The Georgia Shih Tzu

Acquiring a Companion


shih tzu outline
Buying a Best Friend~ Is it the Shih Tzu?
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2013
I hope you are reading this page after already doing the research to decide what pure or mix breed would be right for your family and situation and I am assuming that you are pretty much decided on a Shih Tzu. If not, please understand that different dogs do better in different homes. There are several factors that come into play before you decide on a breed and you want to be sure that your lifetime commitment will be a well educated one so that you are not only bringing happiness to you and your family, but to your new canine addition as well.
  • Does anyone in your home have allergies?
  • Ignore the term hypoallergenic when used in conjunction with an animal. Despite everything, my mother and nephew are allergic to my dogs. Although they are rare cases, it is possible.
  • Does barking bother you?
  • You may really fall in love with a certain type of dog but if it is a barker by breed please consult a breeder or trainer before you buy.
  • Have you set any house rules for the dog and your family?
  • If you have not, do so now. Without rules and boundaries you are sure to fail in potty training your dog.
  • What is your family activity level?
  • If your family is constantly on the go or naturally loud, consider a more energetic breed. If you are a quieter, more calm family go with a similar breed.
  • Is anyone ever home? How often?
  • This is an important question. If you are never home and cannot take your dog everywhere you go you can mark a puppy off your list. A puppy needs to be let out to potty at least four times a day and puppy pads rarely work. At best, you are telling him it is okay to potty in the house.
  • What size dog can your situation allow?
  • From experience, a Rottweiler will not be happy in a trailer.
  • How will the breed react to your child?
  • It is cruel to bring in a dog that will not react well to your children when most children have a natural attraction to them.
  • How easy do you want the potty training to be?
  • I don't think there is an "easy to train" breed, but certainly, some train easier than others and that usually depends on your personality and what you define as "easy".
  • Do you want a dog that does tricks?
  • This is not usually a requirement but rather a novelty for some. Don't rule out a breed that is harder to train just because you think it might be "neat".
  • Will an outdoor dog get the attention it needs?
  • I grew up with many outdoor dogs and we played outside constantly as children. Is that the same in your home? What is the point of owning a dog just to leave them alone outside? Are you willing to bring that dog in for protection from bad weather?
  • Can you handle cleaning after an indoor dog?
  • There is always a mess involved with an indoor pet. More vacuuming, possible accidents, chewed toys, dirty dogs and cages. I have many who ask me how I manage to keep my home clean with five dogs, two cats, fish and three children. I find it easy; will you?
  • Do both you and your spouse agree on the breed or even about getting a pet?
  • You may really want a dog but don't fight your spouse if they are not of the same opinion. Ask them to at least consider and include them in the process but do not bring a dog into a home where they will not be loved by all who live there. The dog will sense this rejection and be stressed by it.
  • Have you considered adopting from a shelter or rescue?
  • If you have read other pages of my site you will know I am against mixing breeds purposefully but that does not mean you should rule out all shelter mixed breeds. True, most of the animals at the shelter come from shaky backgrounds but that does not make them undesirable as pets. You'll be surprised what kind of companion you may find there and shelters employ persons who are highly educated and very capable of helping you determine if any of their dogs will fit into your family. I myself grew up with three shelter dogs and two more that were strays brought home by my compassionate brother.
  • Are you buying the pet for yourself or someone else?
  • Let me first say that a pet should never be a surprise gift. If you want to give someone special a dog, they should be, also, given the gift of picking it out. The reason dogs and puppies are not good surprises comes from the bonding process. Not every person will bond with any dog. Few people exist in the world that can bond with any animal. And rarely will a dog bond with anyone. Yes, the dog may behave well enough for anyone, but that close love and connection will be lacking. I speak to so many buyers who had a dog once that was given to them and then they buy a puppy or adult on their own and they cannot express the difference the connection makes. If you love that person enough to buy them such a special gift, love them enough to allow them to pick it out. So many end up on the street because they are untrainable. Without that bond a dog will not trust their owner and will constantly misbehave as their only means of expressing their distress and mistrust.
One more thing I want you to consider is that of whether or not you are even what many call a "dog person". I am sure many of you searching are doing so as the result of a promise to your children or the desire to raise your children to love animals. This can mean all small pets, reptiles, cats, and dogs. Take the time to think about how you would react to each one as well as research what owning one entails. I most definitely want you to not rule out owning a cat. My point is this, dog is not every man's best friend. Please do not add to the animal overpopulation by purchasing too quickly. Before you buy be sure that you are prepared to love and care for that animal until the end. If you are someone like me who loves almost every animal you come into contact with and can shelter more than one then you share my heart. So, if I have not scared you off and you really want a dog, please continue!

