Play Your Part, Breeding, Buying & Bringing Up Brachycephalic Dogs Better.
This article produced by the Kennel Club is aimed at both breeders of Brachycephalic dogs and those considering buying a Brachycephalic puppy.
It emphasises that potential Brachycephalic puppy owners have their own due diligence to follow, to ensure they are buying a healthy puppy from the right, responsible, reputable breeder.
Getting a puppy is not a quick process and should never be something you rush into.
First - determine what breed best suits your lifestyle.
Research the breed yourself. There are four French Bulldog Breed Clubs in the UK and others internationally. All have lots of breed information on their club websites, especially about current health issues and health testing.
UK Breed Clubs have a Code of Ethics for their members which includes how to look after their dogs.
Consider becoming a member of a breed club for more information and guidance from Officers and Committee.
Ask plenty of questions when reaching out to breeders.
Here are a few questions to consider asking;
What age do puppies leave the kennel?
This is the first question to ask; a responsible breeder will not let you take the puppy home before 8 weeks of age. Between 8-10 weeks is the best time. Taking a puppy away from littermates too soon can have long term effects on the puppy’s maturity and development.
How old is the mother and how many litters has she had?
Make sure the mother of the pups is a healthy age to be breeding. Ask her age and how often she has been bred – very important to know. A responsible breeder will never breed a mother more than once a year, and let her fully recover before breeding again. If the mother is younger than 2 years or has had several litters of puppies it is most likely it is not a reputable breeder you are dealing with.
Are you able to see the puppies at home?
A responsible breeder will encourage you to come visit the puppies before making a decision. Finding a happy, safe home for puppies should be the breeder’s priority. Visiting the puppy at home is the perfect way to get to know the breeder and for them to assess you as a potential owner of one of their precious pups. During the visit interact with the entire litter – look for playful puppies, comfortable around people handling them. You can also see the size, health, cleanliness and personalities of each puppy.
Are we able to meet the parents?
If possible, it is a good idea to see both parents to see if they are healthy and have a good temperament. The male may not live onsite, but you should always be able to see the mother. Ask about health testing results. A responsible breeder will be happy to provide this information and show you the health test certificates/ results.
Where are the breeder’s dogs kept?
French Bulldog puppies should always be raised in the home, be part of the family, exposed to a busy household and different sounds and smells. All French Bulldogs should be kept in the house. They are NOT kennel dogs, they thrive on constant, human attention.
Ask about the breeder’s experience with the breed and breeding?
A responsible breeder should have ample breeding experience and be extremely knowledgeable about the breed. A new breeder may still be responsible – everyone starts somewhere. If new to breeding ask who mentored them and what they have done to establish their breeding program. These days breeders often have their own kennel website – a great way to find out more about the breeder’s philosophy and to see their dogs.
How many dogs does the breeder own?
If a breeder owns a lot of dogs, they are probably not giving them a lot of time and attention.
How big will the puppy grow?
Each breed has a breed standard which specifies breed weights. The standards can be accessed on the Kennel Club website and are useful for this breed information.
Have the puppies been socialised?
It is critical your puppy is socialised from an early age. They should be used to being handled by people of all ages – probably family members. Proper sensible socialisation affects their behaviour for the rest of their lives. A responsible breeder will ensure this important socialisation happens and expose their litter to a variety of sights and sounds.
What type of food are the puppies eating?
A responsible breeder will feed puppies a high quality, highly digestible food specific for puppies. They should encourage you to promote healthy development during the critical stages of growth. You should be provided with this information and a diet sheet, plus the food the puppy is currently fed.
Have the puppies been vaccinated?
A responsible breeder will begin the first round of vaccinations age 6 – 8 weeks – administered by a Vet. At the same time the Vet will health check each puppy. You need to know when the next vaccination is due.
What type of Vet care have they received?
You should expect at least one health check by a Vet before leaving for a new home. Records must be provided to you – weight, deworming dates and type of wormer used, vaccination dates, Vet check and any treatment.
Have the puppies been dewormed?
A responsible breeder will have given deworming treatment regularly from 2 weeks of age.
Does the breeder provide a health guarantee and contract of sale?
A very important question to ask in case of medical emergencies or health conditions at a young age. A responsible breeder will provide health insurance for the first 6 weeks. A health guarantee can be given for genetic problems if the breeding dogs have been DNA tested. A contract of sale should state you are the owner of the puppy after purchasing. The contract will explain in detail the terms of sale and what is expected of you as the new owner e.g. desexing at a certain age.
Are the parents and puppies registered with the Kennel Club?
The breeder will have registered the puppy with the Kennel Club. Registration forms will be given to the new owner, this includes the pedigree of the puppy and health test results of dogs tested in the pedigree.
Are the parents health tested or aware of medical problems?
Health in French Bulldogs is currently a focus for responsible breeders. Breeders are encouraged to health test dogs they intend to breed with. Health testing is not compulsory. Ask the breeder about the life span of their dogs and any health issues. Always see evidence of health test results.
References and reviews from previous buyers?
You may want to chat to previous buyers to learn more about their experience getting a puppy from the breeder, and more information about the health and temperament of their puppy.
What questions do you have for me?
A responsible breeder will ask you questions about your lifestyle, occupation, will the puppy be left alone for long periods at home, type of house lived in. Everything that is relevant to being able to raise a puppy correctly, commitment to the puppy, prior experience with dogs. What have you researched about the breed, do you own any other dogs, breeds or animals.
What is the selection process?
The breeder will often keep a puppy from the litter, it is unlikely you would get the pick of litter puppy. Ask how the process works – some pick the pup for you, others let you choose. The breeder will try to ensure the best fit between you and your puppy happens.
Any conditions or requirements for customers to fulfill?
A breeder may require you to get your puppy desexed by a certain age. It is important to ask this question. If your circumstances change and you are no longer able to look after your puppy/dog contact the breeder in the first instance for support.
Can we contact you in the future after taking puppy home?
A responsible breeder will support you and encourage you to contact them with any queries about anything, at anytime, throughout the dog’s life.