The purpose of this article is to help the prospective Weimaraner puppy owner find a reputable Weimaraner breeder.
There’s a lot of information here, which is an expanded version (clarification and minor corrections) of the Weimaraner Club of America’s article about “How to Choose a Weimaraner Breeder.”
It may take awhile to sift through, digest it all, and then go through breeder by breeder to get to a point where you’re comfortable getting a puppy from someone. Take a few days or weeks if you need to. The process should be time consuming, but your patience will be worth it.
Table of Contents
- Reputable Weimaraner Breeder Checklist
- Checklist Results Explained
- Purpose of Each Question
- A Few Final Thoughts
To get started, go through the below checklist with each breeder you’re considering a puppy from, and see where they rate on the scale.
For each row, circle yes or no from one of the two available columns. Once you are done, compare your answers with the key provided below the checklist.
Reputable Weimaraner Breeder Checklist
|Does the breeder bluntly state the purchase price without providing much other information?||No||Yes|
|Does the breeder produce puppies of any coat color other than silver, gray, silver-gray, mouse-gray, or blue?||No||Yes|
|Does the breeder claim to have rare dogs for sale?||No||Yes|
|Does the breeder indicate they have dogs with “champion bloodlines” or “top USA bloodlines?”||No||Yes|
|Is the puppy advertised on a website that ships puppies of multiple breeds?||No||Yes|
|Is the puppy advertised on local sites, like Craigslist?||No||Yes|
|Are there typos in the breeder’s announcement? (example: confirmation, pedegree)||No||Yes|
|Does the puppy purchase include written contract that outlines seller guarantees and buyer expectations?||Yes||No|
|Does the breeder acknowledge that Weimaraners may suffer from certain genetic, congenital, or heredity defects?||Yes||No|
|Does the breeder provide a health guarantee against hereditary and congenital defects?||Yes||No|
|Does the breeder provide you with copies of Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or PennHIP certificates for the puppy’s sire and dam?||Yes||No|
|If OFA certificates are available, can you verify through the OFA website that the sire and dam are both free of hip dysplasia?||Yes||No|
|Does the breeder guarantee that your puppy is certified to be free of hip dysplasia?||No||Yes|
|Does the puppy purchase include AKC registration documentation?||Yes||No|
|Is the purchase price required in full before the puppy is picked up/shipped?||No||Yes|
|Are puppies vaccinated according to Weimaraner Club of America (or more conservative) protocol?||Yes||No|
|Are tails docked and dewclaws removed?||Yes||No|
|Can the breeder easily explain what their pedigrees mean?||Yes||No|
|Can the breeder provide you with at least a 3-generation pedigree of both sire and dam?||Yes||No|
|Do you have an opportunity to visit the breeder and see where the puppies live prior to bringing your puppy home?||Yes||No|
|Does the breeder raise puppies inside their home?||Yes||No|
|Does the breeder provide a reasonable explanation for using a stud dog they own outright?||Yes||No|
|Does the breeder let you pick your own puppy?||No||Yes|
|Is the breeder willing to send your puppy home prior to the age of 7 weeks?||No||Yes|
|Does the breeder produce more than two litters per year?||Yes||Yes|
|Does the breeder send your puppy home to you with a “puppy package”?||Yes||No|
Breeder Knowledge and Commitment Level
|Is the breeder an active member in good standing in the Weimaraner community? Examples include, but are not limited to AKC, WCA and NAVHDA.||Yes||No|
|Can the breeder explain the importance of socializing puppies and how they do it?||Yes||No|
|Does the breeder expose the puppies to new things, both in and out of the home, before they are 8 weeks old?||Yes||No|
|Can the breeder provide you with a list of references from previous puppy buyers?||Yes||No|
|Does the breeder commit to being available for questions after your puppy is purchased?||Yes||No|
|Will the breeder take your dog back at any time if you can no longer care for it?||Yes||No|
Checklist Results Explained
Do any of your circled answers contain a red yes or no?