Do you have another pet?

I know you are thinking, "Get on with it!". Please feel free to skip as much as you like to find the information you are looking for while I try to answer everyone's questions. If you have a cat or dog, old or young, already at home and you are thinking of bringing in a puppy, finding the right breed or shelter dog is still important. Not everyone falls in love with one breed and will only buy that one breed. Of course, that would make everything easy. When deciding on a different breed, or different species if you have a cat at home, it is best to ask what breed or mix of breeds will work well with your existing pet. Granted, cats do not like changes and are not happy with new arrivals. With this in mind:
  • Do you have a cat?
  • If you own a cat and are looking to bring in a dog do your homework. An indoor/outdoor cat may be the means of escape if you are bringing home a small dog or puppy that can squeeze through a cat door. If your cat has not been declawed they will most definitely use those claws on an over-zealous new companion. Even declawed cats are smart enough to use their teeth or back claws in defense of territory or self. You can bring a new animal into a home that has a cat, you will just need to keep your cat's needs in mind before doing so.
  • Can an established cat get along with a new dog?
  • The best solution is to divide your home. Allow your cat the roam of the whole house, but keep your dog confined to the living room and kitchen areas as well as the yard. This assures your cat that she will always have her quiet, uninterrupted spot while maintaining her independence. She may be very angry with you for about a week, maybe more, but she will realize you are doing your best to preserve her comfort and she will accept your efforts eventually.
  • Is your cat old or young?
  • Young cats take to new companions better than elder. A kitten younger than a year will not make the fuss that an older one will as they may not yet be set into a routine. If young, you can look into breeds that would mold to the activity level of your cat or you may have to decide how to split your home between the two if your cat is too finicky, regardless of age. My cat, at any age, has seen the house as her kingdom and any new- comer was despised. Not all cats will be like her.
  • Is your currently owned dog old or young?
  • The same rule does not really apply here except with specific breeds. Some breeds like the Weimaraner, Dachshund, Grey hound, Malamute, and some Terriers are not known for their friendliness towards other pets. These are just a few and not all of the known breeds with this tendency. The library and internet have many articles that will tell you how your pet may react. Also, take the time to ask a breeder about breed tendencies. Many dogs do better with a new companion while they are young and will not tolerate it in their adult years. Do your homework, you do not want your new dog mauled by the old, or the other way around. Make sure you are aware of the possible tendencies of your new pet, especially if from a shelter. Your new pet may try to become the dominate one in your household.
  • Can small and large breed dogs get along?
  • Yes, in some cases. It depends on the breeds. I sold one of my aging dogs to a family that had an aging golden retriever. A week after they took Missy home they called to tell me the two were curled up together on their living room floor enjoying a nap. Even with a mixed bred you want to keep track of the breeds tendencies from which the dog originated. Their history will make a difference.
I cannot rule out accident, fate, happenstance, destiny, blessing or whatever you want to call it. I started with Shih Tzus because my best friend had one that needed a new home and it was the right time for me and the right dog. But for those who need more than this the internet is full of sites about each individual breed, but I would start by going to the library and borrowing an all breed book and sitting down with all those who will be living with the pet to determine the needs of everyone. If the Shih Tzu is not for you, after all, or if you would like to bring home another breed as a playmate for your dog you may see if I can help you at Other Breeders. Please be well advised that my referral list is minuscule at the moment, but I have helped many other breeders in the past that I hope will call me when they find I have added this little spot. Until then, please know that I am trying. If you are looking for more information on buying, or training a puppy there is a great site at the link below that could offer you another route for education. The second link is another resource you might find helpful.
The Puppy Dog Place: New owners guide to puppy care. Everything you need, all in one place.
Pets from the Net 2U: Pet informational articles and a directory of pet related sites.
Digitaldog on Breeders and Shelters - This is a site that talks more about how to find the right dog. Some of their opinions are close to my own and some differ but if you really want to be very well educated before you start your search I hope you are taking the time to listen to more than one person.
Dogs Directory, Dog Breeder, Dog Products, Dog Services - Dogsdirectory.com provides a directory of dogs, dog breeder, dog products, dog supplies, dog service, dog food, dog toys, grooming, apparel, dog training, dog information & resources.

