akita Club of America, Beagle Club of America, ask the Membership Coordinator or Secretary about the standing of this breeder.)


NOTE: I use examples based on experiences in the United States - however, all of these Q&A apply to any country, using the appropriate Kennel Clubs of that country and Rescue & Shelter organizations of your location, no matter where you are. While this is mentioned in the Q&A below, this page has the legitimate Dog Registries/Kennel Clubs for most of the world: Registries

When you go to buy a puppy, these are the basic, minimum questions YOU should ask AND the generally acceptable answers the breeder/seller should answer. You may want to ask more questions, but you should never ask less. The more you talk to breeders & look at websites, the more you will realize what a good, reputable breeder offers. Not just in the quality of their puppies, but also in their experience in the breed. This holds true for purebreeds or the so called "designer" breeds (Note: ENPB does not encourage breeding designer breeds,  but recognize that it is part of the puppy industry & that the breeders of so called "designer" dogs should be held to the same HIGH standards as any other breeder).

Q. What health checks have you done on the dam & what health checks have been done on the sire? Will you show me the results?
A. Both the dam & sire have OFA (hips, elbows, cardiac), CERF (eyes) & thyroid testing.
A. You can see the results, I have them right here for the dam & sire. Since most puppies are sold buy the dam's breeder/owner, it is OK for them to say- I can have the breeder of the sire email/fax them to you.
Links: OFA- http://www.offa.org/ , CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) http://www.offa.org/eyes.html or ECR (Eye Certification Registry) http://www.offa.org/eye_ecrfaq.html, and ACVO http://www.acvo.org/new/public/resources/OFA.shtml, Thyroid- http://ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/docs/Canine_Thyroid_Testing.pdf   OR  http://www.hemopet.org/veterinary-diagnostic-laboratory.html

Q. Can I breed my dog?
A. While this puppy was bred in the hopes of being a show dog, we don't feel that's a good fit for this dog, so we will require that the dog is spayed/neutered.

Q. Will I be able to meet the parents of this puppy & its litter mates?
A. Absolutely. (The seller should be able to introduce at least the dam) and any litter mates that haven't already been delivered. This SHOULD be done at the breeders house (there is no good reason why a breeder should resist letting you see their property). If at all possible, the breeder should try to arrange a meet w/ the sire (and preferably their breeder/owner), although the distances may not be practical for that to happen. *NOTE: Most puppies are placed by the owner of the dam, so the sire is not often on site.

Q. Do the parents have any sort of behavior issues?
A. No.  If there is an issue, but no bite history, the seller should disclose what issues they have seen or know about. (If there is a bite history, it should be disclosed, but the buyer should look for another puppy.)
A+: No & the dam/sire have both earned their CGCs (Canine Good Citizen test administered by an AKC Recognized Evaluator)
A+: Any other titles such as CD/CDX (Companion Dog/Excellent), UD/UDX (Utility Dog/Excellent), DD (Draft Dog), WD (Water Dog), AX (Agility Excellence) etc.......
Links: http://www.akc.org/sports/titles-and-abbreviations/

Q. Are you a member of the National Breed Club? What about the sire's owner.
A. Yes (in this case the Akita Club of America)
A+: We're also members of our "Local" Kennel Club (i.e. Akita Club of Tampa Bay or Jacksonville Dog Fanciers Association)

Q. Are the parents both Champions or actively being shown & winning points towards their Champion title or completed their Championship?
A. Yes. The sire already has his Champion title & the dam has XXX points towards her Champion title.
A. No
Q. Why Not? (There really is no good reason for a No answer)

Q. When can I pick up my puppy?
A. They have to be at least 8 weeks old before they can be sold. (IMO, it is a plus if the seller adds add'l weeks).

Q. Are the dam/sire registered & can/will the puppy be registered? With what registry?
A. Yes, AKC (American Kennel Club) or CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) or UKC (United Kennel Club). Outside of the US: FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) or KC (Kennel Club UK).
Links: Registries (The list of legitimate registries is accurate & complete for established confirmation/performance registries. The non-legitimate list should not be considered complete as "registries" can be created to try to validate any practice).

Q. Are you available to help me for the life of my dog if I have any questions or issues? What about the sire's owner (see NOTE)?
A. Yes. And if for any reason you believe you cannot keep the dog, the Contract you sign requires that the dog be returned to us, at a minimum the dam's owner.
A+: Using the term "from womb to tomb" (or "the life of the dog") acknowledges that the breeder understands that the commitment to taking your dog back for any reason at any time (unexpected aggression, medical conditions that have become too costly, unexpected circumstances- no matter the reason, the breeder WILL step in).
A+: A letter of the support from the sire's breeder/owner is great. *NOTE: Most puppies are placed by the owner of the dam and they commonly hold the entire responsibility for finding the home for the puppies. The NPB should at least get contact information for the sire's owner; this is especially important if genetic health issues develop or behavior issues arise (the sire's owner needs to know so they can address it in their future breeding).

Q. Do the dam & sire have good temperaments & are they well behaved around people? What about issues with food aggression?
A. As you can see, the dam is well behaved  (since you've already asked to "meet the parents'") & the sire is fine with people too. "Food Aggression" - It is ok for the breeder to say the dam/sire has food aggression issues if those issues are ONLY with other dogs & not people
A+: The dam and/or sire have been Temperament Tested by the ATTS & received its TT (a PLUS the puppies have been tested using the Volhard Aptitude Test scoring mostly 3s or 4s & the form/scores will be supplied to you)
Links: American Temperament Testing Society http://atts.org/ , Volhard Aptitude Test http://workingdogs.com/testing_volhard.htm

Q. Is my puppy going to be house-trained & crate trained when I pick it up?
A. Yes

Q. Where the puppies born indoors? In a whelping box or whelping room? Have they had good people socialization & other experiences already?
A. Yes, we have a whelping box in our bedroom (den, home office.....). We've made sure the puppies got handled at least an hour a day (in 5-10 minute segments) & they've been introduced to a few strangers & unusual noises.
A+: They already know how to "sit" on command.

Educating yourself as a puppy buyer is critical. The following are some links to help you out:

Puppy Buyer Question & Answer Sheet
The Cost of Owning a Dog, a worksheet for children & families provided by the AKC
Puppy Temperament Evaluations
Puppy Buyer Etiquette
Letter to Irresponsible Dog Owner This is a letter written by a very well respected lifetime Rescuer. Before you consider getting your puppy, read this.
Letter from a Very Concerned Breeder This is a letter written by a very well respected Breeder of their chose breed. If you want to know about the heart & soul of a reputable breeder, read this.

If you have any questions, you can email Jen@ENPB.org

Thank you to Linda Logan at Kiseki Akitas for designing and donating the ENPB logos.


© Jen Fone, The ENPB Movement, Dog-Safety.net - Permission is given to reproduce in whole or in part as long as this © is included (if you put this on your website, please let me know)