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What questions should I ask my breeder for a new puppy? Why?

Updated: Feb 1

Asking the right questions to a breeder is essential when bringing a new puppy into your home. So, What questions should I ask my breeder for a new puppy? Why? Here's a list of important questions to ask your breeder, along with why you should ask these questions, as well as the items you should receive to help your puppy transition smoothly: There is a difference when someone says they are a registered breeder of a specific breed. EG GSD - German Shepherds Dogs, Rottweiler or other registered breeds, as opposed to a backyard breeder whos bitch may have had a litter. Some of the questions listed are focused on Professional Registered Breeders whose life revolves around their dogs.




Breeder questions
Choosing a breeder - Ask the right Questions

Are the puppy's parents screened for any hereditary health issues?

Asking whether the puppy's parents have been screened for any hereditary health issues is crucial because it provides insight into the potential genetic health risks that the puppy may inherit. Responsible breeders prioritise the health and well-being of their puppies, and conducting health screenings on the parent dogs helps identify and prevent the passing on of any hereditary conditions. By knowing the health status of the parents, prospective owners can make informed decisions about the long-term care and potential medical needs of the puppy. It also reflects the breeder's commitment to producing healthy and genetically sound puppies, contributing to the overall welfare of the breed. Ensuring that both parents are free from known hereditary health issues gives new puppy owners greater peace of mind and lays the foundation for a happy and healthy life for their new puppy. Many breeds can have issues with hips, backs, breathing and more - Ask the right questions and expect good answers. Over the past 50 years we have seen many people get a puppy that has minor or major health issues. This can occur with all breeders and all breeds. Sometimes an unhealthy puppy is sold.


Can you provide health clearances or certifications for the parents?


Asking the breeder if they can provide health clearances or certifications for the parents is essential because it allows you, the potential puppy owner, to ensure that the breeding dogs have undergone thorough health evaluations. These clearances and certifications, often performed by veterinary specialists, help identify any potential hereditary health issues or genetic conditions that could be passed down to the offspring. By obtaining this information, prospective owners can make informed decisions about the puppy's health and reduce the risk of bringing home a dog with preventable health problems. Responsible breeders willingly provide such documentation to demonstrate their commitment to producing healthy and genetically sound puppies, promoting transparency and trust between the breeder and the new puppy owner.


"What is your policy regarding returning or addressing minor or major health issues if our puppy is found to have any?"


Every professional breeder will have a return policy. If your buying your puppy from Gumtree, the chances are they will not have a return policy. Not always, but often.


"If our puppy has any health problems, what steps do you take to address and resolve these issues, and what support do you offer?"


This should be covered under the return policy. There are differences in that if your puppy has something which can be sorted at the Vet, often the breeder may offer to pay for this. Even though breeders do there very best - things happen outside of their control.


Have the puppies received their initial vaccinations and deworming?

Vat innoculations for puppies
Getting their first vaccinations from the Vet

Asking whether the puppies have received their initial vaccinations and deworming is crucial to ensure the health and well-being of the new puppy. Vaccinations protect the puppy from potentially life-threatening diseases, while deworming helps eliminate internal parasites that can harm the puppy's health. By inquiring about these essential healthcare measures, prospective owners can verify that the breeder is responsibly caring for the puppies' medical needs, providing them with a healthy start in life.



How do you socialise the puppies during their early weeks?


Asking the breeder how they socialise the puppies during their early weeks is important because early socialisation plays a crucial role in a puppy's development and behavior. Proper socialisation during this critical period helps the puppy become well-adjusted, confident, and adaptable to various environments, people, and other animals. Puppies that are adequately socialised are more likely to grow up to be friendly, happy, and emotionally stable dogs. Responsible breeders should have a plan in place for exposing the puppies to various stimuli, sounds, and experiences to ensure they have positive interactions and a good foundation for their future interactions in the world. This question allows you to assess whether the breeder takes the well-being and behavioral development of their puppies seriously, leading to a more positive and enriching life for the new furry companion.


