FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Do you own Sire and Dam of litter? A conscientious breeder will have put a great deal of effort and planning in this litter and the best Sire may not necessarily belong to them nor even live in the area. Having a male dog in the house doesn't make him a great stud dog. Make certain this was planned breeding.
2. Why was this Dog chosen for this female? There should be definite reasons for selecting a stud dog - compatible pedigree, compatible physical features, great temperament, features that bring offspring closer to breed standard, etc.
3. Are both parents registered with the American Kennel Club? The American Kennel Club is a registry for purebred dogs. Having AKC registered parents should ensure you are buying a purebred puppy but you should realize that the AKC does not generally police breeders and "AKC" should not be considered a recommendation of a breeder. Backyard breeders and puppy mills have AKC registered dogs. Be wary - ask questions.
4. What is temperament of mother? Father? This should be of utmost concern. Happy, well adjusted, non-aggressive Ridgebacks are a pleasure to own. Aggressive Ridgebacks are dangerous! Claims of overly protective dogs or a tough nature should definitely set off alarms. (Pup's mother showing some slight nervousness or aggression can be expected when her pups are handled by strangers.)
5. Have Sire and Dam been x-rayed free of hip and elbow dysplasia? What were their ratings? May I have a copy of certificates? Radiographs of hips and elbows should have been taken anytime after 2 years of age and submitted to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals . Hips can be rated as Dysplastic, Fair, Good or Excellent. Of course, Dysplastic should not be bred and common sense should be used in breeding Fairs. Elbows receive a pass or fail rating. Ask to see these certificates and if they have not been done walk away from this litter.
6. What other health or genetic testing/screening was done before breeding? A discussion with the breeder about breed problems and steps they are taking to keep this breed genetically clean should ensue at this point.
7. Do you have a 3 or 4 generation pedigree available for this litter? A conscientious breeder will have studied pedigrees to make certain this is a good match and should have at least a 3-generation pedigree available.
8. Have Sire and Dam been shown in conformation shows and achieved their Championships? It is not unusual for a well-bred litter to have champion parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents, etc. A handful of champions a couple of generations back on a pedigree is really not impressive. If the dogs aren't being evaluated by outside unbiased individuals, as in conformation showing, why are they being bred?
9. How much do Sire and Dam weigh? Bigger is NOT better. Ridgebacks should generally weigh between 65 and 95 pounds. More than this is incorrect and dangerous to the future of the breed. This dog was used for speed and agility - not for killing lions. 120 pound Ridgebacks should not be used for breeding.
10. How old is mother of this litter? Since hips and elbows can't be certified by OFA until 24 months, she should not be bred until after 2 years of age. A litter from a bitch after 7 should be accompanied by a letter of clearance from a reproductive veterinarian.
11. How many litters has she had? A responsible breeder will often breed a female twice, and once in a while 3 times. If she is on her third litter and 4 years old then she is being used as a commodity. Beware of numerous litters!
12. How often does this person breed a litter? Correctly raising a litter of Ridgebacks puppies is all consuming and should not be undertaken lightly. One litter every 1 - 3 years is often the most that a responsible breeder can do. Numerous litters per year should raise a red flag.
13. Is breeder a member in good standing of Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States (RRCUS)? Is this breeder aware of the RRCUS Code of Ethics and does he/she agreed to up hold it? The breeder of a litter of Rhodesian Ridgebacks should be a member of RRCUS and be familiar with the Code of Ethics (copy included with the enclosed material). This is a correct step in weeding out unethical breeders - it is no guarantee, but definitely a positive step.
14. Can breeder offer minimum of three references of past puppy buyers? If this information doesn't come freely then beware. You should buy a puppy and hope to join a group of very happy past puppy buyers. You are encouraged to check these references - a responsible breeder should have nothing to hide.
15. Does Breeder offer any health guarantee? When all good intentions fail and a puppy is genetically inferior - what guarantee will the breeder offer? Money returned, replacement puppy, etc.?Discuss this and make sure you are comfortable.
16. Is Breeder involved in purebred rescue? Is Breeder willing to rescue their own produce - forever?
This is a must!!! If a breeder is putting puppies in this over-crowded world, they should be making every effort to make certain ALL Ridgebacks have good homes. This should include his or her own puppies throughout the puppy's life.
