We are often contacted by people who aren't quite sure of what you should ask a breeder, when you are out looking for a suitable place to buy your puppy. That is why we have made this checklist.
It isn't just the breeder that should make "demands" towards a puppybuyer - you have to do the same towards the breeder. It can be difficult to remember all the questions, when you are visiting a breeder - so it is a good idea to be well prepared and write your questions down prior to the visit - feel free to copy our checklist.
We have listed some questions here, that we have asked, when we have been out looking for a puppy. This list is ment as a "guide-line" - not as a "key" - hopefully it will give you some answers that will help you in your decision, when you are out to find the right place to buy your new member of the famliy. The list can be used for all breeeds. If you have any questions, that are not on the list, please let us know, so we can add it to the list.
Checklist - looking for a puppy
Always visit more than one breederWe are approx. 10 Welsh Springer Spaniel Breeders in Denmark (primarily on Sealand) and many more English Springer Spaniel Breeders. Even though you might have found the right breeder for you, it is a good learning experience to visit other breeders and se their dogs.
Sound and healthy dogs
See if the dogs seem sound and healthy. The dogs should have clean clear eyes (not runny) and shouldn't smell in the ears (signs of earproblems). In general the dogs should look well-cared-for and be physically in good form/shape. If the breeder has several dogs, you could with advantage ask to see them - and ask for an explanation as to why they are seperated from the rest of the dogs. Healthy breedingIf a breeder says "I breed healthy dogs", what does that mean ? How does the breeder ensure a healthy breeding ? Which guarantees do you have regarding the health of the puppy/dog ?
Skills and Co-operation
If you are looking for a dog you can use for hunting, it will be relevant for you to the parents of your future puppy, preforming hunting tasks (retrieving, finding game etc.). If you are not planning to use your spaniel for hunting, it is still important, that you can see if the breeder works with his/her dogs in some way. Amoung other things, it shows if the dogs are willing to co-operate and they have learnt something training-wise. So - ask what the dogs can do - what are their skills and ask to see it in practice.
A part of the famliy
Spaniels are not suitable for living isolated. That is why the dogs in the kennel, should be part of the famliy. This means that the dogs are not locked away, but are in human contact most of the hours of the day.
Puppies - Full time
Having a litter is a full time job. There are many things to do all day ... It can be very difficult - even with "just" one litter - to have enough time. Especially if you have a kennel with several dogs, that also need daily attention and can't be passed over, because there is a litter in the house. A breeder will often plan, when to have a litter, so they have enough time for the puppies.
Puppies – where ?
Where are the puppies from they are born til they move out ? It is so important that the puppies grow up in an safe enviroment, where they are a part of the famliy in the house. They have to learn all the "house-sounds" - hoover, television, doors slamming and people comming to visit - and behandled by people of all ages. The puppies should not be isolated from the house or the famliy, but on the other hand, should not be placed in a room where there is a constant bustle. The first weeks the puppy and bitch need peace and quiet. So do not expect to come and visit the breeder before the puppies are 4-5 weeks.
Socialisation and enviromental training
A litter must be socialised and see the world - and that can't be done within the 4 walls of the house. Ask the breeder how he/she socialises the puppies and gives them enviromental training. Leaving the socialisation to the people that come and visit , just isn't enough.
All puppies have to have food, but it is not unimportant what they are given to eat. Ask the breeder what feed they use and why.
The right puppy to the right famliy
There can be a big difference in what puppybuyers expect from their dog. In a litter, the puppie's personality can vary. So it is always a good idea, to ask the breeder how they decide on which puppy goes where. Ask how the breeder will find a puppy that suits you and your famliy.
Buying a puppy - a question of trust
Buying a puppy really is a question of trust. It is so important that you, as a puppybuyer, feel that you can trust your breeder. Remember that this is a person you will be in contact with for the rest of your dogs life - also if something should go wrong. Never by a puppy out of pity or from a "puppy-farm".
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.