Some answers are so black and white that there’s no room for leeway. For example, there’s no possible way you are getting a puppy from a reputable breeder if your puppy isn’t coming to you with some sort of Purchase Agreement/Contract.
So, if there are any red yes or no circles (barring any very special or unique circumstances), the breeder gets an “automatic fail” in my book. Your best bet is to start over with a new breeder and fresh printout of the checklist.
How Many Ideal Results?
If you don’t have any red yes or no circles, then look at your answers to see how many circles are from the Ideal column, and how many circles are from the Not Ideal column.
Get in touch with the breeders with the most circles in the Ideal column, first. If you left some rows blank because you didn’t know an answer, be sure to ask and find out.
All or most circles from Ideal column, and 1-3 circles from the Not Ideal column
Good. Connect with the breeder to start a dialogue and ask them to explain any statements that caused a circle from the Not Ideal column. If their logic and reasoning makes sense to you, and you have an otherwise good gut feeling about them, by all means, continue your discussions.
4-9 circles from the Not Ideal column
Not as good, but not a complete dismissal, either. Start a dialogue and ask these breeders to explain any statements that caused a circle from the Not Ideal column. If you feel good about them after you hear from them, go ahead and keep them on your list. Alternatively, if you don’t get a warm/fuzzy or something just doesn’t seem right, use this opportunity to thank them for their time and move on.
10+ circles from the Not Ideal column
Bad. While maybe not one single thing might stand out as “bad,” if there are so many factors that aren’t ideal, I’d set these breeders aside until you go through the better rated ones.
Purpose of Each Question
Below is a bit of explanation of the above-listed questions. If this information isn’t provided on a breeder’s website, be sure to ask in your introductory message to them. While all breeders have their own opinions and philosophies (and the below is obviously mine), they should all be able to answer your inquiries in a friendly, non-defensive way.
Below, you might find some graphics bordered in GREEN. These are examples from other (mostly) WCA breeders across the country. Consider my linking to their website as a referral/recommendation of their breeding practices. If you’re local to any of these breeders, please reach out to them for assistance with a new Weimaraner puppy.
Does the breeder bluntly state the purchase price without providing much other information?
Price is usually the first question a potential puppy owner asks. You may notice that many breeders do not disclose this information publicly on their website (although some do, and that’s fine).
If you must know right away, ask, but also be sure to include a few more details in your message, like “Hi, my name is Joe. I’m looking to get a Weimaraner puppy to join my family this summer. We’re an active family and would like a dog that can join us on local hikes, down at the beach, etc. For budgeting reasons, I’d like to know what the average price of a Weimaraner puppy is. If you don’t mind sharing, that’d be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time.”
The point is, a message like “I’m looking for a puppy, how much do you charge?” tells breeders that you really haven’t done any research and responding to an inquiry like this is a waste of their time. If breeders are feeling short, messages like these end up in the trash, un-replied to.
It is best practice to just get into a discussion with a breeder about other important items first (like the next few items mentioned in this article), and then go back to the price question later.
Think about how much of a financial investment owning a dog is for the life of that dog, and realize that the up-front purchase price of a puppy is minuscule compared to dollars spent over time.
For example, the first year of owning your Weimaraner will likely cost you well over $1,000.
This price tag in Year 1 includes: Week 8 veterinarian visit/wellness check ($100), Week 12 vet visit/second round of shots ($100), Week 16 vet visit/titer or third round of shots ($100), Rabies shot ($100), Additional vaccinations/worming ($100), Flea/tick/heartworm treatments ($100), Grooming ($100), Crate ($100), Dog bed ($50), Collar and leash ($40), Food and water bowls ($30), Food ($100/month), Dog toys ($100), Dog chews and training treats ($100), Beginner puppy kindergarten classes ($100+), Intermediate puppy obedience classes ($100+), Doggy daycare/vacation/boarding ($20-$40/day), etc.