Have you started any basic training or house training with the puppies?


Many breeders do start house training, particularly if the puppy is with them till they are a little older than 8 weeks.


Does the puppy know their name?


Why ask this? Well simply put, a breeder may use a name with a puppy. Not always though as you can often choose a name you and or your family want to call the puppy. Be carful if you get more than one puppy. The names you give should sound distinctly different. EG Peppa and pippy. Maybe Peppa and George may work better when you are training the dog. Distinctly different names are essential so the puppies and the family don't get confused.


Is the puppy crate trained?

Asking whether the puppy is crate trained is important, in order to understand the puppy's current level of comfort and familiarity with using a crate, as a safe space. Crate training can be a valuable tool for housetraining, preventing destructive behaviors, and providing a secure resting place for the puppy. If the puppy is already crate trained, it indicates that the breeder has taken steps to instill positive associations with the crate, making the transition to a new home smoother. Additionally, knowing the puppy's crate training status helps prospective owners prepare for the puppy's arrival.


How long have they had a collar on?


Certainly a great question as many breeders will have a collar on their dogs very early. This can often be because they are easier to recognise.


Have you used a leash on the Puppy?


The answer to this is often no. There is little time to individually walk or be with each puppy in the litter. Don't worry if they have not yet started leash training as this is your job. It's FUN too.


What are the advantages or disadvantages of getting a male or female puppy?


Asking this question really shows the breeder that you know there are differences in a getting a boy or a girl. There is some anecdotal information that suggest that females may be easier to house train and that fully intact males may become more aggressive. This is not necessarily true. What you are really looking for is a "Great fit, for your family". Compatibility is the key. Be guided by your breeder on this matter.


Which do you recommend for our family and our lifestyle?


Yes, please let them talk to you about what they recommend for your family. They will have questions for you too. What is your lifestyle? What other animals do you have at home? The answer to these and other questions they ask really matter when you are making a choice.


Pedigree and Breeding:

Can I see the pedigree of the puppy's parents?

pedigree puppy
Pure Breeds - Pedigree

Asking to see the pedigree of the puppy's parents is crucial because it provides valuable information about the puppy's lineage and ancestry. The pedigree shows the lineage of the puppy's parents, including their registered names, titles, and the names of their ancestors. This information can reveal if the puppy comes from a line of healthy and well-bred dogs with desirable traits. It also helps determine if the breeding has been conducted responsibly and with the goal of improving the breed's qualities. Access to the pedigree allows potential owners to make an informed decision about the puppy's genetic background and helps ensure they are acquiring a purebred dog from a reputable breeder who values transparency and the breed's integrity.


What is the breeder's experience and reputation in breeding this specific breed?


This is a really great question because many Breeders have been breeding a particular breed for years. Yes, there are breeders who are new, or fairly new to breeding. You can generally check if a breeder has been around a while by doing some research on the old interweb. You can also check the Registration as a Breeder. For eg: in Queensland , Australia you can do this by going to a peak body where the registration occurs.


Living Conditions and Care:

Where do the puppies spend most of their time, and can I see their living conditions?

West Highland terrier puppise
Where the puppies spend their time is very important

Asking where the puppies spend most of their time and requesting to see their living conditions is crucial to assess the breeder's standards of care and the puppies' overall well-being. Understanding the environment in which the puppies are raised provides insight into how they have been socialised and nurtured during their crucial early weeks of life. A clean and stimulating living space with appropriate social interactions is essential for a puppy's healthy development and behavioral adjustment. By visiting the living conditions, potential owners can ensure that the puppies are raised in a safe and loving environment, indicating a responsible and caring breeder. It also allows them to see firsthand how the breeder interacts with the puppies and to evaluate whether the breeder's practices align with their expectations for raising a well-adjusted and happy puppy.