Finding a Breeder

If you have done all the research and want a pure bred I want to ask you to please be careful where you purchase it from. Stay away from pet stores and stay away from "backyard breeders". The definition of a "backyard breeder" is someone or a group of people who do not take very good care of their dogs. Some characteristics are breeding every heat from the bitches' first heat, feeding dogs low quality foods or table scraps. If they cannot afford to feed their dogs a normal diet they should not be breeding. Look for flea and tick infestations that are ignored, kenneling in a filthy environment, and kenneling in a stressful environment, breeding dogs with known deformities, breeders who abuse their dogs, dogs bred way past the age they should have been retired, breeding without controlling which dogs breed to which dogs, and breeding dogs that are sick. Poor breeders obviously do not care who buys their dogs as long as they are paid.
One situation not to be immediately taken as dangerous and unhealthy is the amount of dogs the breeder owns. I have a friend who owned, roughly, thirty dogs before she retired from breeding and she knew them all like anyone else would know their children. The cages were always extremely clean for the amount of dogs, and her animals were a very happy bunch. They all saw a vet regularly and it was obvious they loved her as much as she loved them. I just cannot stress enough to please do not be too quick to judge. You will know a backyard breeder when you see one. They are the breeders that make you sick to your stomach because their homes are filthy and whose entire stock of dogs are usually fearful or aggressive and sick. When you meet with someone and you find they have fleas and/or ticks give the breeder a chance to explain if the problem is currently worked on. Safe breeders are careful about the exterminating chemicals they use since most of them are extremely harmful to unborn and newborn puppies. Many products won't work in certain circumstances and breeders have to try different methods of control. Be sure to ask them what they are doing about the problem. If the home or environment is so infested that you stand in harm of attack then please tell someone. If you feel that a puppy you are looking at has been bred in a stressful environment be sure that you take into account how much the breeder loves their dogs. Stress happens but breeders should not allow their dogs to deliver or raise puppies in the middle of a move, during a separation, or a new baby. Find out more about what is causing the stress before you judge and take into account any special circumstances. You can usually tell right away if they are only breeding for money just by being in their home. Next please keep in mind that when I say low quality food I mean real junk like the woman I mentioned above. Just because a breeder isn't paying a fortune to feed their dogs does not mean they aren't taking care of them and for those of you not aware of such a thing, there is a diet of raw meats and vegetables that some breeders swear by and it is healthy. You just want to stay away from those who feed their dogs leftovers and crumbs off the floor.

Do Not Judge

Be very careful when using the term or pegging someone as a "backyard breeder". For those of us that are fully in love with this breed, or another, and are following our hearts and best judgment with breeding our dogs we find this name highly offensive. Remember that problems arise and sometimes when we have puppies. You may not always agree with someone's methods but that does not make them cruel. I realize it may sound like I am bouncing back and forth on this but like any other big issue, being narrow minded can cause harm to someone who does not deserve it and pave the way for those who do. If you are sure that someone's dogs are being abused in the ways I have suggested and you know you are not overreacting then please do something about it. Call the police or the human society or your local shelter. They will be able to ensure those animals are removed. But if you have been reading some of the other sites that suggest breeders with dogs not tested for everything before breeding, females bred more than once every other year, etc.. means they deserve the term backyard breeder and should be stopped is, in my opinion, too much opinion and not enough fact. Many people seem too quick to judge against those who are blameless and not quick enough against those who make our society as dangerous as it is.