Additional/maintenance costs include: Food ($100/month), Flea/tick/heartworm treatments ($100), Grooming ($100), Booster shots and worming ($200), Vet visits for both foreseen and unforeseen circumstances ($1,000/year), Doggy daycare/vacation/boarding ($20-$40/day), WCA Membership Renewal Dues ($50-$60), etc.
If the difference of a couple hundred bucks is really enough to sway your decision about who to buy a puppy from, really think about whether or not you can afford to raise a dog for the next 10-15 years.
Red flag: A breeder’s puppy advertisement with nothing but the fact that puppies are available and how much they cost (Example: “Weimaraner puppies for sale, $800 each”) because this is an indication that the breeder is simply there to make a quick sale. It’s unlikely you’ll ever see that breeder again after you buy your puppy, and if your puppy isn’t well-bred and ends up sick, or with many different health or behavioral problems, that’s your burden alone.
Does the breeder produce puppies of any coat color other than silver, gray, silver-gray, mouse-gray, or blue?
The Weimaraner breed standard indicates that Weimaraners are solid in color, in shades of mouse-gray to silver-gray. Many breeders will refer to “silver-gray” as just “silver” or just “gray,” and that’s fine, too. Some breeders also choose to breed Blue Weimaraners. While no country currently recognizes the Blue variety, this doesn’t make them rare; the purebred heritage of the Blue Weimaraner is merely a matter of dispute.
Automatic fail: If a breeder advertises any other color of puppies, including but not limited to taupe, fawn, tan, chocolate, or black, run the other way. There is no such thing as a Weimaraner in these colors, and a breeder who claims otherwise doesn’t have a good handle on their breed standard.
Ads for purple Weimaraners for sale do exist. Guess what?! The color actually doesn’t. Same goes for lavender Weimaraners.
Does the breeder claim to have rare dogs for sale?
There is no reason a breeder should be advertising “rare” dogs for sale. This includes the discussion of Blue Weimaraners; they are NOT RARE and are deliberately produced.
Automatic Fail: The word “rare” in any section of a breeder’s advertisement/litter announcement.
Does the breeder indicate they have dogs with “champion bloodlines,” “well represented bloodlines” or “top USA bloodlines?”
This term is gimmicky, and is only used by breeders who want to lure customers in with buzzwords that make them look credible. Sadly, it works, because the average buyer sees these terms everywhere (especially from websites that specialize in selling and shipping puppies of all different breeds) and assumes it’s a sign of a legitimate breeder.
Truly responsible breeders don’t use these terms because they know it doesn’t mean anything. And, we’d be flogged by our peers if we ever dared try to use them. Instead, look for breeders who state that their dogs are themselves Champions. More on this topic below in the Pedigree discussion.
Is the puppy advertised on a website that ships puppies of multiple breeds?
This rides on the edge of automatic fail because 999 times out of 1,000, puppies who are sold on sites like nextdaypets, puppyfind, hoobly, or petcity come from someplace you don’t want to know about (puppy mills). There’s usually ZERO guarantee you’re getting anything worth buying, and your new puppy is likely to come home with serious health and temperament/behavioral problems. Don’t even count on being able to contact this breeder for questions after you bring your puppy home.
Bless you if you know this and want to “save this dog from this horrendous condition,” but know that by purchasing this puppy, you’re making room for another poor puppy to take it’s spot (and thereby contributing to the nasty cycle).
Once in a blue moon, you may find a credible breeder who uses a site like this to sell puppies they haven’t been able to place (due to poor timing, lack of personal website, etc.), but do you really want to sift through 999 ads just to find the ONE that might be legitimate? It’s better just to dismiss a breeder if you find them listed on a website like this; actually, just don’t look at these websites at all.
You’ll come across way more credible breeders by getting a referral through the Weimaraner Club of America, local dog clubs or weimaranerbreeders.org anyway.
Is the puppy advertised on local sites, like Craigslist?
This might be a smidge better than the above, but probably not much better.
Are there typos in the breeder’s announcement?
