If you are contemplating buying a dog and entering into a contract
with a breeder, have a lawyer review the contract before you buy the
dog. Contracts are serious business, involving specific obligations
on your part.
Breeders often protect their dogs from indiscriminate breeding by
using legally enforceable contracts, sales agreements and/or show
contracts for all their puppy buyers. Let's look at some of the
different kinds of contracts you might be asked to sign.
Some breeders will enter into a "co-ownership agreement," which says
that both you and the breeder own the dog. This way, the breeder
maintains control over the breeding of a valuable female, as all
owners must sign the AKC litter registration application.
Some show breeders will sell puppies with an ironclad "show
contract" to unsuspecting novices. This may require the dog to be
shown frequently at dog shows - a costly and time-consuming
A breeder is defined as the owner of the bitch who whelps the
litter. In other words, the person who owns the mother of the
puppies is the breeder.
Breeding contracts vary with each breeder. Typically, a breeder will
ask for one or two puppies back from the bitch's (female's) first
The breeder may also require you to pay the stud fee, which is the
fee for the services of the male. If the breeder sells you a male
dog, they may require you to make the dog available to be used at
stud. In this way, breeders can keep the selling price of their pups
down while still improving their bloodlines.
Unfortunately, some of these "puppy back" contracts can be
ridiculous. Some contracts require half of very litter coming back
to the bitch's breeder with the novice, of course, paying for
everything. The poor novice breeder is held hostage to such selfish
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