Times have changed in the dog world. In these days of legality where we are fully responsible for our own actions in a court of law - every "responsible" dog breeder is investing in Contracts for Sale/Purchase, with the purpose of protecting the puppy, the breed and the buyer.
The old adage 'get it in writing' definitely applies to purchasing a dog.
Breeders that sell their puppies on contracts, care what happens to the puppies after they leave them, and these contracts can be a sign that you're purchasing from a reputable breeder.
Our members strongly recommend contracts and do not sell our dogs without them.
The common myth around some uninformed dog breeders, is that "Contracts are not worth the paper they are written on."
Fact - Any document signed by the parties involved is legally binding in a court of law.
Fact - No contract - No Comeback
Another belief is that contracts are desiged to control and dictate.
Fact - Experienced and knowledgeable breeders, especially long standing kennels, do know their stuff, and their contracts are often also designed to protect the improvements they have made within their lines and for the breed in general. This can be by way of stipulating health testing prior to breeding, or limiting the "main" registration of direct offspring for breeding etc. Indiscriminate breeding and volume sales have been the downfall of every breed, and reputable breeders are right now trying to save the Dogue from the same exploitation seen in Rottweillers, Staffordshires etc.
Don't let contracts scare you - in fact - you should be scared if there is NO contract.
Why have a contract anyway?
A contract is designed and written to protect the interests of the person purchasing the Dog as well as the breeder of the Dog, but most of all, it has the well-being of the dog and the breed at the fore.
What's in it for the purchaser?
Purchasing a dog is a big step in anyone's life. Whether you want that dog as a pet and a companion or whether you intend to show or to breed later - it doesn't matter - you will have that dog for the remainder of its life and that could be more than 10 years. A contract will put in simple terms what the breeder of the dog expects of the person purchasing the dog. It will also state what the breeder will do for you, as the purchaser and for the dog, for extent of the contract and/or the dogs life. A guarantee if you like of what you should expect from either party.
A contract can include details of your guarantee if health problems arise. Health issues with large dog like the DDB can be very expensive and pet insurance is recommended by many breeders. Knowing that you have a good working relationship and a good contract with your breeder, you would be able to speak with your breeder about health issues should any arise . In such a case, the contract is limited in liability to part or full purchase price of the puppy only, not medical costs. Therefore the breeder's contract will outline what they offer in the event of an issue. It may contain a stipulated time frame, it may offer you a full refund if the dog is returned to the breeder or a replacement pup/dog again if the dog is returned to the breeder or if you wish to keep the dog, which many owners do, the breeder may refund you part or sometimes all of the purchase price. Proof of Desexing is usually also a condition of any refund if your puppy was purchased as a show or breed quality. Knowing that you have some avenue of assistance is of great benefit if the unfortunate does ever happen, but all contracts are different and can contain varying degress of the above, so read the contract thoroughly.
Having the conditions related to health guarantees in writing, can help you if the unfortunate ever happens and your dogue does develop a problem. You will also have the support and advice of your breeder. This is less likely when you have nothing in writing, and your breeder wipes their hands of you.
You can also be safe in the knowledge that if at any time you can no longer care for your dogue because of changing circumstances, the puppy's breeder should be willing to take the puppy/dogue back, so it will never end up in a pound, etc. Breeders will want to work with you to try to work something out so that you can keep your dogue, but if there is no other options, then they will often take it back to rehome for you.
Breeders know that many people will not want to give back their puppy, but they still offer to take back the puppy, as some puppy buyers simply won't be able to afford certain treatments, and that's why the offer is still there in their contracts. Breeders also usually have the best contacts for homes who are willing to take on an older dog if it needs rehoming. A much better option than seeing your dog end up in the pound or even put to sleep.
Many breeders are now also releasing their best puppies in Joint Ownership. That is in both the name of the breeder and that of the purchaser or new owner. Breeders may have several dogs at home that they may already be showing on the conformation circuit. When they breed a puppy that is of excellent quality, they may wish to release the puppy to a new owner who is able to both provide a loving pet home, where the puppy can receive all the attention they deserve and at the same time, the breeder will have the opportunity to use the puppy for breeding if it develops to be an excellent example of the breed. The new owner gets an excellent example of the breed, the pet and companion they have always wanted, the opportunity to show under the breeders guidance and the opportunity for the puppy/dog to have a litter one day, without having to go through all the stress and expense of breeding it themselves. Sometimes joint ownership, depending on the contract conditions, can also mean a share of the expense in raising, showing, health of the puppy. Every contract is different so speak to your breeder.
The Breeder of the Dog?
Many responsible breeders are working pro-actively to preserve and improve the Dogue de Bordeaux breed. That basically means that they have the knowledge and experience and contacts in the dog world to best assist owners who wish to breed in the future with the dogs that they purchase.
Improving the breed - does not mean just putting a male with a female anymore. The Dogue de Bordeaux is a very complicated breed and one that takes years upon years of knowledge and experience to try and understand and just as you think you know it all, something will change or happen and you will have to start all over again.
Also remember, while reputable breeders make the best decisions with regards to combinations and parents health results, mother nature can easily throw in a problem for no apparent reason, after all, no reputable breeder goes out of their way to cause problems.
The Dog's Protection?
Dog breeding is a serious pursuit. A great deal of time and money, experience and knowledge goes into breeding responsibly and correctly. As a dog breeder you are responsible for your puppies, and you should be responsible enough to care where they go and what happens to them in the future. Many owners are highly ethical and will work closely with their breeder, but some are not and will have in the past made many poor decisions in the up-bringing of the dogs they purchase.
Many responsible breeders will have experiences of how some owners did not protect the interests of the puppy they purchased and yes, sometimes these same responsible breeders are able to assist in the protection of the dog or puppy involved. Much like the RSPCA. Responsible Dog Ownership is essential in every dog home.
It is for these reasons that Contracts are a common fact of purchasing a puppy from a responsible dog breeder. They protect the interests of all the parties involved and like any legal document, you should always seek advice from a legal practitioner prior to signing anything.
If you are not sure about the terms of the Contract, speak with your breeder. If you do not agree with the terms of the contract before you purchase the puppy, simply don't sign it, and look elsewhere for another breeder who's contract terms you prefer.
Some points of interest you may see in today's purchase contracts:
- care of the puppy (feeding, vaccinations, exercise, training)
- health testing requirements (ages & guides on how, when to health test)
- health problems covered by the contract
- term covered for health problems (12 months, 2 years, lifetime, etc)
- conditions of refund (full or partial), replacement or other
- breeding guidelines, ages, health requirements
- showing requirements
- desexing guidelines
- rehoming or returning