Back to the Search

Are you tired of my opinion yet? I am really sorry if I seem to drone on! I am getting back to the point, but you still need to make a few more decisions. Do you want your puppy now or are you willing to wait? Do you want to be able to visit with your puppy before release or are you willing to wait until you take it home? Do you want to look out of state? Do you want your puppy shipped to you? Are you looking to breed or show in the future? Does registration matter to you? Does price matter to you? How far are you willing to travel in state? Do you care about parentage? Do you care about color? Do you care about size? Have you considered making some kind of ownership arrangement with the breeder? I hope I am not overwhelming anyone. I just feel that searching for a breeder is much easier when you know exactly what you want before you go shopping. When you are ready to start meeting breeders you can find some of them the same way you found me. Many breeders have their own websites and can be accessed through breeder referrals, breeder ad sites, AKC breeder clubs, AKC breeder ads, and internet searches. Other ways are in your local newspapers or nearby papers, community ads, word of mouth, free internet ad sites, and some even post signs in front of their homes. How you find them does not determine how well they breed or how healthy their dogs are. If they have a website be sure to read through all their policies and their breeding philosophies. Websites make it easy for you to learn about the breeder before you meet them but you have to read them first. Environment means everything. You should be comfortable in the breeder's home and property. While many breeder's stock is family and have the run of the house, others are kept in a converted basement, garage, sunroom, or out building. Where the dogs are located does not determine the health and wellbeing of the puppies. Many breeders will have a bedroom in the kenneling area for nurseries should they feel the need to stay close by dam and pups day and night. Others will move dams close to delivery or sick/injured dogs into their bedroom or main part of their home for monitoring. You may prefer to purchase from a breeder who keep their dogs in their home at all times, but since you are not the breeder and you do not know all their situation you cannot rule out other arrangements as wrong because you do not think they are getting the right attention. The breeder ay spend all day there instead of in their home. If it is a part of the home, but in a confined area, it may be in the best interest of the animals if there is too much activity in the main part of the home, young children, members of the household with allergies or asthma or it may be the best way to keep the kennel clean and healthy. Just because you would not have run a kennel this way does not mean it is the wrong way.
In no way do I want to discourage you from breeders that breed more than one breed. I only want to ask you to be careful. It is possible for a person who has more than enough time and resources to keep records straight and kennels separate to successfully and healthily produce more than one breed. These same breeders may only produce purebreds or they may feel that breeding mixes is best for buyers and their puppies. It is their choice, as long as they are caring for their dogs properly. What I want to warn you of is fraud. It has been found in multiple breed kennels that mix puppies are being produced from accidental matings and if the puppies fail to exhibit characteristics of one of the breeds, the breeders will try to pass them off as purebreds. If they are not charging exorbitant fees for the puppies and if health or the desire for competition is not a factor, you will not get hurt. But no one wants to mislead or deceived when buying a puppy. Be sure you know what the breed is supposed to look like, even as a puppy. Many single breed breeders will post pictures of their puppies and if you look at enough of them, you will be able to recognize deficiencies in a puppy. You may ask for a contract that allows you to return the puppy if adulthood shows signs of the puppy not coming from pure bred parentage, but do not expect any breeder to accept such a contingent. You may very well find this among single breed breeders if they were not well educated in the characteristics of the breed at the time they started their kennel. You must know that registration does not prove a purebred puppy. These papers can be easily obtained and forged and it happens often. Do not rely on paper, rely on what is before your eyes. I am in the process of obtaining information about shih tzu color breeding from the source and hope to be able to help you determine parentage by color, but, until then, be well informed on breed color and what the offspring color should be. Know that some breeds start with one color that changes into adulthood. If a breeder is claiming a puppy to be purebred, but it's coloring does not match standard, walk away. For instance, Shih Tzu will not have half black and half brown markings like the Yorkshire Terrier. They may be solid in color with black mask and tips, or highlights in the case of brindles (brown or silver in the case of blacks) and they may be partial white and color. For the Shih Tzu, be sure to go to Wealth of Color for pictures of different colors and what is allowed in Shih Tzu. Many breeders, both new and experienced, will commonly use incorrect color names for the breed, but this does not make them ignorant or bad breeders, nor is it a sign of mix breeding. It is simply vocabulary preference.
Now that I have taught you the best way to find a breeder you can trust, you probably want to know where to look right? Right! Below are a few sites that are the best place to start on your search for the perfect puppy (for you!).
Dog Breeders Domain - finding the perfect puppy just got a little easier!
Find Breeeders - This is a very good breeder listing site. They list kennel name, breeder name, address, and all contact info. Searchers are led to a list of all breeders in their area.
Puppy Sites - I happen to really like this site. I think I have worked with this one the longest. Many of the breeders listed are ones I have had some form of contact with or are currently recommending.