17. How many years experience does Breeder have in Conformation Showing, Lure Coursing, Obedience, Agility, Therapy, Herding, Breeding? It goes without saying, the more varied experience the more dog knowledge the Breeder should have.
18. Will Breeder be available for questions and assistance throughout this dog's life? As a minimum this should be required. You should also be purchasing the expertise of your Breeder and should be able to have a lifetime source. Most reputable breeders will also be willing, if not require, that puppies be returned to them if for ANY reason the puppy can't stay in it's original home. For instance, the puppy has matured to a 6-year-old dog and the family goes through a medical crisis and can no longer give the dog a proper loving environment. A reputable breeder should take this dog, evaluate him and place him in a new home. Does the breeder in question have the willingness to make this commitment for the lifetime of the dog.
19. Does Breeder require spay/neuter agreements? In an effort to control pet over-population, a conscientious breeder should require spay/neuter agreements on puppies that don't meet breeding criteria.
20. Does Breeder make efforts to ensure good homes for puppies prior to breeding? A responsible breeder will only bring pups into the world if there are sufficient suitable homes for the litter. An ad placed in the newspaper after the litter is born shows a lack of judgement and planning. Most well bred litters are tentatively spoken for long before their 8-week birthday. You should also be asked numerous questions about your plans for the care of the puppy, fencing, indoor/outdoor plans, pets owned in the past, etc. The breeder should show as much interest the type of home as you are showing in the puppy.
21. Does Breeder require a nominal refundable deposit? Discuss the terms of your Breeder's deposit. Be comfortable. Most responsible breeders do use a "deposit" system for planning homes for puppies. If you aren't comfortable putting a $50 or $100 deposit with this breeder, is this really the person you should trust to supply you with a family companion.
22. How old are puppies and at what age can they leave home? Puppies should be 8 weeks old when they leave home - not 6 weeks!
23. At what age were or will they be weaned from their mother? Weaning is very stressful for puppies and should not coincide with leaving for a new home. Puppies should have been eating solid food for weeks prior to moving to their permanent homes. Weaning between 3 and 6 weeks is common.
24. Where were puppies raised? What efforts were made at socialization?
Since this breed tends to be aloof, great efforts should be made by a breeder in the first 8 weeks to introduce puppies to as much as possible - dishwashers, T.V., vacuum cleaners, children, numerous people, cats, loud noises, etc. Being kept in an 8X10 run or in a garage does nothing for the temperament of your puppy.
25. Have puppies be checked repeatedly for Dermoid Sinus? This is a problem in the breed and should be of utmost concern to a breeder. Make certain the breeder understands Dermoid Sinus and has been checking the puppies.
26. How are Dermoid Sinus puppies dealt with? D.S. puppies should have corrective surgery which will remove the neural tube defect. The puppy should be placed in a spay/neuter pet home with full disclosure. Puppy should not be sold at an inflated price.
27. Have puppies been checked for worms or been wormed? Worms are common in puppies and control and eradication should be expected from a conscientious knowledgeable breeder.
28. Have puppies had any inoculations? By 8 weeks pups should have had 1 or 2 of the puppy shots.
29. Will I be able to pick my puppy? Since the breeder has the luxury of watching these puppies interact with each other and humans on a day to day basis, a responsible breeder will have a better idea of which puppy should work best in which home. You may have choice between a couple of puppies but don't expect a good breeder to allow you to come in and pick any puppy you want. For example, a bold and headstrong puppy could be a disaster in a home with a more retiring family.
30. May I come and visit to see the puppies or adult Ridgebacks you own? Offers to deliver a puppy to you should send up red flags. Why should you buy a puppy from someone who's willing to meet you at a rest stop? A responsible breeder really shouldn't have time to drive to meet you and furthermore this shows an urgency to gets puppies placed quickly without a great deal of concern for the home. A responsible breeder spends a great deal of time visiting with prospective owners and educating them on the special characteristics of the Ridgeback. A visit also gives you an opportunity to see the environment where the puppies were raised. Visitation with the breeder at a pre-arranged time shouldn't be an inconvenience.