Buying a purebred dog from a responsible breeder entails a fair bit of documentation, reading, and signing. If this is your first time adding a purebred puppy to your family, it may seem like a lot. To help explain this process and why all of those darn forms are needed, let's answer some questions new puppy buyers might ask.
My breeder told me I would be sent a Certificate of Registration. What even is that? A Certificate of Registration is basically your proof that your dog is purebred. It contains all of the important information you need to know about your dog, including their CKC registration number, date of birth, colour, breed, sex, sire and dam's names, and the breeder’s name.
Even if you don't plan on showing your dog, this document is vital in proving that your dog is "as advertised" - a purebred dog that is appropriately registered under Canadian Law.
Many first-time puppy buyers are not aware that breeders are not allowed to charge for registration papers.
If you see puppies advertised for one price without papers, and a higher price for them to come with a certificate of registration, that is illegal. In Canada, Canadian law dictates that if a dog is sold as a purebred, registration papers must be provided, and the breeder must provide them at no additional cost. It is illegal to sell a purebred dog without papers.
Which dogs can be CKC registered? For a dog to be eligible for registration with the Canadian Kennel Club, both parents must be registered with the CKC or with a kennel club whose studbooks CKC recognizes (example: The American Kennel Club). There are some exceptions to this, but these are very specific circumstances. If you're purchasing a purebred dog that was imported into Canada or is registered with a different Kennel Club than CKC, contact us. We can verify if all the specific requirements are met for them to be eligible for CKC registration.
Why do purebred dogs all have that long, fancy name? Registered names, or the long fancy names you sometimes see associated with dogs who compete in CKC events, are your dog's official name. These names are unique to your dog - no other dog can have the same registered name! Registered names help CKC uniquely identify and register your dog. Usually, the breeder picks puppies' registered names, with their kennel name starting the name off. Some breeders choose these names based on a theme for the litter, i.e., all names start with the letter E. Others go by specific themes like stars, songs by their favourite artists, famous animals, etc.
Of course, you don't have to call your new puppy by its registered name. This is why you will likely give your dog a call name meaning the name you call your dog day to day.
If the puppy isn't registered with CKC, can I use a DNA test to get it registered? No. Although a DNA test may state a dog is purebred, the tests cannot provide a specific parental lineage of the dog to verify this claim, which is necessary for Canadian Kennel Club registration.
What’s a Non-Breeding Agreement? Non-breeding agreements are signed documents between a breeder and the dog owner that stipulate a dog cannot be used for breeding. The dog is still fully registered with CKC. Non-breeding agreements simply do not allow any future puppies produced from this dog to be registered with CKC. Most pet dogs are sold on Non-Breeding agreements as they are intended to be loving members of people's families, not breeding program prospects. Suppose a situation occurs where a dog once thought to be inappropriate for breeding turns out to be outstanding and passes all necessary health clearances. In that case, the Non-Breeding agreement may be canceled with the mutual consent of the buyer and seller, at which time the CKC will issue a new certificate.
And this Spay/Neuter Contract? It's very common for breeders to require their pet-quality dogs to be altered to prevent accidental breedings. As research continues, the age at which spaying or neutering occurs has moved back considerably. Many breeders require that pet owners wait until the dog has fully matured, anywhere from a year to 18 months or older for larger breeders. While waiting, it is always the owner's responsibility to make sure their dog doesn't roam to avoid unwanted breedings, not to mention injuries and illness.
How about this Health Guarantee? Many breeders offer a health guarantee on their puppies. Some offer a set amount of days to have the new puppy checked by a veterinarian and might include a guarantee up to a certain age against hereditary or congenital health problems. The return policies also vary but might be a purchase price refund or a replacement puppy of equal value when one becomes available.
It's essential for new puppy buyers to know that purchase and/or sale transactions, guarantees regarding health, temperament, or any other issues are private undertakings agreed upon at the time of sale between buyer and seller. The CKC is not a party to the purchase and/or sale of any individual purebred dog. It is imperative to do your research in finding a reputable breeder (see this blog on the topic: https://www.ckc.ca/en/The-Dish/March-2019/How-To-Spot-A-Responsible-Breeder). Therefore, any issues arising from death or health/temperament concerns must be addressed through civil court. Should either party deem it necessary to litigate a problem, it is dealt with directly between the individuals involved in the transaction; The Canadian Kennel Club does not act as a facilitator for such matters.
Is this free puppy insurance? Many CKC member breeders and their puppy buyers benefit from the Pets Plus Us 6 week Head Start Trail Program. Ask your breeder to explain how this remarkable program works: https://www.ckc.ca/en/PetsPlusUs.
What is this return to breeder agreement? Every responsible breeder hopes that the homes they send their puppies to are their homes for the duration of their life. Unfortunately, sometimes life events are out of our control. Sometimes things like illness, moving overseas, divorce, and financial problems lead people to a situation where keeping a dog in their home is not in the dog's best interest. If something like this were to occur, a return to breeder agreement ensures that the dog's best interest is taken into account if a change of living situation is needed.
These agreements vary. Sometimes the breeder wants to have all the contact information for the new owners to keep in touch and guide them as they have the original buyers. Other times, an agreement might specify that a dog goes back to the breeder first to assist in finding the most suitable home for the dog - the same as they did when it was a puppy.
As you can see from some of these questions, buying a purebred dog from a responsible breeder can entail a fair bit of documentation, reading, and signing. While it may seem like a lot, all of this paperwork helps protect you and your new furry family member.
But don’t worry! If the thought of reading all these forms is daunting, experienced breeders are very comfortable with them and will be able to answer your questions should you have any - plus, they do most of the filling out anyways!