Quality Dogs - This is a very finicky site and one I agree with. Not all breeder applications are accepted and posted, so you have a stronger chance of finding breeders with which you can agree and feel comfortable.
The Best Animal Sites on the Web - There are seriously several thousand breeder listings. If the other sites are not helping you and you have the time to search this is not a bad place to turn.
Next Day Pets a directory for all breed puppies and dogs for sale.
After you have made contact with the breeders you want to meet it helps to prepare in advance for what you want to accomplish from the meeting. If you think your children might push you to pick the first dog you see, you might want to leave them at home or have a talk with them before you leave to explain how you need them to behave and what might and might not happen; for instance you might or might not be buying the puppy they see. If you plan to bring the puppy home, make sure you have safe means of transportation (like a carrier). Write down any questions you want to ask the breeder and be prepared to sign a contract, but please read it first, if the breeder requires one. Once you are in the breeder's home or office the only help you have is your instincts. Everyone has them and now is the time to use them. If you are uncomfortable with the breeder's methods, uncomfortable with your surroundings, uncomfortable with the breeder, or uncomfortable with the puppies (or dogs), walk away. One question I mentioned up above has probably confused some of you. What kind of arrangement can possibly be made besides a cash arrangement? The most famous scenario is that of a buyer adopting a puppy for free with the agreement that the breeder will retain the right to breed for a certain amount of heats or until a certain age (if a female) or that the breeder would have the right to have exclusive stud services for a prearranged length of time or the breeding life of the male. In simpler terms: You get the female for free but on her first useable heat the breeder can and will take her back to have a litter and return her to you after the puppies are sold and weaned. Or: You take home a free male with the promise that you will not neuter him and the breeder will continue to use him as a stud. Do not expect to cash in on this in any way. Most of the time the breeder has exclusive rights; you cannot breed the female with an outside male and have your own litter or you cannot stud your male out with anyone except the breeder. This kind of arrangement seems easy to say yes to, since you will not have to pay for the dog, but it has been known to cause some heartache. I, personally, do not like or encourage this unless it exists between friends or family. Especially since this is how I started. But at least with my working with my best friend I had freedoms and opinions that a stranger working with another stranger would not have.
For instance, the breeder would have the right to take the ownership of the dog temporarily back for mating, whelping, and raising all future litters. Beware that many breeders cautiously guard their breeding habits to stop competition, or unwanted breeding by amateurs who do more harm than good. Do not expect them to teach you anything. But... Since I am at least smart enough to know that many of you out there may not agree with me, let me give you a few tips and preparation. First of all, it is the breeder that would suggest such a situation. Don't go around asking every breeder you meet if this would be an acceptable bargain as many, I promise, will not think so and will most likely deny the sale to you of any of their puppies as they would see you probably as someone who would do anything to get a free dog and are therefore untrustworthy. The breeders that do suggest this would have a female or a male that they really did not want to part with as they may be a wonderful breeding or studding dog, yet, they realize that keeping the dog is not a possible option. So if they feel you would be a good candidate they may suggest such an arrangement. Usually they would explain what is expected of you as the owner. Be prepared with some questions of your own. Namely:
  • Will I be allowed to register the dog in my name?
  • Will I be allowed to stud out the male with other breeders?
  • Will I be able to have the female mate with another male for a litter of my own?
  • Will I have to spay/neuter the dog after the agreed upon period of time?
  • Will you be covering the cost of the spay/neuter when the time comes?
  • After the agreed upon period of time will you transfer ownership of the dog to me?
  • How long with this agreement stay in tact?
  • Will you wait until the female's second heat to breed?
  • Will I be allowed to have the female stay with me during the pregnancy and unusable days of her heat?
  • May I come frequently to visit my female during her absence from me?
  • How frequently may I visit?
  • Will you cover any of his/her vet bills?
  • Will I have any say at all in the health care of this dog?
  • Will you be following the breeding rules for the club in which you belong?
  • Will there be any stipulations in the contract should the dog be un-breedable or un-studable for any reason?
  • Will I have any say in this decision?
  • Will I have the option of changing my mind at any time and paying you the dog's worth?
  • Can we predetermine that worth now in the contract?
I'll bet you thought this would be easy before you stumbled upon my website!!! I will say that every breeder is different as is every situation. Know now that separation is hard when it comes time to part with your female that you have become so attached to. Breeders may keep the female anywhere between six and twelve weeks after the birth of the litter before you will be allowed to bring her back home. Some breeders, like me, sell their pups before they are weaned and would be willing to return your dog as soon as the puppies are no longer nursing, as they already have homes. Others will not even advertise until they are old enough to be taken home and in that case you could be waiting longer than the intended period. Make sure to ask all your questions up front and please get a contract. It will protect both you and the breeder and put an end to most arguments before they even start.

