What Documents Should I Expect From a Dog Breeder?

documents to expect from dog breeders

A puppy care package is what a new owner typically receives from the breeder; apart from toys and other essentials, this puppy pack contains all necessary documents from a dog breeder. These documents help new owners know the lineage of the pup and pedigree. It will also help the new owner in the long run, should any problem surface in the future in terms of proving the dog’s ownership.

The most important part of the puppy starter kit from a breeder, however, is the dog breeder documents. New owners should never leave without these documents and papers. Here is a detailed account of what documents you need from the breeder when you purchase your new dog, as well as why they are so important.

Documents to Expect from a Breeder

Here is a list of documents that you should expect from your breeder. These are all standard documents that every proper breeder should have if they are claiming to sell a pedigree puppy.

Registration Papers

The registration certificate comes with a registration number that is unique for every dog. Only a certified and registered breeder will have the authority to issue registration papers. The official institutions that your dog could be registered to include but aren’t limited to kennel clubs, working dogs clubs, or national breed clubs. It’s important to remember that only dogs of certain breeds can be registered with kennel clubs. A registration also cites the dam and sire of your dog along with their own registration in the same kennel club.

Why are registration papers important? By registering your puppies with an institution, you can not only track all documents but also keep a record of your dog’s information. You also get a unique number for your dog that helps you identify it in case it’s lost or stolen. However, ensure that you register your dog in a renowned club. This will make your dog’s registration a lot more practical and official.

Proof of Pedigree (Lineage)

Five Generation Dog Pedigree
What an official American Kennel Club pedigree certificate looks like.

Buying a puppy from a breeder is no small feat; you need a lot of information before locking down the deal. This information also includes proof of pedigree – the lineage of the pup you are buying. Without a pedigree certificate, you will never know whether your dog is inbred, line-bred or an out-cross. A pedigree certificate is like a dog’s family tree that educates you on at least three generations of your dog.

You can learn a lot through this pedigree certificate. The certificate starts on the left with your dog’s name and registration number, moving to the right with the credentials of the dam (mother) and the sire (father). It keeps moving to the right with each generation of your pup with their distinct registration numbers. It’s easy to read a dog’s pedigree. If you are looking for any titles won, then check out the abbreviations written in red underneath your dog’s name. Most clubs like the American Kennel Club use red print to set apart these titles. You will find each generation in a new column to avoid any confusion while reading the pedigree certificate.

Health Test Documentation

When going through your dog’s documents, you also need to look for the health test documentation. The pedigree certificate doesn’t cover any health-related statistics of the puppy. So, you will gain no information regarding the weak points of your dog’s genes from the pedigree certificate. The fact that both parents of the pup are registered doesn’t really tell you anything about the health condition of the puppy. This is the reason why you should ask to see all health documentation of the dam and the sire as well as the pup.

Inbred and line bred puppy can inherit genetic conditions from their parents. For example, Labradors can genetically inherit hip dysplasia. Here are some common tests and health certificates that you should have in your dog breeder documents:

  • Clear eye test
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Hip scores that should be under 12
  • Elbow scores that should be zero
  • Centronuclear myopathy (CNM) – common in Labradors
  • Exercise-induced Collapse (EIC) – common in Labradors

These certificates will come in handy if ever you chose to breed your dog.

Veterinary Documentation

Before buying a pup from a kennel or adopting one from a shelter, make sure that it has received its initial vaccination. These include an initial health checkup, flea and worming treatment as well as the regular two-stage vaccination. All of these have proper certificates and papers. Not just that, you will also need to see these beforehand and receive originals when you go pick up your new puppy.

A reputable breeder will provide these documents even before you ask for them. Get scanned copies mailed to you to get a second opinion from your preferred vet.

veterinary documentation
Don’t just believe breeders – ask from proof and veterinary documents!

A Contract of Sale

A contract of sale is another important document you should expect from a dog breeder. Although many owners and breeders don’t bother with it, it’s fair that you get one as the pet is now your responsibility. A contract of sale outlines that the breeder has sold a particular puppy to you at a set price. A sale contract should be well written, explained, agreed to and signed by both parties. Also, it’s the mark of a responsible breeder to provide the new owner with a comprehensive sales contract

What to Ask a Dog Breeder?

