1. May I meet the dam (the puppy’s mother)?
This will give you an idea of the pup’s temperament, among other things. If the dam is not on the premises, ask why. If you’re told you can’t see or meet her, consider that a red flag.
2. Is my puppy free from genetic and other health defects?
Ask for written proof of this, as certain breeds are prone to genetic conditions (golden retrievers, for instance, are prone to hip dysplasia). A puppy should be tested and cleared for defects of eyes and hips, and you should receive written confirmation of this. A good breeder will provide a health guarantee in the contract.
3. Has my puppy had all his shots and been wormed?
Again, ask for written confirmation in the form of a letter or other document from the vet(s) who cared for the puppy.
4. Under what conditions may I return the puppy?
Nobody purchases a pet thinking they may want a refund. But things happen, situations change. Sometimes a puppy and a family just don’t “click.” A good breeder will take back a dog at any time and will offer a full or partial refund under certain conditions. Find out what those conditions are and get them in writing.
5. May I have three references?
If the breeder does not have or refuses to provide you with checkable references—run the other way!