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Hudson's Malamutes - Frequently Asked Questions
3. What questions should I ask of any breeder?
By ensuring you have located a good breeder who cares more about her dogs than making the big bucks, you also ensure that your dog is a fine specimen of his breed, has excellent bloodlines and is as free of genetic complaints and hereditary diseases as the modern world can make him. It is worth the extra time and money, as you'll see in the future too. A well-bred dog will be healthier and happier than a poorly bred dog. And in the long run, so will you
- Ask to see sire and dam of the litter, if possible, and assess their temperament. If either is overprotective or very fearful, head for the door.
- Ask if the sire and dam of the litter are OFA certified. This is a test for the hips. You want to deal with a breeder that does all she/he can to not breed puppies with hip dysplasia. Don't accept excuses for failure to x-ray and certify the dog free of the condition.
- Ask if the breeder will replace puppies if they do have hip dysplasia. If they don't, head for the door.
- Ask about the contract and the guarantee
- Ask for names of previous puppy buyers as references.
- Ask if dogs from this breeder are active in dog sports even if you never intend to participate. Dogs that learn obedience, conformation titles; work as sled dogs, therapy dogs, assistance dogs, or search and rescue dogs; or participate in sports such as agility, Frisbee, or schutzhund are definitely trainable. The more complex the sport, the more there's a need for intelligence
- Ask to see the pedigrees of sire and dam. If there are lots of champions or titled dogs in the pedigree, the puppies are most likely good physical examples of the breed. Ask for the OFA ratings on the sire and dam, not only the OFA number. Ratings can be fair, good, or excellent. Chances of good hips in the offspring are higher with parents rated good than with those rated fair, and are even better with parents rated excellent
- Ask what comes with the puppy (shot records, puppy food, etc).
- Ask for a promise of a place to bring your dog back if you can not keep him or her any longer (more than a promise, usually a requirement)
- Ask about Care and grooming information
- Ask if the breeder has references from their Vet
- Specific questions:
- Will you help us pick the right puppy for our needs?
- Are your breeding animals registered with the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Hip Dysplasia Registry?
- What are their registration numbers?
- What are your terms if the puppy does develop genetic problems?
- Did the breeder explain that a guarantee is not a promise that a genetic health problem won't occur, but a promise about what will happen if it does?
- Do you require that pet puppies be spayed or neutered?
Responsible breeders require this, so that offspring from their dogs do not contribute to the already overloaded shelters and rescues.
Responsible breeders will also pickup and care for offspring from their dogs found at shelters and rescues.
- Will the puppies have their first shots?
- Will the puppies be wormed?
- At what age do you place puppies?
(Puppies should stay with Mom and siblings for at least seven weeks.)
- Were the puppies born on the premises?
- Will the breeder be available to offer advice and support for as long as you have the dog?
- Are the sire and dam each at least 18 months old?
- Have the puppies been introduced to children? To other animals?
- Does the breeder believe it is important to keep in contact with puppy buyers to verify the level of success in producing a healthy dog of correct temperament?
- The following questions should be answered "NO" by a responsible breeder:
- Did the breeder state or imply that puppies would be arriving from off premises? (e.g. shipped in soon)
- Will the breeder agree to sell a puppy less than 7 weeks old?
- Was the breeder reluctant to answer questions?
- Did the breeder seem to be defensive in answering questions?
- Does the breeder charge different prices for dogs with or without papers?
- Did the breeder claim that his or her lines were entirely free of genetic health problems?
- Do you feel pressured into buying a puppy? Do you feel like the breeder is trying to "sell" the puppy (as in persuading you to buy)?
- Does the breeder promote the puppies as gifts or offer some special incentive in price to encourage a sale?
- Does the breeder have more than two breeds available?
- If the breeder advertises do they seem to focus on superficial qualities like color or size while ignoring health testing?
- Responsible breeders are forthcoming with this information. Make sure you have the answers before you look at the puppies -- it's hard to walk away from a wriggling bundle of fur that's licking your face or tugging on your ankle
- Did the breeder seem happy that you are asking questions?
- Does the breeder make you feel comfortable calling for advice?
- Do they work with Rescue?
Often breeders that care are closely involved in their breed rescue. This isn't a failing point however, merely a plus mark if they do
- Expect the breeder to ask you some questions as well. After all, a responsible breeder wants to know what kind of a home and family his puppies are getting as well as the color of your money
- If you call a breeder, and he/she does not ask you questions, find another.