breeder's contract

What You Need to Know About a Breeder’s Contract

The contract that you sign when you buy your dog from a breeder is much more than a simple bill of sale. It guarantees your rights and the seller’s rights in the transaction, sometimes for the life of your pet. It is also a meaningful document in the history of generations in your dog’s family line.

A written breeder’s contract can take many forms; its stipulations can be negotiated between you and the breeder. Many factors come into play – whether you intend to show your dog, for example, or past experiences either of you has had in owning a purebred dog.

A responsible breeder is more than happy to discuss every aspect of your dog’s future with you, to ensure that he’s putting the dog into a good home. But even if the two parties are best of friends, a comprehensive contract helps guarantee they will remain so.

Bill of Sale

The bill of sale, or proof that you have paid the breeder or his agent for your dog, may contain some clauses required by law. Certain states, for example, require that a breeder or pet store take a pet back and refund your money if the pet becomes ill within 48 hours from the time of purchase. Before you pay anyone for a dog, review your state’s or municipality’s laws concerning pet sales.

AKC Registration Application

The breeder’s contract must guarantee that your dog qualifies for registration. In the United States, registration with the American Kennel Club is the most common proof of pure breed. The AKC, however, recognizes over 150 dog breeds, while the Continental Kennel Club recognizes 444 plus some crossbreeds. A few other organizations, such as Dog Registry of America, also track purebred lineage. Reputable breeders won’t hesitate to answer any questions you have about registering your dog. Still, before reaching a final agreement, it’s best to check rules and regulations on the Web site of their breed registration organization.

The American Kennel Club requires breeders to keep complete records and do a fair amount of timely paperwork. A breeder must register each litter with the AKC, listing the registration numbers of each parent, as well as clearly distinguishing each member of the new litter.

Once the litter is registered and the puppies are old enough to part from their mother, the seller must give you a properly completed AKC registration application. This application must contain the breeder’s signature as well as the dog’s full breeding information, which includes:

Added Clauses

Once the basic provisions of a minimal health guarantee and lineage are included, either party can add provisions to the breeder’s contract.