Updated: Feb 17
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RightPaw encourages new owners to go and visit your breeder’s premises wherever possible. This is a great way to feel confident you are supporting an excellent quality, responsible breeder and to get a feel for how your puppy has been raised. If it is not possible to visit, you can be confident that all RightPaw breeders have passed a physical or virtual site-inspection with our team. We have confirmed that their facilities and practices meet our vet-approved standards.
Visiting your breeder offers you many advantages:
The chance to meet the puppy before it comes home to you
Every breeder will organise puppy play-dates differently. Some will invite families individually to meet the puppy they have already been allocated, a couple of weeks before the puppy is ready for their new home. This is an opportunity for you to confirm that your puppy looks healthy, their appearance is the same as described, and to see the environment they have been raised in. It is also your first chance to meet your new family member and get a feel for their personality – are they boisterous and confident, energetic and playful, or shier and quieter? You will have a chance to chat with the breeder about the needs of that individual pup and whether there are additional pieces of equipment or toys your breeder would recommend you buy before the big day.
Alternatively, many breeders will organise a play-date for a group of prospective owners at once. They may not have allocated you an individual puppy yet. They might do ‘temperament testing’ activities that day to look at the individual personalities of each puppy and match which family might be most suitable for each dog. Some breeders run a little information session to make sure every family is ready for a new puppy and have got everything organised and ready.
The chance to meet the puppy’s parents
You should always be able to meet the puppy’s mother (sometimes called the ‘dam’) when you visit your breeder. The puppies should be living with their mother and littermates up until 8 weeks old. The puppy’s father (sometimes called the ‘sire’) may or may not live with the breeder so it is not always possible to meet them. Your breeder should, however, be able to give you plenty of information about the father’s appearance, temperament, and health.
A puppy’s mother is usually a fairly good indicator of what your puppy might be like as an older dog. Young puppies learn a lot from their mother in the formative first few weeks of life. You want to see a mother that is friendly, relaxed, looks healthy and well cared for. Parents of cross-bred puppies might look physically different from their puppies, but some of their personality and physical traits will be passed on, so you should feel comfortable that you like the puppy’s mother when you meet her.
Occasionally the mother might have already gone back to her original home if she doesn’t normally live with the breeder. This will only occur once her puppies are fully weaned, between 6-8 weeks old depending on State guidelines. In these circumstances breeders usually have other loving adult dogs who take on the role of socialising the pups until they are ready to go to their new families. You will usually be able to organise a meeting with the puppy’s mother separately if this is important to you.
Building rapport with your breeder
Getting a new puppy is a huge decision, so it is important you feel comfortable with your breeder and feel your values align. Visiting for a friendly meet-and-greet, even if they don’t have any litters currently and you are considering joining their waiting list, is a great opportunity for you and your breeder to get to know each other and for you to show them you are serious about this decision. This is especially true for breeders with long waiting lists who may be selecting between a large number of candidates. They also want to feel comfortable that your family are suitable candidates for their dogs and may want to get to know you before allocating you a puppy. Many breeders appreciate you making the effort to visit them, meet their adult dogs and confirm that this breed is definitely the right choice for you.
"Breeder Spotlight" - Ginnette Loft, Emeraldcity Cairn Terriers
Ginnette is an experienced breeder and international dog judge. As part of their selection process, her kennel uses temperament testing to match the right family with the right puppy:
"Emeraldcity invites all puppy families to come and meet the puppies (along with all of the Cairn clan here) and to participate in a temperament assessment of the litter. This really helps people to get to know all the puppies and to match people to a pup that best suits them. We try to get a live stream of the assessments for those who can’t attend."