|QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU BUY
|I would like to first start off by saying, BUYER BEWARE. Here in Washington State, there are two
rottweiler kennels operating what I would consider puppy mills and numerous classified ads from
BYB in every news paper in every town. My best advice to all perspective puppy buyers is to get
educated. Contact the rottweiler breed parent club for the country in which you live in. That being the
American Rottweiler Club here in the US and the Rottweiler Club of Canada. Their websites are full of
information that you should know before purchasing a rottweiler. Other breed clubs to look into are
the American Rottweiler Verin and the United States Rottweiler Club or anyone of the numerous local
Secondly, KNOW THE STANDARD. You will see many claims of "American rott vs. German rott". These
people are idiots. If the dog is bred correctly, to the standard, there should be no difference. It is true
that here in the US and in Canada, during the 80's and 90's that the dogs being bred deviated from
the European standard. This is due in part to the AKC and the CKC not regulating the breeding stock
of dogs except to require that both sire and dam be registered. This deviation has resulted in dogs
being bred that are incorrect in size, type, and temperament. The other part of this equation can be
attributed to the huge rise in population of this breed during that time. Every Joe rottie owner and his
brother were breeding rottweilers with no regard to the quality and worthiness of their dog. Welcome
to the rise of the Back Yard Breeder. Popularity of a breed is never good for the breed.
Below are a series of questions that you as a perspective puppy buyer should be asking the breeder
before you ever go and look at the puppies. It is very hard to refuse a pudgy little rottweiler puppy
once it is biting at your ankles and licking your face. I would like to note that if you are talking to a
breeder who is an active member of the ARC, RCC, ARV, USRC or any other rottweiler breed club that
follows a strict "Code of Ethics", you should have no problem getting any of these questions
answered. As a matter of fact that breeder will be happy to talk to someone who has done their
homework. Maybe one of the first questions you should ask is what club affiliations do they have and
do they follow that clubs "Code of Ethics" for breeding.
Questions 1 - 6 goes to the quality of the sire and dam of the litter and their worthiness to be bred.
If the breeder can not or will not answer any one of these first questions or the answer is
unsatisfactory, HANG UP. You are dealing with someone who has bred their dog with no regard to
health testing, the standard for the rottweiler, and the health of their dogs or litters and is probably a
puppy mill or, at the very least, a BYB.
1. What are the registation numbers of the sire and dam to this litter? What registry?
This is the most basic of requirments. In order for the litter to be registered, the parents must be
registered. The only registries that are acceptable are the kennel clubs for the country in which
you live in. For Canada it is the Canadian Kennel Club, and for the US it is the American Kennel
Club (F.C.I. for European countries). This should not be a secret and any responsible breeder
would have no problem telling you the registration numbers. The registration number of a dog will
enable you to verify OFA records, pedigree, and titles.
2. Are both sire and dam registered with the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals)?
OFA offers an open data base so that the certification for hips, elbows, heart, thyroid, patellar
luxation, and eyes can be verified. The parents of a rottweiler litter should, at the very least, be
certified free of hip dysplasia. The RCC also requires the parents to be certified free of heart
defect. The ARC requires parents to be OFA certified free of defect for hips, heart, and eyes, OFA
screening of elbows with all results disclosed and CHIC#. Taking your dog to your veterinarian
and having him say that "Rover's hips and heart are just fine" is not enough. They must be
certified by the OFA, or the counter part from the country where the dog comes from. Do not be
fooled by statements that "Oh ya, we've had their hips checked and they're fine". Only a hip
certification number issued by the OFA or the like, is acceptable here.
3. What other genetic health disorders do you screen for?
Rottweilers have many genetic health disorders that the uneducated puppy buyer should be aware
of. Not understanding the health issues affecting this breed could cost you thousands of dollars
later down the road. In addition to hip dysplasia, rottweilers are recomended to be screened for
elbow dysplasia, heart defects, cataracts, entropia, Von Willebrands disease, and they are also
prone to hypothyroid disease. Whether they have tested for these others or not, the breeder
should at least know what they are.
4. Do the sire and dam have correct dentition?
The correct dentition for a rottweiler is; the dog must have 42 teeth (20 upper and 22 lower) and a
scissors bite. A level bite or one missing tooth is a serious fault and an overshot, undershot, or
wry mouth, or two or more missing teeth is a disqualification, according to the AKC standard.
Dogs with incorrect dentition should never be bred and any breeder that doesn't know what the
correct dentition is or whether or not their dog is correct, shouldn't be breeding.
5. Is the sire and/or dam titled?
Having a Champion titled dog 'somewhere' in the pedigree does not mean that this dog is worthy
of being bred. The only genes that are having a direct affect on the quality of this litter is only as
far back as the grandparents. Anything beyond that are so diluted that it really doesn't have much
influence. When a dog owner takes the time, money and effort to put a conformation title or any of
the various working titles on their dog; it shows that they are interested in the betterment of the
breed and only breeding stock that has proven itself correct in type and temperament. Check out
our "title abreviations and definitions" page for an explanation of the different titles.
6. What were your goals, as a breeder, in choosing this sire for this dam? What are their
strengths and weaknesses?