Temperament and Characteristics:

How would you describe the typical temperament and characteristics of this breed?

Asking how the breeder would describe the typical temperament and characteristics of the breed is essential to gain a better understanding of the puppy's potential behavior and compatibility with you, and your lifestyle. Each dog breed has its unique traits, energy levels, and temperaments. The breeder's insights can help potential owners determine if the breed's traits align with what they are looking for in a companion. Understanding the breed's general temperament also helps new owners prepare for the specific needs and challenges associated with that breed. It enables them to make an informed decision about whether the breed's characteristics and temperament are a good fit for their family and living situation, ensuring a harmonious and happy relationship between the owner and the new puppy.


Do you notice any particular traits in this specific puppy that you'd like to mention?


This is perfect as it helps you to fully understand the puppy you have choosen. Any great breeder can tell you about each puppy. How well balanced they are. Are they the boss of the pack or are they timid and shy? Outgoing, smart, clever, balanced etc.


Future Support:

What kind of support do you offer after I take the puppy home?


Further advice as my puppy grows. Health and other checks. With every breeder i know they care about their dogs very much. You can always call them to ask any questions you may have.


Parental Involvement:

Can I meet the puppy's parents or at least the mother?

GSP puppies
Wonderful and Calm GSP mum. Relaxed puppies

Meeting the mother (and preferably both parents) of the puppy is essential because it provides valuable insights into the puppy's potential temperament, behaviour, and health. The mother plays a significant role in shaping the puppy's early experiences and behaviour, and observing her can give an indication of what the puppy may be like as it grows. Additionally, meeting the parents allows potential owners to assess their temperament, health, and overall well-being, providing important information about the genetic traits and characteristics that the puppy may inherit. Responsible breeders encourage such meetings as they demonstrate transparency and a commitment to ensuring that their puppies are placed in suitable and caring homes. It also allows the potential owner to assess the breeding environment and the care given to the dogs, contributing to a more informed decision about adopting, buying, a puppy from that particular breeder. Remember, you may not be able to meet the father as often the sire is by artificial insemination. This is not uncommon. You can certainly ask them.


How does the mother interact with her puppies?


It matters because it provides valuable insights into the mother's temperament and maternal instincts. A mother dog's, Dam - the bitch's, behavior towards her puppies can give an indication of her nurturing and protective qualities. Observing her interactions can help potential owners assess the puppy's early socialisation experiences and how well the mother has cared for her litter. A well-attentive and caring mother can have a positive impact on the puppy's emotional development and behavior, potentially leading to a more well-adjusted and confident puppy. Responsible breeders prioritise the well-being of both the mother and the litter and ensure that the puppies receive proper care and socialisation from their dam. Understanding the mother's role in the puppies' early life can help potential owners make an informed decision about the puppy's overall health and early experiences, leading to a successful and harmonious transition to their new home.


Feeding and Care Instructions:


What type of food has the puppy been eating?

What is the recommended feeding schedule?

Can I get a weight Chart guideline, please?


By asking these questions, you can ensure a smoother transition for the puppy, promote its well-being, and make informed decisions about its diet and care both now and into the future.

  1. Feeding Schedule: Knowing the recommended feeding schedule helps establish a routine for the puppy's mealtimes. Puppies require regular and consistent feeding to support their growth and development. Following a proper feeding schedule also aids in housetraining, as it creates toileting patterns for your puppy. Can I get a weight chart guideline for my puppy?

  2. Health and Nutrition: Understanding the type of food the puppy has been eating helps ensure that the new owner continues with a similar diet initially. A sudden change in diet can cause digestive issues or stress for the puppy. Knowing the current food allows you, the owner, to assess the quality and suitability of the diet for the puppy's health and nutritional needs.

  3. Transition and Continuity: By continuing the same food at the beginning, the puppy can have a smoother transition to its new home. Gradually introducing new food, if desired, can be done later to avoid digestive problems. Consistency in the early days helps the puppy feel more secure and reduces stress during the adjustment period.

