Below is some very important information to consider when obtaining a new puppy from a breeder.
What to ask yourself and the breeder:
- Can I see the puppies with their mum?
Be sure mum is a nice, friendly dog because temperament can be inherited. She might be defensive of her puppies so take that into account. If you’re not allowed to see them together, it might be that they’re not really her puppies!
- How old are the puppies?
They must be at least seven to eight weeks old to leave their mother.
- Are the puppies weaned?
At seven weeks they should be fully weaned. If they are not, they could be younger than the breeder claimed.
- How old is mum?
She should be over a year old, but not obviously very old.
- How many litters has mum had?
It is against the law to breed a bitch more than six times in her lifetime. If the breeder breeds frequently they are required to have a licence.
- Have the puppies been wormed?
All puppies have worms at birth. Worming should start with the breeder at about two weeks old, be repeated every two weeks and be continued by you.
- Have the puppies had any vaccinations? If so, when is the next dose due?
Puppies should be vaccinated at 6-9 weeks of age and then again at 10-12 weeks. They will become fully protected two weeks after the second vaccination. You will need to do this if the breeder has not.
- Does the puppy look healthy – clean eyes, ears and bottom?
If the puppy is unwell, collect him another day. If he’s still ill then, do not take him and try another breeder.
- What should I feed my puppy? Do you have a diet sheet to take away?
A good breeder will give you enough food to continue exactly the same diet for a couple of days. They should also give you a diet sheet that shows how feeding should change as your puppy grows.
- What sort of socialisation or experiences has my puppy had so far?
Puppies should preferably be raised in a home environment with all the noise and through traffic of a normal home. Those raised in kennels away from the house will need more intensive socialisation training to ensure they can cope with daily life as a pet. If puppies have already met other dogs, domestic animals and people they will have more confidence than those that have not.
- Can I return the puppy if there are any healthy problems?
You should take your new puppy to a vet for a health check within 48 hours. A good breeder will offer to take the puppy back at any point should you be unable to keep him.
- Is the puppy Kennel Club registered?
If so, make sure you are given the registration certificate and pedigree when you pick up your puppy. You should also get some free health insurance for the first few weeks.
- When can I take the puppy home?
It is absolutely essential to see the puppies with their mother. Some unscrupulous people claiming to be breeders might in fact be dealers who have bought the pups in. They are likely to be poorly bred, might be ill and are usually too young to leave their exhausted, ill-treated mothers. If they survive, these puppies rarely make good pets, and you will be fuelling this cruel trade where money is the priority and welfare of the dog is ignored.