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Most anyone looking for a puppy will find that every breeder has their own contract regarding Registration ( Limited or Full ) Spay/Neuter, Deposit, Co-Owner for their own reasons.

Those of you that do or have bred how easy is it to enforce them?

Here are some examples of what I have read.

Limited:Because you don't want your pups being bred to anything that would not better the breed. This I get.

But say someone doesn't care that any pups out of that dog cannot be registered and breeds them anyway.

This can be lifted if certain requirements are met. Such as Certain test are done with certain results and mated with a dog with said test and results.

Full registration: You can only breed to dogs that have had certain test and results, I get this. Bitch can only be bred X number of times between the ages of X & O.

Spay/Neuter- Do you keep the registration papers until you get certification that this has been done? If not what if they never have them done?

Co-Owner : So you have a say so in who this pup is bred to and meets your requirement that dog will complement the other and add something to better the breed. This I get

In some that they have achieved a title in whatever they specify. Then you will lift the co-owner part.

You must never sell or turn the dog over to a rescue.

There was one that I think it was like $10,000.00 if you registered the dog AKC.Which I know the breeder of the puppy has to sign the papers.


Are the contracts a good indication on what type of breeder they are?

If some of my wording in not correct I'm sorry and I'm not trying to start a war about breeding or not. Just trying to understand more about the contracts. Which I understand the reasoning behind each one, but not the content, if that makes any sense.

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I, too, am not aware of any working breeders who do contracts although I have been aware of one or more that will not allow a pup to be AKC-registered. Of course, I have very little experience with breeders but what I do see is that they are very much oriented towards not dictating to those they sell pups to. Maybe many of the ABCA breeders whose market is really the sport/performance dog market do this things?

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As a pet owner (at the time - before I'd been bitten by "the bug"), my older dog (only registered with ABCA, both parents successful Open trial dogs) was sold to me as a puppy on a pet contract - which included a spay/neuter clause (as well as a "you may not register with AKC, except on ILP if spayed/neutered" clause). In fact the puppy contract was virtually identical to one that can be accessed from the USBCC web site (with the modification suggested on this site of a spay/neuter clause). This clause only applied to puppies that were sold to pet/agility homes - people in working homes buying pups retained full breeding rights. I actually viewed it as a positive - a sign of a responsible breeder.


For what it's worth, I don't think any higher percentage of the pups in my older dog's litter went to pet/agility homes than the pups in my younger dog's litter (from a different working breeder; sold without any breeding restrictions whatsoever). (And at least three of my older dog's siblings are currently trialing successfully, at least two as Open dogs).


All this being said - I think most of the working-bred litters I've known of are sold without any contracts at all, just a handshake.


I'm enough of an anti-AKC person that I wish more working Border collies sold to pet/agility homes were sold on a spay/neuter contract. My local puppy miller sells pups who have nice dogs in their pedigrees if you go back a generation or two (as well as some awful ones, e.g. MAH). I'm sure many of their breeders would be appalled to see them being used to churn out puppies for the masses. And if you use the search function, you'll find discussions in which this unhappiness is acknowledged. A lot of breeders of working dogs don't seem to view spay/neuter contracts as a viable option.

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Lynn - The breeder you allude to is the same one that I was basing my comments on, and I respect that approach.


As the OP mentions, are restrictions enforceable even if they are good ones? Or will it be like the rest of life, that the honest and trustworthy will follow "the rules" and those that are not honest and trustworthy will go ahead and flaunt them?

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I'm just curious, but why would working line breeders not find it desirable to have contracts for their puppies? Up until my last puppy, I've rescued, so contracts were not an issue. My puppy is not a bc, and he did come with a contract. I'm not sure how enforceable the contract is, but I do think the contract sets the tone for the expectations. I did not purchase him on a breeding contract, so my contract stated that he had to be surgically sterilized within 12 months of signing the contract. It requires that I have both his knees and hips checked by a certain age. The contract guarantees the health of the puppy. The contract also set the tone for the expectations for the puppy's care, safety, and living environment.

