The Next Step is:
Finding Your Puppy
Puppy Mills
AKC Breeders
Breed of Their Own
Elsie's First Year
Contracts are always weighted to the Seller's advantage. It is what those advantages are that is important. Have you been given a chance to read it prior to the sale? Remember in the previous section we discussed walking away from any breeder who won't send you a contract. Suppose that is the case with a breeder who is reputable, and you have feelings not to walk away. Then go with your gut. But privately take your time reading the contract.

Below are items to think about and tips from my actual contract with the breeder for puppy number six. As I've said before, I was trusting her to be honest and signed without even looking at it. I never read it until two days later when I was rushing to the vets. Please read yours first!
At this point, I need to apologize for the quality of these images. This is my actual contract. It got a bit wrinkled so to speak. I am very passionate about this subject. I am very passionate about fairness to all, honesty and decency. You will feel it as you read to the end. I make no apologies for it.
And your off.... This is usually the first paragraph in the contract. Your responsibilities as the new owner of this dog.
Item Number Two: You are only going to agree if you have in your hand the contract you negotiated for. There will be two contracts. Make sure both say the same thing and sign, print your name and date.
Item Number Three: This is part about getting to the vet on time. Unfortunately, most big problems don't start to appear until after this time period, such as inherited genetic disorders. Push the time limit of warranty to at least 36 months for congenital health issues. Dogs can not be tested until 26 months. Where it says "the agreement shall be null and void" make sure to add "with an immediate CASH REFUND."

The Code of Ethic for Great Pyrenees says: It is the ethical obligation of a member breeder to guarantee dogs produced and sold to be as represented. Any replacement or refund arrangement agreed to by breeder and buyer and just to the interests of both parties shall be considered satisfactory. It is understood, however, that any dog which dies or must be destroyed before the age of 18 months due to physical or temperamental conditions which are hereditary, shall be replaced one for one, within a year of death. or if that is not possible, the full purchase price shall be refunded

This is why you need all the information you can derive from different sources. This Ethics clause should be duly considered in a contract. Be sure you get it put in.
Item Number Four: Now this is the end all condition. It leaves them every which way out of this contract. My breeder didn't even ask me if I had a fence or how I planned on keeping the dog safe while outdoors. This is all in here so if anything happens to the dog other then sheer neglect by you, it will always be your fault.

When my puppy Bella was diagnosed with Sudden Rage Syndrome which is an incurable mental deformity inherited from one of the parents; this line basically says it was my fault because I didn't do one of the items on the list properly. Because this mental condition is a rule out situation, Bella went thru many test and office visits. She was mauling me and I looked like ground meat. She was dangerous and I needed to put her down. The Parent Club called pleading with me to let them come and get her. I recovered my purchase price and money for the veterinarian bill minus the office visit fee.

To me, this is just thrown in there because they don't want to have any discussion about it and it puts you in the wrong for anything because other than shots you can't prove any of the other items. I would have changed it to read, "Buyer accepts full responsibility for the animal and to be refunded if a congenital disorder occurs because the breeder did not perform all necessary testing, deworming or shots prior to leaving the Seller".

I strongly feel it is not there right to tell me what food diet I have to follow or whether it is not my right to judge whether I feel my dog should see the vet at any particular time. Also what are the particulars of "not limited to"? I purchased an expensive purebred dog; the breeder should have no rights after the money is in her hands.
Here are the Breeder's responsibilities.
Item Number One: The AKC registration papers. There is no reason I can think of when this would ever occur with a reputable breeder.
Item Number Two: Where is the proof, for you the buyer, to see that this was done. Was an exam, blood tests, and cultures done before they were mated? Were the Sir/Dam taken to an Animal or Dog Behaviorist to determine mental stability? This item suggests that there are testing results to be seen.
Item Number Three: How does a breeder guarantee this? A hunch? The adult breeding kennel dogs I saw were not typical of their breed. They were excessively barking and climbing their pen fencing. They were not clean and more than obvious to any prior dog owner, had not been exercised properly. If you should find this not to be true, what reparations are given to you for misleading a buyer? Are the parents there for you to see for yourself?