What is Available

I try to list all of the things that I have heard of breeders offering with their puppies but if you know of anything I have missed here I would really appreciate an email. Some extras offered are:
  • Warrantees
  • These may include guaranteed health for 1 day up to full life of the puppy, and temperament.
  • Free Vet Examination Coupon
  • I have only heard of pet stores offering such a coupon but I cannot rule out the possibility.
  • First Vet Examination
  • I mean that the breeder has taken the litter or puppy to their vet for a health examination. I suggest you immediately see your own after taking your puppy home.
  • First Vaccinations and/or De-worming
  • Depending on the age of the puppy when you buy it the breeder may have already vaccinated with at least the first puppy shot in the series (3 DAPP with/without any additives and 1 Rabies) or as many as all of the series. They may also have de-wormed the puppy depending on where the breeder lives.
  • Puppy Kit
  • This could include a small bag of puppy food, supply coupons, referral cards, a puppy collar, microchip information, or samples.
  • First Grooming
  • The breeder is capable of helping you make long term grooming decisions and can even groom the puppy for you before you take it home.
  • Shot Records
  • This is just as it sounds. It is a piece of paper that can help you keep track of what shots and when your dog has received them.
  • Microchips
  • This is something pretty new but it is now possible for breeders to microchip their puppies, whether or not you want them to, and then give you the necessary information to register the chip with the United All Breed Registry or wherever else you need to register.
  • AKC and/or other Registration
  • There are a fair few companies that offer breed registrations. Be sure they are legitimate, if you can, and be sure to research the company before you buy.
  • DNA Certification
  • The breeder would have guaranteed one or both of the parents are certified or they may have certified the puppy. I believe this is only offered through the AKC and their affiliates from other countries; I may be wrong about the other countries.
  • Receipts
  • If offered they would be for anything you have purchased from the breeder or any payments you have made towards the puppy. Some breeders add taxes to the sale of the puppy and/or sell extra products with their puppies. Sometimes these are mandatory so make sure you ask about any extra fees before you agree to buy. Sometimes surprises are not pleasant!