Commonly misspelled words include, “confirmation,” “duel,” and “pedegree.” A lack of grammar and spelling, especially for obvious dog terms, is an indication the breeder isn’t being as detail-oriented as they should be, and lack of details in a simple announcement might just be the tip of the iceberg for lack of details elsewhere.
Does puppy purchase include a written contract that outlines seller guarantees and buyer expectations?
Also important: Are they willing to send you a sample copy to review in advance of you making a commitment to purchase your puppy? Once you’ve viewed the contract, is the breeder able to answer any questions you have? Do you understand the terms and conditions? Can you comply with all the terms?
Caution: A breeder who offers a very thin contract that doesn’t provide any health guarantees or seller and buyer expectations.
Automatic fail: A breeder who does not offer a contract; as this is a very precise indicator of a breeder’s lack of credibility.
Does the breeder acknowledge that Weimaraners may suffer from certain genetic, congenital, or heredity defects?
Among other things, Weimaraners can have allergy problems, hip dysplasia, diaphragmatic hernias and bloat. Also, making a recent appearance are, eye, thyroid and autoimmune problems. A reputable breeder should be able to explain what these are in easy to understand terms.
Extra credit: A breeder who goes out of their way to describe and explain health issues that Weimaraners are predisposed to.
Automatic fail: If a breeder tells you that Weimaraners do not have genetic issues, or they ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE that their puppies do not and will not have any genetic issues, they simply aren’t being truthful and likely trying to make a quick sale. Run away, fast.
Does the breeder provide a health guarantee against hereditary and congenital defects?
At minimum, you should look for a breeder who provides a three year health guarantee against any types of hereditary or congenital conditions. Oftentimes, a congenital condition will be related to hip dysplasia. Note that a one year guarantee is generally meaningless because it takes more than one year for a Weimaraner to fully mature, and hips aren’t typically tested until a Weim is two-years old.
Be cautious of the way guarantees are worded. For example, “We offer a one year guarantee against any types of hereditary or congenital conditions.” If a breeder offers a limited guarantee (for the first year, for example), ask them if they’ll stand by a PennHIP score or preliminary OFA reading if a dog younger than two years of age is tested and shows signs of hip dysplasia.
Automatic fail: A breeder who provides zero guarantees whatsoever.
Does the breeder provide you with copies of Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)/PennHIP certificates for the puppy’s sire and dam?
Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disease that can produce various degrees of arthritis in a dog, which can also be painful and debilitating. OFA and/or PennHIP evaluations allow for responsible breeders to choose two healthy parents whose hips have been found free of Hip Dysplasia. (OFA is currently far more widely used by most breeders; PennHIP is also a reputable registry.)
In rare instances, a reputable breeder will not be able to provide this information, but if that’s the case, get into a discussion with the breeder and find out why. If their answer doesn’t make sense to you, move on.
Extra credit: A breeder who provides the OFA test numbers on their website.
Automatic fail: A breeder who tells you that hip evaluations are not important or not necessary for the Weimaraner breed.
Does the breeder guarantee that your puppy is certified to be free of hip dysplasia?
Automatic fail: Along the vein of irresponsible breeders getting sneaky, some might try to advertise that their puppies are “certified to be free of hip dysplasia.” To the unassuming buyer, this sounds wonderful, especially if another (reputable breeder) can’t make the same claim.
Unfortunately, this is entirely bogus. A dog’s hips cannot be officially evaluated with OFA until it is at least two years old. Anyone making this claim is looking to make a quick buck. Don’t let them get away with it.
Does puppy purchase include AKC registration documentation?
Within the United States, the most common national registry is the American Kennel Club (AKC). Unless there is a very unique circumstance why a breeder’s dogs aren’t registered with the AKC, NAVHDA, UKC or FDSB, there is no reason why your puppy shouldn’t come with appropriate registration documentation.
Red flag: A breeder who uses any other registry in the United States.
Automatic fail: A breeder who doesn’t have a good reason for not registering their dogs or tries to convince you it is okay to buy a dog without registration documentation.
