How many litters of puppies do
you have each year?
A responsible breeder will not
have many litters. A breeder looking to make money will have
many litters, which should make you question whether or not you
want to buy a puppy from a for profit breeder.
How many females of breeding
age do you have on the premises?
If a breeder has many bitches that
are bred regularly, then once again it is a money making
enterprise and you should not buy a puppy.
How many times will you breed
each female in her lifetime?
How many times a female is bred
varies, is usually not more than 4 times. If she is
continually bred for her entire breeding life then she may be
suffering health issues herself because of over breeding. This
will not produce healthy puppies. Once again you will know that
this is an unethical or for profit breeder.
How many male dogs
of breeding age do you have?
Beware if there are a ridiculous
number of intact (breed able) males on the premises.
How do you insure that your
breeding dogs are healthy?
A responsible breeder will check
the health of their dogs regularly, via regular visits to the
veterinarian. In addition the tests listed below will be
performed and certification of such tests should be available to
Do you x-ray and submit the
parents for hip dysplasia (OFA Certification)?
Ask to see the OFA certification.
Or better yet check yourself at
by the dog's registered name. If the breeder cannot
produce it or tells you that her dogs have seen the vet and are
healthy and/or they’ve never had problems – walk away.
This is a very serious issue and
there should be no compromising on your part.
Do you annually, have the eyes
of your breeding dogs checked by an ophthalmologist (CERF
Once again ask to see the CERF
certificate. This is an annual process, so check the date on
the certification. You can also look these up for yourself
You can search these
databases by the dog's registered name.
Can you provide me with copies
of both the OFA & CERF certificates on both parents of
A responsible breeder will have no
problem producing these documents for you and will likely give
you copies readily.
Have any of your breeding dogs
or their littermates had any epileptic seizures?
This is something you will have to
rely on the answer as there is currently no testing for epilepsy,
but the breeder should know epileptic seizures exist in the
English Springer Spaniel and be willing to discuss it with you.
What are the temperaments of
the sire and dam?
A good breeder will welcome the
opportunity to talk about their dogs and discuss their wonderful
temperaments with you.
At what age do you let your
puppies go to their new homes?
The best age to send a puppy to
their new home is between 8 and 12 weeks. Be wary of the
breeder who is letting you take your puppy earlier than 8
weeks. They are not ready to leave their mother and
littermates. They need the interaction with their littermates
to equip them with the tools they’ll need later in life. They
learn how to play, assert themselves, be humbled and become
confident and secure. All qualities that you want in a new
member of your family.
Can I pick my own puppy from
A good breeder will match the
puppy to the new families lifestyle and personalities. A
mismatch could cost the puppy his or her life and not be
pleasant for the family. Ideally you want a breeder that will
not let you pick your own puppy, but rather direct you to the
best match suitable to your own personality and lifestyle.
Where are your puppies raised?
Be wary of the puppies that are
raised in outdoor cages or small confined areas with little or no human
contact. They will not be socialized or used to handling.
A responsible breeder will raise puppies in room in their home
where puppies can receive lots of daily interaction and
attention in a safe enclosure.
How do you socialize your
puppies before they leave your premises?
A good question and something that
must be done. Be aware of the breeder who tells you that they
are well socialized and then can’t give you specifics. They
need human interaction and constant handling.
Can I visit the sire and dam,
if both are on the premises before the litter is born?
A responsible breeder will welcome
Can I visit the facility that
the puppies will be raised in?
Once again there should be no
At what age can I visit my
puppy for the first time and can I bring my children?
Once again you should be
encouraged to visit and always with your children.
Am I required to spay/neuter?
This should be a requirement.
Spay/Neutering will make your dog a better pet and keep him/her
healthier, reduce the risk of reproductive cancers and behaviors
associated with sexual maturity.
Do you have a contract?
Most reputable breeders will have
some type of contract. These will vary from breeder to breeder
and you should ask to see a copy of it. They should be
willing to provide you a copy without hesitation. It
should clearly outline the guarantees for the purchase of the
Can I contact you at any time
with questions or perhaps to help me solve a problem?
Once again the answer should be
Yes. A good breeder will encourage you to keep in touch
and want to help you when you have a question.
Will you take the puppy/dog
back if I can no longer keep it?
The answer here should be Yes.
The breeder should be concerned about his/her dogs for their
entire life. This should not stop at the time of the sale.
Can you help me find a good
trainer for obedience/agility/etc?
Yes, this should be automatic. A
caring and good breeder will want you and your new dog to get a
good start and have a long and happy relationship. Obedience
training will get you off on the right foot with your new puppy
and should be encouraged by the breeder.
Do you require obedience
A good breeder will want you to
learn to work with your dog and teach both the dog and your
family how to live together and what to expect of each other.
Good obedience training will make your dog a pleasure to be
around and ultimately insure that he/she has a happy home with a
family that understands and loves him/her.
What is the price of your
This varies from breeder to
breeder. A bargain is just that. There is a good chance that
if the price is really cheap then the breeder did not put any
money into raising the litter and testing their breeding dogs
for inheritable diseases. Beware! A savings of a few hundred
dollars could cost you thousands in veterinary expenses in the
Are your dogs on heartworm
A responsible breeder will keep
all of the dogs on heartworm medication in areas of risk.
Were the puppies wormed?
All puppies should be wormed
starting at about 2 – 3 weeks of age and at least one more time
before they leave.
Will my puppy be vaccinated
and if so, what for?
Your puppy should be given their
initial vaccination at about 7 or 8 weeks. This varies from
breeder to breeder and from veterinarian to veterinarian. You
should contact your veterinarian and ask what they recommend and
then discuss this with the breeder. Be sure you feel
comfortable with your breeder’s response.
28. Do you as the breeder have
any questions for me as the buyer?
This is just a guide to help you
find a considerate and responsible breeder to buy your new
family member from. Please use this to help you weed through
the many breeders you should speak to. Find a breeder that will
take the time to talk to you and the one that makes you feel
comfortable. Many backyard breeders/puppy mills will be abrupt
and find your questions to be annoying. If that happens, find
another breeder. If they are not interested in your concerns
now, they surely won’t be in the future and they are probably
trying to hide something from you.