Terminating Deposits, Contracts & Agreements

Even with all the securities in place there are a few things you need to know when buying a dog. A deposit does not always guarantee you a dog. Beyond the criminals who may lie to you about a death of a dog, or those who find a higher bidder, there are other circumstances. As long as the puppy is in the home of the breeder and the final contract has not been signed that puppy is the sole responsibility of the breeder. Not you. If the puppy develops an illness or defect, the breeder has the power to terminate it's life or refuse to transfer the puppy to you. They should return your money in such cases. Understand that we breeders are working with life. We cannot promise the unknown will not happen and we cannot plan for every future possibility. Good breeders will return money if they fail to uphold their end of the agreement, but they will not do so if you fail to hold your end. Just as you, the buyer, are taking a chance so are we. We are trusting you to have researched before buying, to have considered the health and opinion of all in your home before adding a new family member and your being prepared emotionally and having the time necessary for the wellbeing of the puppy. Providing the breeder knowledge of your failure to do so prior to entering an agreement does not justify the return of your deposit.
Deposits mean a puppy will be held for you and agreed the breeder will not allow other bids for the puppy. That you are sure you want a puppy from a certain litter or have already decided on a certain puppy and that you will be purchasing, in full, at an agreed upon time.
Not all puppies find homes quickly, but once a puppy has a deposit it is uncanny how quickly the phone calls increase for a puppy just like the one that is now spoken for. When you default on your agreement you have taken away the breeder's ability to sell that puppy at the time that it was requested by others and have extended the amount of time it will take to find another home. In many cases you have cost the breeder extra funds because they now have to provide that much more food, that many more vaccines and that much more time in it's care. If the breeder fails to provide you with a healthy puppy you should request the return of your deposit. If you fail to purchase the puppy for reasons of family emergency, financial troubles, previously unknown health problems, newly changed time restrictions or any other reason you cannot demand or even expect the return of your deposit. Some breeders will be in a position to offer it back or may be willing to listen to your situation, but they are in no way obligated to return it to you and it is not their responsibility to do so. Just as breeders cannot blame you for the health problems of the puppies in their care, you cannot blame them for your own problems. You can and should, however, request any other payments you have made after paying the deposit. At this time I can think of no other reason for a breeder to retain these payments except for bounced checks that have caused the breeder bank fees and other repercussions. There may be another, but I have not heard of it nor had experience with any other reason.
Reasons for termination of an agreement or early contract (prior to the release of the puppy) are numerous and can be the fault of either the breeder or the buyer or it can be a mutual decision. Ask, before you hand over your money, what will happen in certain situations. After you take the puppy home, if there is a contract it will dictate procedure for certain situations, but if you do not have one, you are completely out of luck and the breeder is not obligated to even talk with you again (unless you bought the puppy in Florida or another state with similar laws). But while the puppy is still in the care of the breeder there are several possible scenarios that you should work out with the breeder prior to entering an agreement. Make sure you both agree what will happen should the puppy develop a serious health problem or be unfit to leave the breeder by a specified time. Most buyers do not require their puppy to be released by a certain date since they would be willing to wait for the security that they will be bringing home a healthy puppy. If this is not the case and travel, holiday or schedule makes timing an issue, be sure the breeder and you understand the circumstance and agree to a plan of action. Believe me, nature is very unpredictable and your chances are equally good and bad for things to go as planned. This is the main reason I wish buyers to not be in a hurry to find a puppy. So much can go wrong and you can be hurt in so many ways. Buying a puppy should not be stressful and bringing it home should not be a burden.
The right dog is out there and waiting. You just need to be patient and you need to be well educated. You are more than welcome to agree or disagree with me but I hope I have taken a little of the stress and unknown out of finding a new pet. I honestly hope I have told you enough to keep you from saying you did not know. As long as you are not blinded by the puppy cuteness syndrome and prepared against maneuvers to push you into purchase you should be able to avoid many problems in your puppy's future and your own. You may well think this article is long enough it would be impossible for me to leave anything out, but hey, should the impossible happen I would like to hear from you.