Is the purchase price required in full before the puppy is picked up/shipped?
Most breeders will require a deposit of some amount to reserve your spot on a particular interest or waiting list. The remaining monies should not be paid until you pick up your puppy.
Red flag: A breeder who requires payment in full without evening meeting you, talking to you, or letting you pick up your puppy, is not looking out for your best interest, only theirs.
Are puppies vaccinated according to Weimaraner Club of America (or more conservative) protocol?
Weimaraners are prone to vaccination reactions; too many immunizations given at once can compromise a puppy’s immune system and cause lifelong medical problems. The WCA has an established vaccination protocol that most reputable breeders follow. Sometimes, a breeder will even go out of their way to follow are more conservative vaccine protocol.
Red flag: If a breeder does not follow the recommended WCA protocol.
Automatic fails: A breeder who tells you to ask your vet about “the proper vaccination protocol for your breed,” as that’s an indication that the breeder doesn’t know. (A Weimaraner breeder who isn’t aware about Weimaraners and vaccine reactions is living under a rock.) Also, beware of a breeder who denies that Weimaraners in general are susceptible to vaccine reactions, as this also demonstrates egregious lack of knowledge.
Are tails docked and dewclaws removed?
These procedures are necessary to conform to the Weimaraner breed standard and should be done on every short-haired Weimaraner puppy produced in the United States. I personally find the statement, “puppies come with tails docked, dewclaws removed” to be gimmicky (especially in a short litter announcement that doesn’t include much other language), so I don’t bother including this information on my website.
If a breeder doesn’t state this information, just confirm that they do it themselves or have it done for them. Many breeders in the Weimaraner community either do it themselves or have a trusted breeder friend/mentor do it for them. Vets are fine too, as long as they are familiar with the Weimaraner breed standard. If a breeder elects to go with a vet, have them verify that their vets know how to appropriately dock a Weimaraner tail. Too many vets haven’t a clue and don’t do it right. Unfortunately, once done incorrectly, (like docking a tail too short), it’s impossible to fix.
Caution: If a breeder admits to having full tails or dewclaws in place, ask them why, and move on if their reasoning doesn’t make sense to you.
Automatic fail: A breeder who declared “it was inhumane/harmful to the puppy so I skipped it this time.” This is a lame excuse for “I didn’t do it right.” (Note: I do agree that puppies may not like having their tails and dewclaws done, but it’s more important for me to comply with my breed’s written standard.)
Can the breeder easily explain what their pedigrees mean?
You may be thinking, “I’m only looking for a pet, I have no intentions of showing a dog, I just want a healthy puppy, and I don’t understand pedigrees… should I really care?” The answer is yes.
Let’s start with why a pedigree is important. The puppy you decide to purchase comes not only from the breeder that you buy from, but that puppy comes from the breedings of all the others breeders listed on the pedigree. The farther back you go, the less significant it is, but it DOES influence the health of your puppy in either a positive or negative way.
AKC-registered dogs may have prefix and suffix titles to their registered names. The best breeders out there are those who take real steps to prove that their dogs conform to the breed standard, and this is validated by those aforementioned titles. Succinctly put, the amount of prefix and suffix titles a dog has in their name directly corresponds to how proven they are.
Dogs do not become Champions if the person behind that dog is not respected by his or her peers. When you see a pedigree that is loaded with prefixes and suffixes, you are seeing generations of good breeding. Reputable breeders stand by their dogs and try as hard as possible to produce the best quality puppies they can.
While we can’t guarantee that a dog will not have genetic faults, your chances of getting a higher quality puppy are exponentially enhanced when you get it from a reputable breeder.
Caution: A pedigree with zero or very few prefixes and suffixes in a dog’s registered name, or zero prefixes or suffixes within the last three generations.
Can the breeder provide you with at least a 3-generation pedigree of both sire and dam?