Apart from all the documents, there are many questions that you should remember to ask your dog breeder, even if just to check their reputation and credentials. The puppy’s nature, temperament, and socialization are among several things to know when buying a puppy. Here are some crucial questions to ask a dog breeder. But don’t worry, these aren’t prying questions and the breeder won’t mind you asking them as these will help you understand your puppy better.

Your Dog's Socialization

It matters a lot whether a dog is social or not, especially if you have a big family, kids or other pets. A breeder or shelter will be able to tell you exactly how social the dog is and if they need puppy socialization.

You should also make a point of asking how many times and how many people have handled your dog. A dog that is handled by more than a couple of humans is more social than a dog that is familiar with one handler only. Furthermore, a dog bought from a breeder may be more familiar with a home environment than a dog in a shelter. Make sure you know all about your dog as it takes a different kind of training to make a dog social and confident around other pets and people.

Advice on Feeding

The puppy pack should contain a feeding schedule and course. If it doesn’t, then don’t hesitate to ask for the breeder’s advice. It’s important that you don’t abruptly change the diet of your dog. This can affect it’s mental as well as physical health. Moreover, a responsible breeder would include enough dog food to cover for a couple of days.

Preferred dog food, recipes as well as a proper feeding schedule from the breeder will help you make your dog comfortable in its new home. You can gradually change the diet later on as you see fit. Furthermore, ask the breeder if you can take the dog’s feeding bowl and water bowl. These things matter when changing the environment of the pup. A couple of toys and familiar items will help them adjust faster to a new home.

dog breeder documents
When buying a puppy, you should expect to receive a few documents from your breeder.

Advice on Training

Some dogs are very keen to train and learn new tricks. However, not all dogs are the same. A little sit-down chat with the handlers of your puppy will give you an idea regarding the obedience training of your dog. But no matter what your future plans for your dog, you can start initial training without the advice of the breeder.

These handlers have had your pup since he was born, they know how they react to being trained and what are tricks that he best responds to. Also, ask the breeder if he is giving the dog any kind of supplements to help him train better. If yes, make sure you note it all down and consult your vet about them.

Documents to Expect from a Dog Breeder – FAQs

If you still have doubts about the kind of questions you should ask a breeder, here are some frequently asked questions that should resolve your confusion and aid you in getting the best dog.

What Questions Should I Ask a Dog Breeder?

Here are some questions that you should ask from your dog’s breeder:

  • Is the puppy vaccinated?
  • Is all the paperwork completed and up-to-date?
  • How many handlers has he has so far?
  • Are they social, confident or a loner?
  • How many times and how much do you feed them every day
  • Do you give the dog any supplements with its food?
  • Is there an exercise routine that you follow for them?

There is a long list of questions that you can ask from your breeder, all of these should be along the lines of its health, temperament, nature, feeding and exercise routine. These questions may not seem important, but they help you understand your pup better and also help you make them more comfortable in their new environment.

proof of pedigree
Ask for a pedigree certificate, pretty much every single time.

How Can I Know if a Dog Breeder is Reliable?

According to the American Kennel Club, a reliable breeder will be caring towards your dog, provide a sales contract, and sell their dogs at the right age. Here’s are some elements you will want to consider:

  • Are they Caring? A responsible breeder is always caring towards the puppies as well as the dam and sire. They are always honest regarding all the information about the pup, its health and its pedigree.
  • Is there a Proper Sale Contract? A reliable breeder looks out for its customers and pups by providing a proper sale contract when selling a puppy. This contract is comprehensive and is signed by both parties.
  • The Age of your Pup: A proper and reliable breeder knows that the right age of adopting or buying a pup is from 8 or 12 weeks. You will not be able to adopt a puppy younger than this age limit from a responsible and trusted breeder.

What's Part of a Puppy Pack?

Here are the most popular items that should make an ideal puppy pack:

  • Contract for sale
  • Pedigree certificate
  • Registration certificate
  • Dog’s identification tag
  • Health and vaccination certificates
  • Dog ownership and breeding records
  • Letter to new puppy owner from the breeder

Should I Buy a Puppy Without Papers?

If you are going to breed or train your dog as a show dog, then you will need to get all the necessary documents from a dog breeder at the time of buying a dog. However, if you are looking for just a family pet, you might not need all the documentation. But even then, a clean bill of health and vaccination certificates are important. Furthermore, papers ensure that a puppy has been bred morally and with care.

It is important to know all the available papers you should expect from a reputable breeder. This can help you recognize a backyard breeder from those that are ethical.

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