You must ask questions, many questions. Have a list of questions on hand for your first contact with a breeder. If you call, always start by asking, “Is this a convenient time to speak?” Too often, a well-intentioned call comes at a very wrong time and a breeder may not be able to provide in-depth responses. Call or email to make a mutually convenient phone appointment. Your questions should include: How long have you been breeding Havanese? How many litters do you have each year? Do you show your dogs in breed, performance, and/or companion events?  What health testing have you done on the parents of the puppy/dog?  What health testing have you done on this puppy/dog?  Be sure to refer to the OFA.org website to verify health testing information. Ask to see their sales contract. Review it carefully. Many breeders will ask you to complete a prospective owner’s questionnaire. That questionnaire will also give you an idea of the breeder’s concerns for their puppy/dog.

If you are uncomfortable with the breeder on the phone, or their responses to your questions, they may not be the right breeder for you. The commitment you will be taking on to your new Havanese is lifelong, and that should be the same for the breeder.

Ask the breeder for references and be prepared to provide your references, as well.