When should a dog breeder accept the return of a puppy?
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When should a dog breeder accept the return of a puppy?

Dogs
Breed Facts

Choosing the right dog breeder is an integral part to choosing the right puppy; and this should be a very important part of your selection process and not just something you pay little, if any, mind to.

If you don’t agree with a breeder’s ethics, the standard that they breed to, the way that they care for their dogs or what they’re trying to achieve with their breeding programme, you shouldn’t buy from them; even if they appear to have just the right puppy for you.

Even when you find a dog breeder that you’re really happy with, on the same page with about dogs and breeding, and really hit it off with, you shouldn’t just assume that you’ll see eye to eye on everything, or that you both have the same expectations regarding the sale and what happens further down the line.

Having a formal contract of sale in place is vital when you buy a puppy, and whilst few puppy buyers do so, it is wise to have this looked over by a solicitor before signing it. As well as a contract of sale which proves that ownership of the puppy in question has legally passed to you in return for payment, you should also have a second contract supplied as part of this and in support of it, outlining expectations on both sides of the deal.

This contract is designed to protect both the breeder and the puppy buyer, and cover a range of theoretical scenarios or what-ifs, as well as potentially adding in sale clauses on the breeder’s side; which might be things like mandating that the puppy not be used for breeding, and that if the buyer ever needs to rehome the pup, the breeder be given first refusal.

The contract should also outline clearly and fairly the theoretical future scenarios in which the breeder would accept the return of the puppy for a refund; in this context, the puppy is consumer goods sold for profit, and is covered by similar laws in terms of its suitability for purpose!

However, if a puppy buyer does need to return a puppy to a breeder without such a clause in place outlining when this might be permitted, achieving this and getting your money back using consumer standards laws is rarely simple.

For this reason it is a good idea to thoroughly check and agree with the breeder – in writing – situations in which the buyer would be permitted to return the puppy, and this article will outline the type of situations that a reasonable breeder would build into this type of contract, and the four situations in which a puppy buyer should be permitted to return the pup without a problem.

Read on to learn more.

Situations in which any responsible breeder should accept the return of a puppy

A responsible and conscientious breeder should accept the return of a puppy in any of the following situations:

Due to hereditary health issues that could have been tested for

Many breeds have well-known hereditary health issues within their breed population, some of which can be tested for with pre-breeding screening. Unless a breeder makes a puppy buyer aware that a dog might be affected by a certain condition prior to the sale and the buyer accepts this, a breeder should accept a puppy back if they are found to suffer from a hereditary health problem.

Due to a congenital defect that the buyer could not reasonably identified

If the puppy has a congenital defect that has a serious, ongoing and/or potentially costly impact on the pup and that will affect their quality of life, the breeder should accept a return of the puppy, unless the buyer purchased the puppy knowing about it in the first place.

If the puppy has a serious, long term or chronic health condition

If the puppy becomes ill in its first year of life with a long term or chronic health condition that is not a known common issue within the breed but that also would have been present from birth or otherwise not something the pup could have caught but was already predisposed to, the breeder should accept the puppy back.

If the puppy shows signs of aggression

Finally, any dog or puppy will become aggressive with poor or inappropriate handling, and this fault lies with their owners. However, it is highly unusual for puppies to be or become aggressive for no reason, and if this should happen, the breeder should immediately accept the puppy back; and thoroughly investigate the issue before breeding further dogs from that breed line too.

Some breeders will accept puppies back in a much wider range of situations, including those that are due to fault on the part of the buyer, or just one of those things; such as if the buyer feels unable to afford or care for the puppy any longer, if a family member becomes allergic to the pup, or for a whole host of other reasons.

However, aside from the situations outlined above, this falls to the breeder’s discretion. Whilst many breeders will take a puppy they bred back because they care about the future of all of their dogs even long after they have sold them, it is by no means unreasonable for a breeder to refuse to do so outside of the situations outlined above.

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