When I visit a breeder, should the sire and dam be on the premises?

At first glance, having the sire on premise may seem like a good thing, because, after all, it is wonderful to meet both your puppy’s parents and gauge their well-being and temperament. Keep in mind, however, that a reputable breeder is looking for the perfect match for his or her female. That may not necessarily be the stud dog that lives under their roof. Those breeders who use stud dogs that are out of state or clear across the country are doing so despite the inconvenience and extra cost because they are going the extra mile to plan a breeding that they believe will have the best chances of accomplishing their goals.

So in many cases, the stud will not be on premise. But the breeder should be able to show you photographs of him, share the results of his health screenings, and articulate why she chose him to complement her bitch.

Now on to the dam. Yes, in most cases, the mother of the puppies will be on premises. There are, however, some exceptions to this, and they include:

Stud-fee puppies. Sometimes, in lieu of a stud fee, a stud-dog owner will request a puppy. Such puppies are generally show quality, and the stud-dog owner may choose to bring the puppy home and sell it to a local home if there is no room at her place for another dog. Such arrangements are very common. The stud-dog owner should be willing to share photographs of the dam, as well as contact information for the breeder of record. And you will of course be able to meet the stud dog.

Co-ownerships. Because many breeders run small home-based operations, as opposed to having kennel facilities, some choose to place their bitches on co-ownerships so that they can have access to the females in order to show and breed them. In such situations, the dam may not be on the premises when you first visit, as the litter may be whelped at the co-owner’s home. If the litter is whelped at the breeder’s, the dam might go back home after the puppies are weaned, especially if there is an older female at the home who can take over “mommy duty” and teach the puppies correct manners and good inter-doggie coping skills.

In both of these scenarios, the breeder should be able to explain the arrangements that led to the breeding and whelping, and, unless she is out of state, arrange for you to meet the dam, either at her home or during a pre-scheduled visit.