  4. Avoiding Allergies or Sensitivities: If the puppy has been eating a specific type of food without any issues, continuing that diet may help avoid potential food allergies or sensitivities in the early stages.

  5. Medical History: The type of food the puppy has been eating can be relevant information for your veterinarian. It helps the vet understand the puppy's dietary history, making it easier to recommend any necessary adjustments or changes for the puppy's health.


Are there any specific care instructions or preferences for this breed?

  1. Grooming Requirements: Understanding the grooming needs of the breed helps you prepare for regular grooming sessions, which can vary from daily brushing to occasional trimming and grooming. Check out the Article on this.

  2. Exercise Needs: Understanding the breed's exercise requirements is crucial in planning a suitable daily routine, whether it involves walks, playtime, or more vigorous activities. This knowledge is vital as it ensures compatibility between you and the chosen breed. Many people make the mistake of selecting a breed solely based on appearance, overlooking the importance of aligning the dog's needs with their lifestyle. For instance, if you prefer a less active lifestyle and dislike regular walks, opting for a working line dog might not be the best decision. It is essential to choose a breed that matches your activity level and lifestyle to ensure a happy life for both you and your canine companion. By being understanding of the dog's true needs rather than projecting our assumptions, you can create a harmonious and fulfilling relationship with your new puppy, for life and LOVE.

  3. Exercise: How much exercise should I be doing with my puppy? They may make some suggestions about distances to walk them and when. What age can they use stairs?

  4. Training Considerations: Knowing any breed-specific training considerations, can help you tailor your training approach for the future. Be prepared for puppy challenges or particular training techniques that work well with the breed you have chosen.

  5. Health and Medical Concerns: Being aware of any breed-specific health concerns or potential medical issues helps you monitor the puppy's health and be proactive in seeking veterinary care if needed.

  6. Living Environment: Understanding the breed's preferences for living environments, such as space requirements, temperature sensitivities, or any other specific needs, helps ensure the puppy is comfortable and content in its new home.

  7. Socialisation and Interaction: Understanding the breed's socialisation needs and how they interact with other living beings enables you to create suitable opportunities for socialising your puppy, ensuring that they grow into a well-adjusted and sociable adult dog. Socialising involves exposing the puppy to other dogs, animals, and humans, while familiarising them with everyday household items like mowers, blowers, and hairdryers. To facilitate proper socialising and familiarising, it's essential to read the other articles I have written on socialising your puppy, as this process plays a critical role in shaping the puppy's behavior and adaptability to various living beings and everyday items in the house.

By obtaining this information, you can create a suitable and nurturing environment for the puppy, cater to its specific needs, and foster a strong bond between you and your new Best MAte. Your new team continues to develop and grow, day by day and moment by moment. Understanding breed-specific care instructions and preferences helps you become a responsible and informed dog owner, ensuring a happy and fulfilling life for the puppy in your care.




Puppy Contract
SO - You want one of MY puppies! Woof


  1. Contract and Agreements: Can you provide a written contract detailing the terms of the purchase and any health guarantees?

  2. Health Insurance: Some reputable and well know breeders may also include some Health Insurance. This will generally only be for a short period from 4 weeks thru to 8 weeks which allows you time to sort your own Insurance for your puppy. This is done as all puppies can eat something they shouldn't. A great breeder who cares deeply.

  3. Health Guarantee: A responsible breeder should provide a health guarantee that outlines the puppy's health status and any recourse the new owner has if the puppy develops a serious health issue shortly after purchase.

  4. Return Policy: Ensure that there is a clear return policy in case the new owner cannot keep the puppy for any reason. This ensures that the puppy can be returned to the breeder rather than ending up in an inappropriate home or shelter.

  5. Spay/Neuter Agreement: Some breeders include a spay/neuter agreement that requires the new owner to have the puppy desexed/neutered,spayed within a certain timeframe, especially if the puppy is not intended for breeding purposes.