These two sentences, what is advertised and Code of Ethics are like some giant oxymoron. What is the whole truth about AKC Registration Papers for Companion Dogs? This is a conundrum I will never understand. It is not straightforward making it confusing to the average person. Let's see what is going on in writing.
The first sentence in this contract says that your companion dog is sold without any AKC papers at all. Then contradicts itself in the second sentence telling you that if you want the AKC papers just stop by and prove you did the spaying/neutering. Which is it? The papers are Limited Registrations which means you can't register any offspring of this puppy if you wanted to. So what is the big deal about these papers in the first place.
All/Most breeders advertise that they provide the AKC Registration papers upon the conclusion of the sale. Limited for companion dogs and Full for show dogs. In that the advertisement it says this. then why is the contract opposite. If they have no intention of giving you the papers when their ad said they would, they have committed the sin of defrauding the public. Confused yet?
Previous sections of this site talk about the Code of Ethics and why you need to know what  it says and compare it to the contract. Actually all clubs highly recommend giving a copy of their Code of Ethics to their prospective buyers. Because this contract was for a Great Pyrenees, here are two clauses from their Code of Ethics about this subject

1. The breeder shall supply the AKC full or limited individual registration form or a written guarantee that it shall be supplied by the time the pup is 4 mos old, or on completion of sale. A puppy may, for good cause, be sold without papers if this is understood and agreed to in writing by both parties, as specified by AKC.

Basically this is saying they have to give you the AKC application for registration by at least four months old with out a spay/neuter condition.

2. Any animal sold under the designation "pet/companion" shall be sold without full registration papers and on a mandatory spay/neuter contract. A breeder may supply full registration papers upon proof of sterilization or upon the breeders reassessment of the animal as being of "show/breeding" quality.

It is the responsibility of a breeder to grade all litters as to quality. A breeder shall not offer a buyer the choice of purchasing the same pup for one price with full registration and another price with limited registration. A breeder may choose to change a registration from limited to full at a later date. The buyer may be offered this option which may be contingent upon a change of contract and terms but not contingent upon payment of an additional price.

In the first paragraph a companion dog will not be sold with Full Registration papers. Of course it won't because by contract the dog has to be spayed/neutered which automatically makes it a Limited Registration for reasons already mentioned.

The AKC says: "Puppies can be assigned full or limited registration by the breeder. Limited registration is for puppies that the breeder does not consider breeding quality.Limited Registration means that the dog is registered but no litters produced by that dog are eligible for registration."

If the dog is not breeding quality, then why is it eligible for Full Status with or without being fixed? Well, that owner must want to be eligible to enter AKC competitions. However, if it has not been fixed yet, the owner now has breeding rights because Full Status allows litters to be registered as Full also.
Can you imagine trying to figure this all out while experiencing high emotions. Try figuring it all out when you are not emotional or stressed. The contract is only at the halfway point.
Farther down in the contract it is talking about congenital defects again. There is a discrepancy here that warrants a change. The puppy is guaranteed against hip dysplasia for 24 months. Should this event happen, you would only need to provide the x-rays no questions asked.

However if it has a different congenital defect such as Eptopic Ureter, and it happens prior to 12 months, you have to go thru all the hoops that follow. A congenital defect is genetic. It has nothing to do with how you treated and cared for the dog as the owner. You did not cause this problem.

Insist that the 12 months is extended to 36 months also without the hoops. Unconditional CASH BACK REFUND. The Buyer bears expenses for correction.

There is a good reason. Hip testing cannot be done until 24 months. This makes things a little different. You are suppose to receive all testing reports, x-rays and such at the point of sale. This is impossible to see those reports. However, as was written in the AKC Breeders section, both parents have to have been tested as shown on the Certified Pedigree. If one or both parents have not been cleared, your dog is at high risk.

I would want a clause put in effectively saying: "Should one or both parents not cleared as the Certified Pedigree should show OFA, the Breeder at their expense will have the dog tested by OFA for Hip and Elbow at 24 months. Test results with positive results,meaning the dog has inherited the afflictions, commits to seller a refund FULL IN CASH to Buyer. The Buyer retains procession of said dog.  It shall be Buyer's decision and expense for correction."

Please look in the Appendix for a printable list of Testing Time Tables. You may want other testing done.

All of the same conditions, guarantees and warrantees are repeated just worded differently to make it that much more confusing.

Then you get to the last section and it is absolves the Breeder of everything that may happen to the dog right in the first sentence.

