Yesterday we talked about what to look for on a website - today I wanted to talk about the actual conversation. If you are at a show or an event the breeder may be busy, ask for a business card (or give them one of yours) and set up a time to discuss. Or pick up the phone and give them a call.
Have your list of questions ready....here are some basic ones:
1 I am looking for a (insert breed), my family consists of (fill in family members), we are looking for a (puppy/older dog) with these qualities (running partner, competition dog, service dog, couch slug etc). Our house is (active, quiet) . BE HONEST. Do you feel your dogs are a good fit for us?
Breeders note - the good breeder will explain the virtues of their dog and assess if their breeding program fits your lifestyle. And if it does not, will refer you to another breeder.
2 Ask the breeder why they chose (insert breed) and what are the characteristics that they strive for.
Breeders note - you know if they are a good breeder if your eyes begin to glaze over as the person goes into a long animated chat without a breath of air starting with their first dog (usually prior to the invention of electricity) to today.
3. Ask the breeder why they chose to breed Dog A to Bitch B
Breeder's note - see above. Make sure to have caffeine handy. If they are a BYB you will get no real information about anything other than pretty puppies
4. Ask the breeder what they do to stay up with current health trends and what clubs they are members of
Breeders note - this is a very telling answer. A good breeder will be active in a local and usualy a national club as well. A good breeder is constantly learning not just putting two dogs together.
5. Ask the breeder about their current activities with their dogs
Breeders note - not what they did one Saturday 6 years ago, not what the dogs great grandfather did in the 90s...what THEY as the breeder are doing. If they are not active in SOMETHING other than breeding huge RED flag. And if they start giving excuses why they dontlike an activity thats okay too. But there are plenty of activities to choose from so they should be active in something.
6. Ask about the activities of the dogs they produce.
Breeder's note - get specifics then verify. If you are looking for a dog to compete in agility and they say their dogs are then GET THE NAME, then verify. If they don't remember then it probably did not happen.
Remember YOU are interviewing them as well as them interviewing you. This is a 15 year (hopefully) relationship. You want to know about food, crate training, puppy classes, heartworm prevention, etc This is a member of your family not a toaster from Wal Mart. You need to feel comfortable with the breeder being someone.