Once you have finally decided that you want to give a home to an English Springer puppy, you will need to find a suitable breeder.Do not buy a puppy from a pet shop where you are unable to see the mother, or meet the breeder.Beware of puppy farms, or dealers advertising a number of available puppies of different breeds.Puppy farms are places where puppies are bred purely for profit, with no consideration given to the welfare and health of the animals. DO look for a reputable breeder.Visit dog shows and speak to breeders.The breeders listed on our website are members of the English Springer Spaniel Club of Canada and as members are expected to follow a strict Code of Ethics for breeding.
A reputable breeder will register their puppies with their respective Kennel Club and provide registration documents at the time of sale. They will make use of any health testing schemes and be willing to show you copies of the certificates.A good breeder will offer you written advice covering feeding, worming, immunization and socialization.
What questions should you ask a breeder prior to purchasing a puppy?
1. How many litters of puppies do you have each year?
2. How many females of breeding age do you have on the premises? If a breeder has many bitches that are bred regularly, then it is probably a money making enterprise and you should not buy a puppy from them.)
3. How many times will you breed each female in her lifetime? How many times a female is bred varies, it is usually not more than 4 times. If she is continually bred for her entire breeding life then she may be suffering health issues herself because of over breeding. This will not produce healthy puppies. This could be a sign that this is an unethical or for profit breeder.
4. How many male dogs of breeding age do you have? Beware if there are a ridiculous number of intact (breedable) males on the premises.
5. How do you insure that your breeding dogs are healthy? A responsible breeder will check the health of their dogs regularly, via regular visits to the veterinarian. Tests done on eyes, hips, elbows, etc... should be performed prior to breeding and certification of such tests should be available to you.
6. Do you x-ray and submit the parents for hip dysplasia (OFA Certification)? Ask to see the OFA certification. If necessary, ask for clarification as to what the results mean.
7. Do you annually, have the eyes of your breeding dogs checked by an ophthalmologist (CERF certification)? Once again ask to see the CERF certificate. If necessary, ask for clarification as to what the results mean.
8. What are the temperaments of the sire and dam? A good breeder will welcome the opportunity to talk about their dogs and discuss their temperaments with you. Ideally, you should be able to meet the dam of the litter.
9. At what age do you let your puppies go to their new homes? The best age to send a puppy to their new home is between 8 and 12 weeks. Be wary of the breeder who is letting you take your puppy earlier than 8 weeks. They are not ready to leave their mother and littermates. They need the interaction with their littermates to equip them with the tools they’ll need later in life. They learn how to play, assert themselves, be humbled, become confident and secure.
10. Can I pick my own puppy from the litter? A good breeder will match the puppy to the new family's lifestyle and personalities. A mismatch could cost the puppy his or her life and not be pleasant for the family. Ideally you want a breeder that will not let you pick your own puppy, but rather direct you to the best match suitable to your own personality and lifestyle.
11. Where are your puppies raised? Be wary of the puppies that are raised in outdoor cages or small confined areas with little or no human contact. They will not be socialized or used to handling. A responsible breeder will raise puppies in a location within their home where puppies can receive lots of daily interaction and attention in a safe enclosure.
12. How do you socialize your puppies before they leave your premises? A good question and something that must be done. Beware of the breeder who tells you that they are well socialized and then can’t give you specifics. They need human interaction, exposure to different sounds and surfaces as well as constant handling.
13. Can I visit the sire and dam, if both are on the premises before the litter is born? A responsible breeder will welcome your visit.
14. Can I visit the facility that the puppies will be raised in? Once again there should be no hesitation.
15. At what age can I visit my puppy for the first time and can I bring my children? Once again you should be encouraged to visit and always with your children. Some breeders may have specific requirements pertaining to visits in order to maintain the health and well being of the young puppies and could have guidelines for you to follow.
16. Am I required to spay/neuter? This should be a requirement. Spay/Neutering will make your dog a better pet and keep her/him healthier, reduce the risk of reproductive cancers and behaviors associated with sexual maturity.
17. Do you have a contract? Most reputable breeders will have some type of contract. These will vary from breeder to breeder and you should ask to see a copy of it. They should be willing to provide you a copy without hesitation. It should clearly outline the health guarantees provided by the breeder, their requirements for the puppy's care, and any additional requirements surrounding the purchase of the puppy.
18. Can I contact you at any time with questions or perhaps to help me solve a problem? Once again the answer should be Yes. A good breeder will encourage you to keep in touch and want to help you when you have a question.
19. Will you take the puppy/dog back if I can no longer keep it? The answer here should be Yes. The breeder should be concerned about his/her dogs for their entire life. This should not stop at the time of the sale.
20. Can you help me find a good trainer for obedience/agility/etc.? A caring and good breeder will want you and your new dog to get a good start and have a long and happy relationship. Obedience training will get you off on the right foot with your new puppy and should be encouraged by the breeder. A breeder should be able to direct to you a local trainer, or help to find recommendations for someone in your area.
21. Do you require obedience training? A good breeder will want you to learn to work with your dog and teach both the dog and your family how to live together and what to expect of each other. Good obedience training will make your dog a pleasure to be around and ultimately insure that he/she has a happy home with a family that understands and loves him/her.
22. What is the price of your puppies? This varies from breeder to breeder. A bargain is just that. There is a good chance that if the price is really cheap then the breeder did not put any money into raising the litter and testing their breeding dogs for inheritable diseases. Beware! A savings of a few hundred dollars could cost you thousands in veterinary expenses in the future.
23. Are your dogs on heartworm medication? A responsible breeder will keep all of the dogs on heartworm medication in areas of risk. The prevalence of heartworm and recommendations for management vary across the country.
24. Were the puppies wormed? All puppies should be wormed starting at about 3 weeks of age and at least one more time before they leave.
25. Will my puppy be vaccinated and if so, what for? Vaccination protocols/laws vary from region to region and breeder to breeder, from veterinarian to veterinarian. Your puppy should have it's first vaccination before it leaves the breeder. You should contact your veterinarian and ask what they recommend and then discuss this with the breeder. Be sure you feel comfortable with your breeder’s response.
26. Do I need to pay more for registration papers? No. A puppy that is sold as a purebred should have registration papers provided at no extra charge.
27. Do you as the breeder have any questions for me as the buyer? They will probably have several, and may have an application form for you to fill out. Answer this as truthfully as possible, as they are only trying to make sure that they can provide you with information you may require to have a happy relationship with a puppy.
28.If the breeder doesn't have any puppies, are there any older dogs they might be looking to place? Or a waiting list they you can get on? Sometimes a breeder may have an older puppy or adult dog that is looking for a home for various reasons.You may still be able to find the perfect pet - just a little bit older! Or the breeder may be having a litter in the near future and you can get on the waiting list.
29.Can you put me into contact with any previous puppy buyers? Responsible breeders often maintain contact with their previous puppy buyers.Sometimes word of mouth is the best recommendation, and you will be able to see what previous litters have produced.
30. Do you compete with your dogs in any sort of venue?Do they have any titles? Most responsible breeders will want to ensure that the dogs selected for breeding have met certain standards. Often times this will involve a Championship title in the conformation ring. A field bred springer should have a history of field trials and titles in its background. Many breeders will have other titles on their dogs as well to show their versatility.
This is just a guide to help you find a considerate and responsible breeder to buy your new family member from. Please use this to help you weed through the many breeders you should speak to. Find a breeder that will take the time to talk to you and the one that makes you feel comfortable. Remember, the puppy will be with you for it's lifetime. Do not rush into buying a puppy on a whim. Do your homework to ensure you find the right one!