Choosing A Breeder

So you”ve decided to purchase an animal from a breeder. Choosing a breeder is almost as important as choosing your pet! Choose wisely, and you have an excellent chance at a champion show animal or a loving, obedient pet. Choose poorly, and you could end up adopting an animal with serious behavior or genetic problems.

The Reality Budget

Spend as much as you can afford for your animal, but keep in mind that a higher price doesn”t always mean a better animal. Screen any breeders thoroughly no matter what the cost of the animal.

Location

Choose a breeder close to home if you can. You”re going to be visiting the kennels and possibly talking to several breeders. Do you want to spend thousands on plane tickets and hotel rooms? Save that for your pet instead!

Breeder Screening

As you”re shopping around for breeders, watch out for these red flags:

  • The breeder doesn”t screen for diseases and offers no health guarantee.
  • The kennel/cattery is dirty and untidy.
  • Several litters are born each year.
  • Multiple breeds are bred on site.
  • The breeder has no written health records of the litter.
  • Puppies or kittens are taken from the mother before six weeks of age.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Breeder

If you”re not sure about something, ask. A new pet is an important step, and it”s better to know everything beforehand. Mistakes can be costly, so make sure you”re completely satisfied. Some questions you might want to ask include:

  • How long have you been breeding?
  • What diseases do you screen for?
  • Do you plan on improving this breed? How?
  • To what breed clubs do you belong?
  • What kind of contract or guarantee do you offer? Can I return my pet if he develops a genetic disease?
  • How do you socialize the animals?
  • May I contact others who bought from you?
  • What kind of papers do you have on the dog/cat I want?
  • Has a veterinarian seen the litter? Have the kittens (or pups) received any vaccinations?

Questions a Breeder May Ask You

Don”t be surprised if the breeder has some questions for you. Good breeders care about their animals, so it”s natural that they”ll want to know something about you. Instead of taking offense at the breeders” questions, take it as a sign that they truly care about their animals. Questions may include:

  • Do you live in a house or apartment? (Some pets are too active for small spaces.) If you have a house, does it have a fenced yard?
  • Do you rent or own? (Some landlords do not allow pets.)
  • Do you have children or other pets? How might they get along with a new cat or dog?
  • Do you know how much it costs to raise a puppy or kitten?
  • Is this your first dog or cat? (If so, it doesn”t mean you shouldn”t get one! Some breeds, especially dog breeds, are just not suitable for first time owners.)

No matter what, if you get a bad feeling about the kennel, or if the breeder doesn”t answer your questions satisfactorily, go elsewhere.