The following are some questions to consider when selecting a Toller breeder:
Q. How long have you owned and/or been breeding tollers?
A. While everyone starts somewhere, you should feel confident in your breeders knowledge of the breed in careful selection of dogs for breeding purposes. With a rare breed and limited gene pool, careful selection of dogs for breeding and combining of bloodlines and pedigrees in very important. Ask about the health and temperaments of the dogs being bred as well as their close relatives.
Q. Do you own/breed other breeds of dogs? Where do the dogs stay and where are the puppies raised?
A. While many breeders own more than one breed, many of today’s “puppy mills” have multiple breeds as well as mixed breeds and breed for the sole purpose of making money. If you have any doubt about the conditions the dogs live in or the area where the puppies will be raised, ask to visit the breeders home and or kennel set up.
Q. What are your goals as a breeder? What do you hope to produce?
A. The Toller is a versatile breed that meets the needs and desires of many who seek them out. Their original purpose was and should still be to Toll or lure waterfowl and retrieve those birds once shot. Today, they are used in many hunting situations and should be bred with such purpose in mind. The Toller is also becoming a popular breed for many other activities like conformation showing, agility, obedience, etc. You will also see many, if not most people looking for a great, active companion and family member. Lastly, a breeder should have in mind the idea to improve on what they have in each breeding they participate in.
Q. Can you tell me about the sire and dam of the litter, their temperaments, have they been bred before, about their offspring? Can I meet them?
A. Meeting the parents can give you a good idea of how the pups will look and act. Seeing puppies from previous litters of either parent can be especially helpful. You can also meet up and see how the parents hunt, perhaps visiting a local game farm. In any case, call and make an appointment with the breeder, don’t just stop in!
Q. Can I visit your home/kennel?
A. You should feel welcome to go visit a breeders home and see how their dogs live and where the puppies will be raised. This is a good time to meet the parents. You can also meet a breeder at shows/events where they might be exhibiting their Toller.
Q. What activities do you do with your Toller? What titles do the dogs have? Can I see them showing/working?
A. Whatever you are looking for in your Toller, it’s nice to see they have the skills and attributes necessary to fit your needs. If you want to compete in agility, go see the parents train/compete, same goes for working in the field. Want a Toller for the family and kids? Ask to see how the parents are in situations with kids, etc.
Q. Are you a member of any Toller clubs? What other dog clubs/ organizations do you belong to?
A. Conscientious breeders are active in their particular breed.
Q. Where are the puppies raised? What kind of socialization do they receive?
A. How the puppies are raised for the first weeks of life spent with the breeder is very important in how they will transition into their new homes. Exposure to different people, sights, sounds and smells is important. Knowing someone is able to spend plenty of time caring for the puppies and the mother is important. Proper feeding, cleaning, etc. should be maintained at all times.
Q. How will I pick my puppy?
A. Most Toller breeders, after spending countless hours raising, evaluating, temperament testing, socializing and caring for a litter of puppies know best which puppy will match up with each prospective new home. That being the case, you will find that most breeders pick your puppy for you!
Q. What guarantees do you offer? Can I see a copy or your contract?
A. Responsible breeders offer limited health and temperament guarantees on puppies that they sell. Make sure you understand the contract and ask more questions if you have them after reading it. You should be allowed ample time to review and ask questions.
Q. Are the puppies AKC (American Kennel Club) and/or CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) registered?
A. Your purebred puppy should come to you with the appropriate American and/or Canadian Kennel Club Registration paperwork when you pick up your puppy, or shotly thereafer.
Q. What health concerns are there in Tollers? What Health clearances have been done with the sire and dam prior to breeding?
A. Both the sire and dam should have certain health clearances done prior to breeding. Information can be found on http://www.offa.org/ . If you can’t find information about clearances, ask the breeder for copies. You can visit http://www.toller.ca/tollerhealth/index.html for more information about Toller Health.
Q. Can you provide references?
A. Breeders should be willing to provide you with references of previous puppy buyers as well as other Toller owners, veterinarians, trainers, etc.