Before signing a contract makes sure that you are willing to fulfill all obligations. A contact should be available for your reading from your breeder even before you send a deposit. Read the contract. Understand what you are signing.


Pet contracts are usually simple. You are generally asked to send or leave a deposit on your dog or puppy. The deposit guarantees that you will actually receive a puppy. It also guarantees to the breeder that you are serious in purchasing the puppy.

Pets are normally sold on a spay/neuter contract. Many breeders will hold on to the registration papers, and this is common. This is acceptable under AKC rules as long as it is stated in the contract. You should certainly receive a copy of the sales contract including the registered name and AKC numbers of the parents before you leave, as this is also an AKC rule. Normally when the breeder receives a copy of the neuter or spay certificate, they are very happy to send you the original AKC papers. You can then register your pup. If spaying or neutering is not included in your contract, you are probably not dealing with a responsible breeder. Pets are normally sold on a limited registration. Their offspring cannot be registered with AKC. They cannot be shown in Conformation but may participate in other AKC events. Again if this is not mentioned in the contract you are not dealing with a responsible breeder.

Most breeders will offer a health guarantee on your puppy. Each breeder’s guarantees are different. They are responsible for selling you a healthy puppy. There should be a time line for you to take your pup to your vet to have it checked for a clean bill of health. If you are not satisfied with the health of your pup, then you should return your pup to the breeder immediately for a full refund. This should be stated in your contract. A breeder cannot be responsible for things they have no control over. Once your puppy leaves their home it is your responsibility to keep the puppy from being harmed in any way. Most contagious illnesses have an incubation period of 10 days. After 10 days if your puppy has remained healthy chances are if in the future your puppy were to become ill the exposure to this illness did not happen when the puppy was at the breeders. It could have been picked up from the floor of the Vets Office, Pet Shops, training classes, and parks and brought in on the shoes and clothes of others who have been in contact with other dogs or where other dogs are walked. Diet, vaccinations, shampoos, flea infestation or flea and tick products can cause allergies. Environment, inhalants, wool carpets and carpet shampoos and deodorant powders can bring them on. This is out of a breeder’s control. For these and many more reasons most breeders’ only offer a guarantee against inheritable life threatening illnesses. Note for the life of the dog can also be taken to mean for the longevity of the breeder.

There should also be requests from your breeder for you to be a responsible pet owner. This should include any future health testing which the breeder feels necessary be performed on the dog. If you are unwilling to agree to these terms, then do not sign and do not buy a puppy.