A responsible breeder will have a breeding plan and will have methodically chosen breeding
partners based on strengths and weaknesses. A lot of time should be invested in researching
pedigrees and structure to be sure that this mating will produce a litter that is correct. Money and
the old "I wanted an offspring of my beloved pet because he or she is so wonderful", is never a
good enough reason to breed a dog.
|Questions 7 - 11 are questions regarding contracts. Any responsible breeder will only sell a litter
with a written contract, detailing the sire and dam and their qualifications, definitions of pet vs. show
quality, spay and neuter contracts, and their health guarantees. Do not do business with a breeder
that doesn't stand behind their stock.
7. Do you sell your puppies on contract? Can I see a copy of your contract?
The only correct answer for this is YES. You should not buy from a breeder that doesn't offer their
puppies with a written contract with health guarantees. Minus the prices, a responsible breeder
should have no problem showing you a copy of their puppy contract.
8. What guarantees do you offer in your pet/companion puppy contract? Show potential
A good contract will have, at the very least, a hip and health guarantee. This may or may not
apply to puppies sold as pet/companion animals. Quite often a breeder will require a spay and
neuter contract to be signed for pet/companion puppies. Puppies sold as show/breeding quality
may or may not be required to be on a co-ownership until all it's health certifications have been
done. A responsible rottweiler breeder will, most definitely, require that any puppy left intact be
certified free of hip dysplasia and over 2 years of age before being bred. This is the bare
minimum, some require even more. This is only to preserve their reputation as a breeder and to
protect their puppies. Do not be turned off or offended by strict requirements, this is only to
protect your dog and the rottweiler as a breed.
9. Should my puppy develop crippling hip dysplasia, what are you as the breeder going
to do about it? What are the terms for this in your contract?
A responsible breeder will stand behind anything they produce, but the terms of their contract vary
from breeder to breeder. You have to find the one that you are the most comfortable with. For
myself, I would expect a replacement with return of the original to the breeder or a refund to pet
puppy price, if I choose to keep my dog with a mandatory spay or neuter. The truth is, no matter
how responsible the breeder is in health certifying the parents, it is still a crap shoot and hip
dysplasia happens. The best you can do is find a contract that you can live with.
10. Do you require pet/companion puppies to be spayed or neutered?
Any responsible breeder will require that any puppy not intended for the show ring and/ or
someones breeding program be spayed or neutered.
11. Will you help us pick the right puppy for our needs?
I personally think this is one of the most important questions. A good breeder will have evaluated
each puppy prior to placement and should know what kind of home in which each will thrive. A
breeder who doesn't care is not someone you want to do business with. Breeding dogs has to be
about producing the best possible rottweilers and insuring that they go into the most appropriate
homes, not profit. Put into the wrong hands a rottweiler can become a menacing animal even
dangerous as we have seen in the media. This is not a breed for everyone and responsible
breeders will screen their perspective puppy buyers extensively. Remember, when you feel like
you're getting the third degree, it is only in the best interest of the puppies. It is not personal.
|Questions 12 - 15 are intended to give you a glimps into the breeders care and health program, and
their understanding of the animals they're breeding. The answers to these last questions should be
12. What are the vaccination and worming protocols that you follow?
Make sure you do your research regarding vaccination protocols. Remember that the
veterinarians and the pharmaceutical companies are making money off you when you follow an
annual vaccination program. It is now known that this schedule is too often and we as pet owners
are over vaccinating our dogs. Most rottie breeders will do a worming at 4 wks, a parvo at 6 wks,
a "puppy shot" and worming at 8 wks and then will recommend a follow up booster and worming
in 2 - 3 weeks. The extra parvo vaccination is because rottweilers are so very prone to getting
parvo. This will vary from breeder to breeder, but it is my experience that some are very particular
as the what, when, and how frequent vaccinations should occur. Talk to your breeder, to your vet
and read as much as you can on this subject. Get educated.
13. What do you feed your dogs and weaned puppies?
Commercial dog foods that you can buy in the grocery store are not okay. The breeder should at
least be feeding a Premium kibble. Many rottweiler breeders feed a raw diet for the optimum
health of their dogs, but probably will not require you to continue a raw diet. They will have
recommendations for a premium kibble. Never feed your growing rottweiler a growth formula.
You do not want your rottie growing too fast as rapid growth can cause joint and bone problems.
14. At what age do you place your puppies?
Rottweiler puppies should not be placed before 8 weeks of age.
15. Can I come and see the sire and the dam?
A responsible breeder will have nothing to hide and will welcome you to come and visit their
facilities. Quite often the sire of the litter is not owned by the owner of the dam and is not
available for viewing, but the sire owner should be available for phone or email conversations.
When you see ads that claim "both parents on site", usually means that they have two intact
animals that bred and now we're selling the puppies. It is very rare that you own a male that is
suitable for every female in your kennel and as a responsible breeder you will go half way around
the country to find the best mate for your female. This should show you as the puppy buyer, the
lengths to which the responsible breeder will go to produce the very best litter.
|All of these questions are meant to make you think before purchasing. For an ethical, responsible
breeder, none of these questions will be hard to answer. I guess the moral of the story is BUYER
BEWARE!! You can pay the same price for a well bred puppy from an ethical breeder as you would
for a puppy mill or BYB puppy. Be smart and choose wisely and always enjoy your puppy.