Q: Do you show and/or work your dogs? If
so, in which disciplines? Can I come and see you work your dogs
at a show or trial - or go to see dogs you've bred (related to the
upcoming litter) competing at a show or trial?
A: Ideally a Toller breeder actively works his or her own
dogs. Seeing the sire or dam or even close relatives of your puppy-to-be
may give you insight into the working abilities of your potential
puppy. This is especially important if you plan to train and compete
in such disciplines as field work, obedience, agility, tracking,
flyball or conformation.
Q: Are you a member of any Toller clubs?
Any other dog clubs or organizations?
A: Conscientious breeders are active across the board in
their particular breed - this helps them to keep up to date on health
issues and other concerns, and keeps them in touch with their breed's
entire community. Many clubs have codes of ethics and conduct that
breeders agree to abide by.
Q: Can I come and visit your home/kennel?
A: Make an appointment - don't just drop by unexpectedly.
Q: What health problems are common in Tollers?
Where can I find out more information on these health problems?
A: You can visit www.tollerhealth.com
Q: What health problems are in your lines
and in the background of the proposed sire/dam of this litter?
A: Whole family information is very important for a breeder
to know, and to base breeding decisions around. A breeder should
make themselves aware of health issues in the dogs and should be
willing to talk openly and honestly about those issues with you.
Q: Can I receive copies of hip/eye/heart/thyroid/PRA
Pattern status clearances on the proposed sire and dam of the litter?
A: You should ask to see copies of these clearances and you
should expect to receive them. You can see what these clearances
look like at www.tollerhealth.com
Q: Can I meet the sire and dam of the litter?
Or can you provide me with photos? How would you describe their
temperaments? Have either been bred before? What can you tell me
about their offspring?
A:Meeting the parents can give you insight
into the potential appearance and personality of the pups from this
breeding but frequently the sire of the litter will not live with
the breeder of the litter. Seeing puppies from either sire or dam
or both can give you insight into what type of puppies they have
produced before, and are likely to produce again although this may
not always be possible nor practical. Photos will at least give
you an idea of what to expect physically. Although a verbal description
of temperament can't replace meeting the dogs, you may at least
get a chance to ask some pointed questions and form an impression
from the answers.
Q: What titles do the sire/dam of this litter
A: While titles may provide proof of an individual dog's
working ability as well as proof of a trainer's dedication and abilities,
titled dogs in a pedigree may give a better indication of "family"
Q: What do you feel are the strengths and
weaknesses of the sire and dam?
A: There is no perfect Toller out there. Every dog
has his strong and weak points. A breeder is being dishonest if
she says there is nothing she would like to see improved upon in
a certain dog. Look for someone who answers your questions frankly
and with common sense.
Q: Why do you feel they make a good match?
A: Most breedings are not taken lightly; they are
the result of months or even years of comparing pedigrees, checking
health backgrounds, trying to cancel out the weaknesses and double
up on the strengths of both sire and dam. Health, temperament, working
ability, structure, and appearance are all taken into account when
planning a breeding.
Q: Can you provide me (and can I provide
you) with references?
A: Most breeders should be happy to provide references
if you are willing to do the same.
Q: Will you be available to me for the lifetime
of the dog?
A:A breeder who truly cares about their puppies and their
buyers will answer this question with a "yes."
Q: Will you provide me with registration
papers for my puppy?
A: Again, this answer must be a yes. The Canadian
Kennel Club requires that breeders provide all puppy buyers with
their puppy's CKC registration papers within six months of purchase.
It is against Federal law (The Animal Pedigree Act) to charge an
extra fee for registration.
Q: What kind of guarantees do you offer?
Can I see a copy of your puppy buyer's contract?
A: Many responsible breeders offer limited health
and temperament guarantees on the puppies they sell. Make sure you
thoroughly understand each clause of any contract you sign.
Q: Are your puppies raised inside your home?
What kind of early socialization do your puppies receive? Will they
receive exposure to children? To other dogs?
A: Puppies raised in a kennel may simply not be given the
same socialization opportunities as those raised in the family home.
Early socialization is of paramount importance for a healthy, sociable
pet's development. The more a puppy sees, hears, and touches in
his earliest days, the more well-adjusted and easygoing he will
be as an adult.
Q: Can I choose my pup myself? If not, how
will you choose which pup is best for me/my family?
A: Some breeders allow buyers to choose their own puppy,
but most do the choosing themselves. The breeder has spent countless
hours with each pup, and they agonize over which pup is best suited
for each home. Trust your breeder on this one! The best family pet
prospect may not be the same puppy who shows early potential as
a hunting dog; they would be ill-suited to the wrong families.
Q: Do you maintain a waiting list of potential
A:Most Toller breeders do have waiting lists for
upcoming litters; just make sure you let the other breeders whose
lists you are on know when you've found a puppy, so they can update
Q: Do you take deposits for puppies? Are
there any circumstances under which I may not get my deposit back
if I decide not to take a puppy from you?
A: Some breeders take deposits on puppies; others
do not. Some wait until a litter has been born before asking for
Q: Can I come and visit the puppies before
it's time for them to go to their new homes? How often can I come
to visit them?
A: Many breeders have weekends when they open their doors
to their buyers to come and play with the puppies; again, respect
the breeder's busy schedule and don't arrive unannounced.
Q: Do you provide your new puppy owners with
any kind of literature ie tips on crate training, housebreaking,
feeding, training etc?
A: Many breeders send their precious pups home with
"Puppy Packets," that are chock-full of invaluable info
on housebreaking, early obedience training, socialization, diet,
Above all else, educate yourself about the breed, and see as many
Tollers in person as you can (by visiting breeders, dog shows, obedience/agility
trials, field tests etc). The internet is full of information on
Tollers, and there are several books available as well. Arm yourself
with knowledge first, and then begin your search in earnest. This
breed is not for everyone, but by researching you'll discover if
a Toller is right for you. Remember, a breeder is someone you'll
have a relationship with for the 14-16 years of your Toller's life.
When you find a breeder you feel comfortable with, be prepared for
a wait for the right puppy - it'll be worth it.
Best of luck!