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But from what I've been observing, the contract is a benefit to the buyer. Several of my friends and I bought puppies around the same time. All of our puppies ended up with issues. My puppy had LCP, another friend's puppy had OCD, and another friend's puppy had OCD, hip dysplasia as well as a lot of other early health problems. This last puppy is a border collie and from working lines. There really wasn't a lot of cost difference in what I paid for my puppy vs what she paid for her's. The outcome of how we were treated was a vast difference. My puppy's breeder refunded me as well as offered me another puppy. I took the refund, and this allowed me to afford his hip surgery. I declined the new puppy, for now, because I wasn't ready to take on 2 puppies while rehabbing one. On the other hand, my friend with the working line border collie has incurred so much cost with her puppy. This is the first time I've ever purchased a dog, and I've learned a lot from it. For one, there are no guarantees when it comes to genetics. I also really appreciated a breeder who was willing to do more than what her contract assured, and it meant a lot to me to be part of a group who cares about his outcome. Sadly, my 'no contract friend' had none of this.

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It must have been one expensive puppy for the refund to pay for the surgery.


I think contracts can set the tone of relationship between buy and seller. It makes the buyer aware of issues they might not of considered without reading about them.

But I don't see many "bad" puppies returned for different ones. I do know one lady that got a free puppy when her puppy died, no fault of hers.

This ^^ is the first I've read of a refund without returning the puppy to the breeder, but I don't see or know many people that buy on contracts so my experience is limited.


I have placed rescues or dogs of my own that aren't working out for whatever reason. The first one I had a contract. Never heard from the person that took the dog again. So I wouldn't know what happened. After that I never required a contract. Just got to know the families or person that was taking the dog.

I've never bred a litter so have no experience with that but, I can tell you I've never bought a dog that came with any kind of contract. I'm perfectly content with my choices.

If you do your homework, pick and choose wisely you will know you are getting the best pup you can. If something happens later, I figure it's on me.


Faye came with a word of mouth guarantee, If I was unhappy for any reason I could return her for puppy price or what she is worth at the time of return. My DH teases me all the time about when I'm going to return her. NEVER is always my answer!

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I think contracts are a good thing. Can they be reinforced? Who knows. But as a previous buyer from a breeder (GSD) that had one, to having my own for my rescues, it opens up talking points and a way to make people aware of possible issues with a dog.


My adoption contract has a space at the bottom for any additional things that have been discussed. One of my rescues was a terrible fence jumper. This was discussed at length with the adopters and put in writing and then endorsed. By both parties. This negates the old "I did not know, did not hear you, you never told me".


The paragraphs in the contract are to be endorsed by the adopter. These are things like health status, spay/neuter status or requirements etc. Again, that way, people know.


When I bought my GSD with the contract I learned some things I did not know. It made me feel better when an issue came up as I could have had a recourse had it been needed.


None of my Border Collies ever came with a contract. Just a handshake!

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I hate to bring up the culture thing (and, seriously, NO insult intended to anyone), but the working border collie culture has long been one of being able to trust a person's word and make a deal on a handshake. Many working breeders still operate this way, although with the increasing popularity of the breed and the subsequent rise in breeders of all sorts contracts have also come along. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I personally don't think it's a necessary thing.


It's my understanding that contracts are largely unenforceable, and honestly, at least with what is required of a buyer, I think it would be hard to keep up with buyers and their puppies and police what they do. I solved the problem by breeding very few litters (two) and so was able to know and trust who my pups went to. That's not always the case, of course, but as with many things I don't think a piece of paper will force either a breeder or a buyer to be moral/ethical. If they are moral/ethical, you won't need a piece of paper spelling out the ethical thing to do, and if they're not, then a piece of paper won't change that.


I do get the argument that a contract will at least get a dialog going, but my counterpoint would be that any good breeder should be having that dialog with or without a piece of paper.


Also, I have a problem with guaranteeing the health of puppies. I can certainly do genetic testing and guarantee a pup won't have CEA, but with problems like CHD or OCD, where there is also an environmental factor, how can an outcome be guaranteed? There has been an article circulating on Facebook recently (though I couldn't find it when I wanted it) regarding feeding practices and their effect on the development of CHD. So if I breed two dogs with good/excellent hips and send pups to new owners in good faith that I did my part (bred the appropriate dogs), who's to say that a pup developing CHD a couple of years later is the entirely the result of breeding? Who's to say that the raising/management of the pup wasn't a bigger factor? Dogs can have a genetic propensity toward OCD and never develop it. Others do develop it. I know of one person who let their young dog repeatedly leap and snap at tree branches, to the point of obsession and then blamed the breeder when the youngster developed OCD. They completely failed to recognize that their own management of the dog likely played at least a big as role as the genetics.