If the breeder doesn’t provide a pedigree (with the AKC registration numbers for at least the sire and dam on it), ask for it. Once you get the pedigree, ask the breeder what you’re looking at. While every breeder breeds for a different/unique purpose, they should be able to intelligently explain their methods to you.
Automatic fail: If your breeder can’t provide you with this information, walk away.
Does the breeder breed more than one breed of dog?
Breeding is a lot of work; I have yet to find a credible breeder that can do this well with multiple breeds.
Red flag: A breeder who offers multiple breeds for sale.
Automatic fail: Any breeder who breeds hybrids, like Weimardoodles (Weimaraners crossed with Poodles), Weislas (Weimaraners crossed with Vizslas), Boweimars (Boxers crossed with Weimaraners) or Labmaraners (Laboradors crossed with Weimaraners).
Do you have an opportunity to visit the breeder and see where the puppies live prior to bringing your puppy home?
If yes, great. Once introduced, Weimaraners should be friendly, outgoing and curious. Weimaraners are protective, and it’s not uncommon for them to bark at strangers, but they should not be shy, growling or skittish.
The breeder should be willing to show you the dogs and their home or facilities. Check to see that the puppies are raised in clean, sanitary conditions, and fed a high quality food.
Red flag: If a breeder discourages you from visiting, it could be the dogs are in poor condition or have an unsuitable temperament.
Automatic fail: If a breeder prohibits you from visiting altogether before you commit to purchasing a puppy from them.
Does the breeder raise puppies inside their home?
Some breeders raise puppies in their home; others raise puppies in a kennel. While my personal preference is to raise puppies in my home, kennel-raised puppies aren’t necessarily a bad thing, provided there is an explanation of HOW they’re raised in either a home or a kennel.
It’s more important to know how clean the living conditions are, either in a home or a kennel, and how a breeder socializes their puppies. It’s much easier to socialize a puppy raised in a home environment, but that’s not the be all, end all. More on socialization below.
Does the breeder provide a reasonable explanation for using a stud dog they own outright?
A lot of people use the buzz phrase, “stud dog onsite,” and try to convince you that it’s best practice to “see both parents,” but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
I would go as far as saying that the term “both parents onsite” on a puppy announcement/ad is borderline cause for automatic fail.
Plenty of reputable breeders DO use sires we own outright, but we would never use “both parents onsite” as a tagline in our ads. It’s not uncommon (and actually more common practice) for breeders to breed their females to a sire in another part of the country, specifically to improve our breeding program and diversify their pedigrees.
If a breeder has both parents available/onsite, ask them to tell you about both pedigrees and about why they chose this particular breeding, and make sure their answers make sense to you. If you see a related or identical pedigree and the breeder is unable to provide you with an intelligent response about why this was done, this is very likely a sign of an unplanned breeding (between litter mates or mothers and sons, or fathers to daughters, etc.) and most often results when a breeder isn’t careful about their breeding practices.
In special circumstances, breedings of similar pedigrees are done intentionally; this is called line breeding and is a tool many breeders will use to strengthen a particular desirable trait in their breeding program.
Caution: If you suspect that a line breeding was done on an advertised litter of puppies, ask the breeder to explain their reasoning. If their answer makes sense to you, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Automatic fail: If a breeder can’t articulate their breeding in a way that makes sense to you, walk away.
Does the breeder let you pick your own puppy?
Gone are the days of going to a farm and picking out the puppy with the most wag in her tail. Responsible breeders will match your puppy for you. There are lots of reasons why we do this, but the basics is this: When we breed, there’s a very specific goal in mind, and our best-evaluated puppy is often ours to keep (or place in a private network of experienced Weimaraner owners).
We are also familiar with the unique temperament of each puppy and, at 7 weeks of age, match those temperaments with prospective owners.
Red flag: Breeders who let you come into their home when puppies are 8 weeks old and let you pick out anyone you want.
Automatic fail: Breeders who see no value in matching a specific puppy to the new puppy owner.
Is the breeder willing to send your puppy home prior to the age of 7 weeks?