  6. Registration Papers: The new owner should receive proper registration papers or documentation from a recognised kennel club, proving the puppy's pedigree and breed authenticity.

  7. Non-Compete Clause: Some breeders may include a non-compete clause to prevent the new owner from breeding or showing the puppy without the breeder's permission.

  8. Puppy Care Instructions: Ensure that the contract includes detailed care instructions for the puppy, including feeding guidelines, training advice, and recommended veterinary care.

  9. Socialisation and Training Requirements: Some contracts may specify socialisation and training requirements to ensure the puppy's well-being and proper development.

  10. Breeder's Contact Information: The contract should provide the breeder's contact information in case the new owner needs to reach out for support or guidance.

  11. What age do you recommend desexing the puppy? Breeders, Vets and your family are ALL important when it comes to making this decision. Read the article on this.

It's crucial for you as a new owner to thoroughly read and understand the terms of the contract, before purchasing the puppy. If there are any unclear or concerning clauses, you should discuss them with the breeder, and seek legal advice, if necessary. A reputable breeder will have a fair and transparent contract that prioritises the well-being of the puppy and establishes a positive and supportive relationship between the breeder and you. Great breeders really CARE about their puppies.


What Items do I Take Home with my Puppy?


Going Home with my puppy
Going Home with my new owner - WOOF

Asking for a towel or blanket with the scent of the puppy's mother and littermates is essential because, it can significantly ease the puppy's transition, into its new home. Puppies are highly sensitive to smells and familiar scents can provide comfort and reassurance during a stressful time. Having an item with the scent of the mother and littermates helps the puppy feel more secure and reduces feelings of separation anxiety. The familiar scent acts as a comforting reminder of their early environment, making the new surroundings less overwhelming. This practice is commonly referred to as "scent swapping" and is recommended by us at www.bonnies.com.au as a helpful tool in helping the puppy adjust to its new family and home. I have found this extremely helpful and of incredible value. You should take the old pack Mum and Siblings) home with you - you do this by taking home a blanket, towel etc that has the scent of the pack on it. If you are going to see the puppy before your pick them up ask the breeder, "Can i bring a blanket"? They will know why or may even say, "I have taken care of this for you".

A small supply of the puppy's current food to avoid sudden dietary changes.

Vaccination and health records for your puppy.

Any relevant paperwork or documentation related to the puppy's pedigree and health clearances.

A big smile too and I hope that wherever you go to train your puppy and your dog, you will ask them just as many questions. At Bonnies "We love dogs". There are also some really good dog clubs in Queensland and in other parts of Australia. Research where they are. Generally these are Dog clubs are not for profit. Some great volunteers that support as many people in the community as possible at a price everyone can afford. Check out Metropolitan Dog Club in Brisbane or one of the many others around Brisbane and the country..


Remember, responsible breeders will be more than happy to answer these and any questions you may have. Asking questions just shows how much you care. They genuinely care about the well-being of their puppies and want to ensure they are placed in loving, suitable homes. They also care about you and your family. There reputation stands on being professional.


Thank you to Sharon Thorp - President German Shepherd Dog Club of Queensland for your feedback and review of this blog post.



Peter BOnney
Peter Bonney CEO Bonnies Dog Obedience and Puppy School - 50 years of service.

Greetings, fellow dog lovers! I'm Peter Bonney, the proud Director of www.bonnies.com.au, and I'm excited to share this dog blog with all of you. If you or anyone you know has a delightful puppy at home or could benefit from more information about our best mates, look no further! Feel free to share this blog with your friends and family, as it's filled with valuable insights and tips for a happy and healthy puppy life.


🐶 Join the Conversation: We'd love to hear from you! At the bottom of this blog, you'll find a comment section where you can share your thoughts, experiences, and any subject you'd like me to write about next. Your feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated and fuel our passion for creating engaging content tailored to your needs.

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