The Purchase Contract and Health Guarantee exists to protect not only the breeder and buyer but most importantly, it protects the puppy.
Having a puppy contract lets you know what I, as your breeder, will do in case of a problem, and what I expect of you as the owner of one of my pups.
I will email a copy of our Contract and Health Guarantee to you when I offer you a puppy so you can take your time to review it and ask any questions you may have. You should never send a deposit to me, or any other breeder, for a pup before seeing the documents you will be asked to sign.
There are 3 parts to my contract – the Purchase Contract, the Health Guarantee, and the Spay / Neuter Contract.
Puppy Purchase Contract
1. Outlines the terms of the sale and gives details about the puppy.
2. States that the puppy must be examined by a veterinarian within a specified time frame. This is to ensure that you have more than just the breeder and their vet’s assurance that you have received a healthy puppy. This clause includes what the breeder will do if the puppy is found to have a previously unnoticed health issue.
3. The type of care the breeder expects from the owner and what best suits the breed is discussed.
4. Details what would happen to the pup if the family was no longer able to care for him/her.
1. What genetic defects are covered by the guarantee varies from breeder to breeder but whatever is guaranteed, the resolution and extent of coverage should be clearly stated. Please keep in mind that it is impossible to list all the possible disorders that may occur so the breeder may prioritize the most serious and/or commonly known issues. Issues that could, and often do, have an environmental cause are usually specifically excluded.
2. Some breeders warranty puppies for their entire life, others for just a few weeks, and most are somewhere in the middle. While guaranteeing for life is admirable, it is also unrealistic because as the dog ages it is more difficult to tell if some disorders are caused by genetics or the environment.
3. The resolution for a problem varies widely between breeders and there is no right or wrong answer. It can range from the replacement of the puppy to a full or partial refund. Some contracts will only give full replacement or refund if the puppy is returned, while others recognize that you are unlikely to return the puppy. It is important that buyers keep in mind that replacement pups do not appear overnight and, depending on how often the breeder is having litters, it can take a while. The other thing to remember about a replacement puppy is that sometimes a breeder will stop breeding all together so you shouldn’t wait too long before letting the breeder know that you are ready for another pup.
Spay Neuter Contract
1. This ensures that the owners understand that their pup is being sold to them as a pet only and is not to be bred under any circumstances. Some breeders may do this due to minor structural flaws in pups they sell as pets, others to protect their bloodlines and their reputations. I do it because most pet homes lack the knowledge and experience to breed dogs so, for their health and safety, I require that my pups are spayed or neutered by a specified date.
Other Documents … Health Disclosures
1. Before you take your puppy home I will email copies of the Shot Record and Deworming Schedule and the pup’s report card from their visit with my vet. It is important that buyers look these documents over and ask any questions they may have before taking their puppy home.
There are breeders who have very long, detailed contracts, there are some with contracts that are only a short paragraph or two, and others do not use a written contract at all. The shortest contract I ever signed was from a well-respected show breeder and was only a few sentences long but because it covered what I needed it to, I signed the contract and bought the pup. The longest was 8 pages and was so confusing that I did not get the pup because of it (and I REALLY wanted that puppy). The point is that the length of the contract is not what’s important – the important thing is that it covers the things that are a priority for you and that it makes you feel comfortable getting your puppy from that breeder.
From the time I offer a puppy to a family to the day they pick their puppy up, I put almost everything in writing and I save these communications so if either of us has a question in the future we can refer back to them. If you don’t have a written contract or someone won’t communicate in writing, both the buyer and the breeder have to trust each other to not only remember what was said but to do what was promised too. It may work, it may not, but why take chances? For your own peace of mind, make sure you get your puppy from a breeder who is willing to put their policies in writing.