BEWARE! Breeders lie. If a breeder cannot answer these questions with PROOF or acts annoyed that you are asking, walk away! Yes...we are giving you the "cheat codes" & answers for finding a reputable breeder (even if it's not us) HINT- A professional or beautiful website is NOT a good indication of a reputable breeder. Ask these questions and ask for the proof. Good breeders have nothing to hide:
Prices on puppies should be asked for LAST. High prices do not indicate a quality puppy! Most quality breeders keep their puppies between $2500-$5000 (current comparisons- males are on lower end of $). Anything above that or below "may" indicate a problem unless they are older puppies or retired dogs. Be sure to ask these questions and trust your instincts.
1. " Are ALL of your dogs and litters AKC registered and MAY I SEE PROOF?" The RIGHT answer whether you WANT AKC papers or not is YES they are. Please ask to see the parents AKC paperwork before purchasing the puppy. Many breeders say they are registered but the parents are not. Many breeders like us require proof of spay or neuter before paperwork is issued for your puppy. WARNING! CKC and other registering "organizations" are for puppy mills and backyard breeders. If the parents are not AKC, back away slowly and politely. WHY AKC? AKC has a strong reputation in the USA for quality registrations and field reps who visit breeders and expect high quality care, excellent documentation and proper safety and expectations measures place. (AKC visited us in 2022 and we passed with flying colors)
2. Do you health test your Chihuahuas through DNA and OFA? RIGHT answer- You are looking for OFA paperwork on the PARENTS (patella, heart and eyes). You can check out a breeder by doing a search here----> OFFA.org. Vet examinations check ups mean NOTHING/NADA more than a quick exam looking for obvious problems. Most genetic issues are only detected with proper testing. Ask to see the OFA patella, heart and eyes. Do not take anyone's word. " I know my lines "or "I never have issues" is also not acceptable. You may also ask for DNA testing of specific diseases to see what your new puppy may be a carrier of. NEVER purchase a puppy from two parents who carry the same problematic gene. Doubling up on carrier status is dangerous.
3. Where do your Chihuahuas live during the day and night? ASK to see their indoor and outdoor facilities in person or FaceTime. Walk away if you are told no. RIGHT answer- All quality breeders keep their dogs inside or in a climate controlled facility with socialization and human interaction as a family member. Look around on the property and make an educated decision. Remember people will lie. Ask "What's in that shed(s)? "Where are the parents right now? LOOK at their condition. Are they clean? Nails trimmed?
4. Do you offer a health guarantee? RIGHT answer- You are looking for at LEAST a one month initially for diseases but TWO YEARS for genetic/congenital issues.
5. May we visit you? RIGHT answer- Most quality breeders breed their puppies from their personal home which means it's not like a store. Your breeder may only want serious buyers in their home but you should be able to FaceTime or Zoom live. Never send money to anyone until you see a puppy live or at least on Zoom/FaceTime. Do not be offended if you cannot visit while the puppies are young (under 8 weeks old). Dog diseases are carried on people and their clothing and until the puppies are vaccinated, breeders are very cautious.
6. What do you feed your adults? Any good quality food or feeding raw is acceptable. What do you feed your puppies? High quality puppy food for the first year is acceptable. We happen to like Royal Canin Chihuahua food and suggest feeding a raw diet when possible.
7. How do you socialize your puppies? Using Puppy Culture method is best in our opinion. We also follow the suggestion of "BadAss Breeder" If they do not use Puppy Culture or Badass breeding suggestions, at least find out if they clip toenails regularly, interact with the family, are exposed to different sights and sounds and have ample opportunity for play and use of toys and chewies. Usually, the breeder has enough on his or her plate that a 10-12 week old puppy is not leash trained or potty trained yet. Good breeders will at least start the potty/pad/litter box training and give you good advice going forward.
8. What are your requirements for a home for one of your puppies? You should expect a rigorous questionnaire and phone call from a breeder. YOU should also ask many questions in return.
9. Do you show or are involved in the breed other than breeding? Do you rescue Chihuahuas? Are you involved in obedience? RIGHT answer is YES for any and or all of these questions. Here at Impeccable Chihuahuas, we try to rescue at least one Chi at a time to rehabilitate and occasionally show in conformation when we have a great contender. We are members of the International Chihuahua Club as well.
10. How do you select where your puppies go? RIGHT answer- Trustworthy and quality breeders ask MANY questions to find the right homes. Quality breeders don't just sell to anyone and certainly not to puppy shops or pet shops. Expect to pay for quality and support from your breeder. MOST quality breeders will not sell to anyone with full breeding (full AKC rights).
11. Google Search and use Public records searches to investigate your breeder and spouse/co-breeder completely! Ask for your breeders FULL name and address. Ask for a copy of their driver's license. We learned the hard way that People lie :( We are happy to provide you with our information to search us. A professional website is NOT a good indication of quality puppies!
12. Do you work outside of the home? Most quality hobby breeders do. If the individual relies on their puppy sales to live/pay bills, proper decisions for the dogs' health, testing and more may not be taken into consideration since the breeder relies on puppy money to live. If they have a spouse or significant other ask what they do as well. Use your best judgement here. RARELY will you find quality puppies raised with care if the person is a full time breeder. MOST quality puppies will come from someone who has a full time job outside of raising dogs or has income from other sources. We are educators and our passion is our dogs, not a source of our income. We drive average, older cars and live within our means through our jobs not the dogs. Look to see how many expensive cars/toys a breeder has and compare it with their jobs vs. puppy sales. YOU are smart :) It will make sense once you understand. Our dog sales go back into vet care, dog shows, testing and general care of our dogs.
13. Who do you have watching your dogs when you work or go away? (see #12) Most quality breeders DO have dog sitters or help when they work outside the home.
14. May I see your yearly veterinary invoice? touchy subject but please ask anyway. Ours was $26,000