Possibly the accident itself was due to a genetic disorder not yet definitely diagnosed and that caused the death, injury or deformity? That is not your fault if you didn't know about the disorder. Then what? CASH BACK REFUND ONLY PLUS VET BILLS.
Should some reason presents itself that makes it impossible for you to keep your dog, the last thing I would do is bring it back to this bad breeder to find it a new home. You will want to know where your heart has gone to. There's bound to be a friend or family member who will take your dog for you. If not, ask the breed's rescue club to take it in and re-home for you. You can be assured it will be given a wonderful new home.
This contract allows the Breeder, for any reason they come up with, at any time come and take your dog. Have this clause taken out!
This line of the contract is absurd. Should you pick a puppy at four weeks and the deposit was accepted (get a receipt), why would it not be the puppy you desired with  the gender and quality is was chosen for at the time of pick-up. If the puppy died before eight weeks, the breeder was negligent and you would demand a refund of your deposit. You would never put down a deposit on an invisible puppy in the first place.
Assuming you got thru this entire page, you can see why contract wording is crucial. This is why
you ask for it before hand. It sometimes might take you three times to read to find all the nuances that the breeder has slipped in. Especially if you are paying $3500 for a companion dog or show dog.

Please get the contract before hand. A contract like this one would immediately make alarm bells go off that this breeder is a swindler and you should pass them by.

Look how far you've come! You are now about to take the last step that puts you on top of the ladder! Coming up are two sections about Rescue Dogs and from my point of view, the best choice you have! The first section is what goes on behind the scenes to make it all work. The second section is about raising and caring for a rescue dog. They are a breed of their own.   
Congratulations for coming this far!
You are about to meet your new best friend!
You will only have so many days (usually 72 hours) to take your puppy to the veterinarian of your choice for a first checkup. Make a pre-appointment for the following day after pick-up day. You must be satisfied because you only have four days to arrange the return of the dog back to the owner at your at your expense. If you live far away from the breeder, timing is everything here.
Conditions of returning the dog, in most contracts, say you can have one of like quality. The next quality could have problems also. Have the contract negotiated to CASH REFUND only. This is a deal breaker. To negotiate this change the breeder will tell you that the dog has to be seen by her veterinarian (demand that it is the one who cleared the dog), who has to agree on the diagnosis of your veterinarian. You will need all of the veterinarian's records, test results, cultures and x-rays. The breeder will always make sure your veterinarian is wrong.

You have a right to be at the examination. Call the office and get the date and time. Write it down and date/time you called. You have that information on your certified veterinarians report. Chances are good if you bring all original paperwork, such as the contract, and all original vet records. Ask your veterinarian if you can have the originals until you are finished. They will want to make copies first. They could all be computerize in which case they are just printed off.
Remember you may be miles from the breeder you bought from. Not returning your money, IN CASH as written into the contract is reason enough for small claims court. You have to file the case in the municipality the breeder lives in. Take some  time out before driving back home to visit the court and ask for information on how to file a claim. Also, should you live in NYS, the law states the breeder has to pay for the first veterinarian bill except for the actual "Office Visit Fee" when the dog was found unsound.
What is orally said by the breeder is of no use; it can not be considered evidence. Make sure it is in writing always signed and dated by both you and the seller. Bring a small pocket recorder or your phone if it has that feature. Do not say this before you hit record. You must announce that you are recording your conversations to avoid any misunderstandings. This is not a joke! How I wish my phone had a record button. Should the breeder refused to be taped, then please leave. Not agreeing to such a simple request in today's world indicates underhanded ethics.
In the event that you did not get the contract before hand, be resolute in wanting time and privacy to go over the contract. Once you sign that contract, it is almost impossible to get your money or dignity back. You were just played. It is a shell game. In all the confusion, then pushing you along as fast as they can, the breeder could care less what happens to you or your puppy once you leave the driveway.
You are feeling anxious/nervous/excited for another dog (or your first). Everyone in this situation has felt like you do now. We all went thru the initial financial expense, anguish, vet bills, mauling and medications only to put the puppy down before it was a year old. Keep your head on.

You can hold on a little longer to avoid this mistake. This is not the time to be foolish. Wait until you have done all the research, not skipping steps. It will be well worth it in the end.