In many states, it is illegal to send a puppy home prior to six weeks.
Automatic fail: A breeder who sells puppies as young as 5-6 weeks, and/or without a good reason for sending a pup home early (and there usually isn’t).
Does the breeder produce more than two litters per year?
There are awesome breeders who have lots of litters every year. There are also horrible breeders who have lots of litters every year.
The better question is, if a breeder has multiple litters every year, talk to them about who these dogs are, and why they’re breeding them. A good breeder will provide you with a very systematic/logical response.
Automatic fail: If you’re connecting with a breeder who doesn’t seem to have a good answer about why they’re breeding so often, and you can tell that they’re just using the same few dogs over and over again, thank them for their time and walk away.
Does the breeder send your puppy home to you with a “puppy package?”
Every breeder will have a different “package” that they send their puppies home with. Some will offer more than others. At minimum, your new puppy should come with AKC registration documentation, record of vaccinations, a written contract, and a commitment that the breeder is available via phone call or email to answer any questions you might have. Bonus points if the breeder sends you home with a supply of puppy food so that your puppy can transition onto different food, if needed.
Extra credit: More bonus points if your breeder goes above and beyond to include other stuff too, like socialization checklists, toys, treats, collars, etc.
Breeder Knowledge and Commitment Level
Is the breeder a member in good standing in the Weimaraner community?
Examples include, but are not limited to the Weimaraner Club of America (WCA), American Kennel Club (AKC), Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA), and other local breed clubs or all-breed performance clubs (like an obedience, agility or hunting club).
For the Weimaraner breed, active membership to the Weimaraner Club of America as well as other dog clubs is a very, very good sign. This tells you that your breeder is actively involved with the greater Weimaraner community, and helps assure you that there’s an entire community of Weimaraner lovers out there who are doing good work, together, to ensure you have a happy, healthy puppy.
If the breeder doesn’t disclose this information on their website, ask them about it. If they’re not members (and there are good breeders who aren’t), ask them why. If there’s a good/logical reason, that’s okay. (And you’ll find that these breeders are connected with other reputable Weimaraner breeders, too.) Being part of a community is how we connect to stay on top of Weimaraner breed health advances as well as problems.
Red flag: If it hasn’t occurred to the breeder to be a member, or there’s no good reason they’re not a member, like “it costs too much.”
Can the breeder explain the importance of socializing puppies and how they do it?
Good breeders should tell you that their puppies are well socialized. Be sure to ask them to define that statement. At minimum, the breeder should be able to tell you when they start exposing puppies to different environments, what those environments are, and why this is important.
Automatic fail: A breeder who doesn’t believe in the value of socialization, or can’t relay to you why it’s important.
Does the breeder expose the puppies to new things, both in and out of the home, before they are 8 weeks old?
Don’t buy the excuse of a breeder who claims to be unable to take a puppy outside the home prior to 8 weeks because “this introduces germs.” They’re simply being lazy or irresponsible; neither traits are particularly appealing. Very young puppies who are nursing get antibodies from their mother’s milk.
Regardless, it’s crucial/more important that young puppies are exposed to new things, people and circumstances outside their home environment. If a breeder waits beyond 8 weeks to do this, a very critical development window closes and creates an uphill battle for that puppy to “socially catch up,” and to make matters worse, this responsibility then becomes yours, the new puppy owner, to deal with.
Automatic fail: A breeder who doesn’t understand why it’s important to get the puppy out before 8 weeks of age.
Can the breeder provide you with a list of references from previous puppy buyers?
Some breeders include a “testimonials” page on their website to showcase how happy their previous owners are with their pups. While that’s great, don’t let that be your only guide. Ask the breeder to provide you with contact information to other puppy owners.
Be sure to ask these owners what they think of their relationship with the breeder, how often they contact them (socially and to ask for advice), and whether or not their dog has any medical, health or behavioral issues. These are things a breeder may not want to disclose on their own website.
Red flag: A breeder who is reluctant to provide this information.