An ethical breeder will do the right thing. I would hope an ethical buyer would do the same. I don't think a contract will make a big difference when ethical and moral people enter into an agreement to sell/buy a pup, but that's just my opinion.



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I have seen the contracts on both working lines and working bred. Yes they were on the internet. Some of them have a clause that if buying for herding and the pup shows no interest in a specific time you can either get money or pup. Forget which

You guys say most working bred do not advertise on internet. That makes it hard for someone wanting a working bred pup to find them, if you have no trials close. Red Top does have a web page.

So how do you know if the breeders of working bred dogs that are on the net good or not?

I'm interested in agility but want a working bred pup. So if I find a breeder but they have the AKC clause of no registration it seems that you almost have no choice but to choose a sport breeder.

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"So if I find a breeder but they have the AKC clause of no registration it seems that you almost have no choice but to choose a sport breeder."


Why? Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that the "no AKC registration" means they don't want their dogs registered on a breeding status. If you need to 'register' to play AKC agility or other sport, you can get an ILP registration -- and some breeders (not all) will be fine with that.

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ILP is still registered thru AKC so wouldn't that be breaking the contract? If there is basically not very many trials for USDAA around not much choice but AKC, as they have the most shows.

So that puts someone who wants a working bred pup between a rock and a hard place in my opinion if the contract states no AKC registration.

I understand the AKC as far as conformation and I agree with that, But if they just wanted to do agility. My understanding is Limited is just no breeding which is cool too and they do not have to be intact to do agility.

Before I got my girl I talked to several breeders who did not believe in DNA testing for anything because they had several generations of this line and knew what they produced. I had one breeder tell me that same and also that if she spent the money to have her dogs tested she would have to charge higher prices.

But if a breeder doesn't keep track of the pups how do they know that there isn't something that comes up later in that line and they don't know about? Is there some things that can skip generations? Which on a spay/nature contract you wouldn't be passing this on but that wouldn't help the dog that has it.

Just trying to understand more of some of the reasoning and enforcing behind the contracts. Would love to be able to just take someone's word and a handshake but in this day and age that is becoming harder to do especially if you don't run in the same circles.

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ILP (which is now called PAL, I believe) isn't full AKC registration. And you're right, the dogs have to be spayed or neutered, so it would present a conundrum for anyone wanting to run AKC agility with an intact dog.


I guess it comes down to how strong a person's ethicaI backbone is. I, personally, feel so strongly about it that I just wouldn't run AKC agility, even if it were the only game in town, if I had an intact dog.

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I know of a bulldog breeder who's contract helped her get one if her pups back and keep it after the owner wasn't taking good care if the dog. She got a call from a shelter that the dog had been caught running loose, the microchip went back to her. There was a clause about dogs being contained properly. Also the dog had a horrible skin infection, which was suppose to be reported back to the breeder, which had not been done nor was it being treated. The breeder drove 4 hours to the shelter, got the dog and kept it. The owner began to fight it but gave up. Ended well for the dog in this case.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've only bought 2 puppies to date, the rest were shelter dogs. The first pup was supposed to have a signed contract but the breeder (flyball/sports breeder) couldn't find the paperwork as she was moving. I suspect she simply didn't want to take responsibility for the disaster she was handing over. Temperament issues, joint laxity, extreme hyperactivity, etc. By age 2 she was permanently injured due to lax joints. At age 3 she began randomly attacking dogs and small children without any warning. . . At age 5 1/2 the veterinary behaviorist recommended euthanasia as all other treatment avenues were exhausted. Other litter mates followed the same theme. This cross was repeated multiple times.

My other purchased dog came with an oral hips and eyes guarantee. I had to promise that he came back to her if for any reason I couldn't keep him and that she would buy him back at full price at any age. He's passed his health checks to date and has a wonderfully steady temperament. His only issues were caused by training issues (ahem, me) and accidents.

The shelter dogs, well. . walking medical bills is too kind of a description. But, I love them anyway. :)


I have met people with ABCA registered pups from working & competing parents that have written contracts. I have met those with oral contracts and those with none. I don't know if AKC breeders require contracts more often than ABC. I don't know if anyone can truly guarantee a healthy dog due to the interplay of genetics and environment along with the complexity of genes. So, I try not to worry about guarantees as there is no guarantee in life. And how enforceable are contracts?


Bethany, Rose, and Loki

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