Ask a Vet

What To Ask A Dog Breeder

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Becoming a parent is a life-changing decision, and it doesn’t matter if the baby that you’re going to welcome into your life has two legs or four; you’ll need to be prepared for the responsibility that walks hand in hand with your new role.

And just because your new arrival prefers kibble to rusks and barks and howls in the middle of the night instead of crying, it doesn’t mean that you should be any less diligent in your approach to parenthood.

It just means that you’ll need to make sure that you know everything you possibly can about your new puppy before bringing him home.

Dog breeder holding two dogs

The easiest, and quickest way to find out as much as you can about your puppy, is by going straight to the source, and asking the breeder that you’re buying your pup from, a set of simple, straightforward questions about the newest member of your family.

Don’t panic about upsetting or angering the breeder that you’re dealing with, and don’t worry that your questions might somehow sour the deal; they won’t.

Every professional breeder expects you to ask questions and will be happy to answer any of your queries about your pup.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of questions that anyone who is thinking about buying a puppy should ask a breeder so that you’ll know what you need to ask before you finally head home with your new arrival.

Have Both Parents Had Their Health Checks?

Every breed of dog is prone to specific health conditions and genetic problems, so it’s important to make sure that both parents (the mother and father) have been checked, cleared, and certified by a veterinarian and are healthy and well.

If you’re unsure about any of the problems your puppy could suffer, speak up and ask the breeder, and they’ll be happy to tell you about any potential illnesses that could be an issue later in life.

Meet The Family

Any breeder should be happy to let you meet your new pup’s parents and littermates, and doing so will give you a chance to see the sort of environment that your dog was kept in before you met him and how clean it was and is.

And when you meet his biological parents, it’ll also give you a good idea of how big your boy will ultimately be, as the size of his mother and father should tell you everything that you’ll need to know.

Parent Check

You should also ask the breed about any previous health problems or illnesses that your puppy’s parents might have had, as it could be indicative of future issues that your dog might encounter during his life.

Dog breeder holding 4 shiba inu puppies

How Old Is Your Puppy?

Typically, puppies are ready to leave their mother and head for their new homes and families between eight and twelve weeks of age.

If your puppy is older than twelve weeks, it might be worth asking the breeder why no one has shown any interest in him before you, or if they have, what stopped them from taking him home.

It seems like an innocuous question, but the answer could reveal a multitude of possible behavioral or health issues that you might need to address.

Meeting The World

All young dogs need to be socialized with other canines and people from an early age; it helps them adjust to life in the big bad world and can minimize any possible aggression they might have toward other dogs and strangers.

Has your puppy met anyone apart from you, the breeder, his parents, and littermates?

The answer will tell you everything you need to know about possibly enrolling him in socialization classes as soon as possible if he hasn’t had any life experience outside of his current home.

Vaccinations And Deworming

Puppies are generally dewormed between the time they’re two to six weeks old and get their first shots between six and eight weeks of age. It’s important that you ensure that the breeder has made sure that they’ve undergone both procedures,

First Vet Visit

And, following on from the last question, it’s also important to ask your breeder about when you should take your puppy to the vet for his next vaccinations and follow-on shots and what he’ll need during the first twelve months of his life.

Generally, most breeders will recommend that you neuter your puppy at around six months of age unless you’re specifically looking to breed or hire him out for stud, which is an entirely different conversation that you and the breeder should have if that is an option that you’re considering.


It’s also worth talking to the breeder about your puppy’s preferred diet and what food they’ve been eating and raised on.

It’ll provide a concise and clear indication of what your puppy does and doesn’t like to eat and could save you a lot of unwanted expenses and the heartache of trying to find out for yourself.

There are few things in life as upsetting as a puppy whining because it’s hungry and refusing to eat because it can’t digest or doesn’t actually like the food that you’ve put down for him. It’s safer and easier to take that possibility out of the equation by asking one easy-to-answer question.

The Contract

Establish the rights you and the breeder have according to the contract you’ll sign with the breeder. For instance, would the breeder be willing to take the puppy back or rehome him if something unforeseen happened and you were unable to continue looking after him?

And what rights do you have if your puppy develops a hereditary genetic condition during the first twelve months of his life? They are awkward conversations, but they need to be had.

Finally – The Paperwork

Last but by no means least, you’ll need to ensure that the breeder provides any and all medical certification, your pup’s AKC (American Kennel Club) registration and certification, and an official bill of sale.

And don’t be alarmed if the breeder tries to give your puppy a week’s worth of food (most will). It’s their way of making sure that you have enough time to fill your cupboards with your puppies favorite food when you know what it is they like and prefer to eat.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.