Automatic fail: A breeder who says they don’t keep in touch with people they sell their puppies to.
Can the breeder provide you with a list of other (local) breeders?
Good breeders are keyed in with other breeders, and we’re confident enough in ourselves and our practices that we encourage potential puppy owners to talk to many of us; it’s the responsible thing to do.
Caution: A breeder who is unable to provide a list of other local breeders; it’s a sign that they’re disconnected from the Weimaraner community. Also be cautious of a breeder who badmouths other breeders, especially if it’s early in your discussions with them.
Automatic fail: A breeder who tries to “close the deal” with you while discouraging you from talking to others, or makes you feel rushed like you have to “make a decision now or you will be off the waiting list.”
Does the breeder commit to being available for questions after your puppy is purchased?
Especially for first time puppy owner, having the breeder available as a resource after the puppy comes home is a very valuable asset. As much as folks do their homework and read all the books, sometimes, it’s just better to be able to pick up the phone or shoot an email; the breeder is usually the most efficient resource for getting a question answered. Good breeders want to be that resource, 2, 5, 7, even 12 or 15 years down the road.
Extra credit: A breeder who makes this commitment before you have to ask the question.
Will the breeder take your dog back at any time if you can no longer care for it?
Despite our best efforts, crap happens.
Sometimes, people find themselves in certain situations that conflict with maintaining good care for their dogs. Reasons include, but are not limited to: loss of employment, move across the country, move across continents, divorce, serious illness, or death. At times, a buyer may decide that despite their efforts, they’re just not compatible with the temperament and size of a Weimaraner.
A responsible breeder will state that they will take a dog back at any time if a buyer’s situation changes. A nice breeder won’t judge the owner for making that decision. (We’re all human, and we have our limits.) Ask a breeder how many times they’ve had to take back a dog, and in those circumstances, find out why a dog was surrendered.
Caution: Be wary of breeders who frequently take dogs back because the new owners thought the dog was too active or too destructive. This says two things: 1) The breeder isn’t screening families well enough to place puppies in the right home that will provide structure and training, and 2) The breeder may be breeding puppies with poor/incorrect temperaments. Neither are ideal scenarios.
Automatic fail: A breeder who says they’re unable to take dogs back after they’re sold.
Example: “Purchaser understands that if after receiving the puppy listed below, Purchase is no longer able to care for their puppy, (due to but not limited to, allergies, landlord refusal, family problems, financial problems or adjustment problems) that no refund will be given by the Seller. Purchase understands that it is the Purchaser’s responsibility to place their puppy in a quality home…”
This is a sign these breeders are not being sustainable about their breeding habits and leaves you, the buyer, with the stress of trying to figure out what happens to your dog if you’re stuck in a predicament. Worse, if your dog ends up at the local pound because you couldn’t find anyone who was willing to take in a large, active Weimaraner, you’re now contributing to the amount of homeless pets in our country. Don’t be the asshat who leaves your dog stranded.
A Few Final Thoughts
Not everyone is going to have all of the above-posted information readily available on their website, if they have a website. If there’s a question you have for a breeder, just ask them.
Everyone should answer a different way; that’s okay, and it’s what makes us all unique. Folks who go the breeder route should interview and meet with as many breeders as they can, and at the end of the process, they should end up with someone they trust and know they can have a good long-term relationship with.
Not every breeder will be right for every prospective puppy buyer, and vice versa, but that doesn’t make either party “bad.” It’s not a one size fit all kind of effort.
The Bottom Line
We should all be able to provide you with an answer that makes sense to you. It’s also okay if you don’t agree with everything I wrote; that’s entirely your call.
But – Be cautious of anyone who gets defensive or becomes non-responsive. If someone’s answer doesn’t jibe with you, that’s okay, and if you decide not to continue a conversation with them, simply thank them for their responses and let them know you’ll reach out again if you have any questions. It’s just plain nice to close the conversation loop.
At the end of this process, go with someone you trust and have a really good gut feeling about.
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