Buying a New Puppy? How to Avoid the Pitfalls
Many books and articles have been written regarding the art of choosing a puppy (i.e. performing puppy tests, looking for parental OFA certifications, and so on...), but few, if any, discuss the contractual end of purchasing a puppy. I can tell you through personal experience that purchasing a quality show puppy from a famous breeder can be quite a stressful experience because no breeder would give up the pick of the litter to a competitor (for obvious reasons) or to a novice without co-ownership of the puppy.
Co-ownership of a puppy entitles the breeder to many rights to the detriment of the buyer. To begin with, the breeder might also be an experienced handler and might contractually require the purchaser to use the breeder as the puppies' trainer and handler. Agreeing to this could be a monumental mistake because the purchaser might be required to pay (even though they might be co-owners) for the breeders time to train and handle the puppy. Agreeing to this can COST you THOUSANDS of dollars.
In the contract, the breeder might require your bitch/dog to whelp/stud puppies. And, of course, they would contractually want the picks of the litter (they may choose either male or a female puppies as they please). Furthermore, you as the purchaser, might be required to pay the costs of breeding and whelping the puppies (i.e. food, vet-bills, housing, AKC registrations, stud fees, breeder's time) even though you may not be allowed to get the picks of the litter. What's more, you may not be able to see nor be with your dog for the duration of gestation and delivery.
Some breeders have been known to switch animals when they are sent away for whelping or stud service. Therefore, I would recommend that you microchip you puppy and that you get an AKC DNA ID as soon as possible after you purchase your puppy. This way, you will get back your beloved animal without concern as to the nature of its identity.
When you purchase your puppy, most reputable breeders will guarantee that your puppy will be free of various ailments for the duration of two years. What they may fail to mention, however, is that if your puppy becomes incurably ill, the replacement puppy may be one of their own choosing and not yours; which translates to the fact that you may end up with a new puppy that has a lousy temperament.
So, remember. The devil is in the fine print. Read your contract carefully, otherwise you may become the victim of your own ignorance.