What questions should you ask your French Bulldog breeder?

What should I pay attention to when purchasing a French Bulldog Puppy: the puppy checklist

Wherever you buy a French Bulldog puppy, you should always pay attention to a number of things. If these are not right, it is better not to buy the puppy, even if the dog still looks so cute! You save yourself many problems by good preparation and by avoiding hasty decisions. 

You must pay attention to the behavior, health and the way the animals are bred, and it is important that the breeder takes the time to answer your questions. You will find the most important issues in this puppy checklist (download the a printable checklist below to take with you to the breeder). Read them carefully, and take it with you when you go and have a look!

French Bulldog puppy checklist

How many litters are present?

A breeder has to put a lot of time and energy into guiding and caring for the puppies. They must learn all kinds of things and be well socialized. If a breeder has many litters at the same time, that guidance is often not possible. 

A breeder who is seriously engaged in socialization therefore has only one or a limited number of litters at a time. Anyone who breeds many litters at the same time needs staff who are consciously and systematically involved in the socialization of the puppies.

Is the mother dog present?

It is very important that the mother dog is present with the nest. The behavior of the mother gives you information about the puppies. Moreover, it is very important for the education of the puppies that they learn everything from their mother. She teaches them how to behave, that they should not bite too hard and what dog behavior looks like. 

Puppies can also legally leave their mother after seven weeks. Do not buy a puppy if the mother is not present, even if it is said that mother “is just out for a walk” or if other arguments are put forward.

If this is the case, agree that you will come back another time, if the mother is present. If this is not possible, you are most likely dealing with an intermediary.

Watch how the mother dog behaves. A mother dog with a litter of Frenchie puppies can sometimes be a bit protective against strangers who come to her puppies, but may not react aggressively or anxiously to your arrival. Also look at how she looks: is she clean, isn’t she too thin?

Is the litter located inside the house?

Puppies can best grow up under domestic conditions. In this way, they get used to everything they encounter in their later lives as domestic dogs. It is important that this happens at a young age, the puppies are open to new experiences and all kinds of new brain structures are created. 

Puppies experiencing too few new things can quickly become anxious about everything they don’t know later. Moreover, it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to catch up at a later age.

Inside the house, a puppy gets used to people walking around, visitors, possibly other pets and to all domestic noises. The litter is, therefore, best placed inside the breeder’s house. 

It is detrimental to the pup’s development if it is located somewhere afterward in a shed or kennel where the animals do not come into sufficient contact with the normal daily affairs they will encounter in their later lives. Research shows that puppies that grow up in the home are less likely to develop anxiety and aggression problems.

Is it clean?

Of course, it is important that the environment where the puppies stay is kept clean. This is not only necessary from a hygienic point of view, but also in connection with education.

Dogs that grow up in their own rubbish often get barely potty trained. After all, they are used to having to pollute their own nest. A good breeder, therefore, keeps the nest and the space in which the puppies can walk around neat and tidy.

How do the puppies respond to visitors?

Pups that are used to people should not respond anxiously to visitors. If the puppies crawl away when you come to watch, this is a bad sign. Healthy, social and human-friendly puppies will come to greet you and be curious about you. Of course, it is not intended that the entire nest should be in your arm within a few seconds, even if it is out of enthusiasm. 

There is some difference between puppies of different breeds, one breed is more reserved, the other very enthusiastic, French Bulldogs are quite social and will not be shy to come to you. Yet a young puppy should find you interesting and be kind to you. Of course, the reaction also depends on the age of the puppies. 

Very young puppies of about three weeks will not come directly at you, but two weeks later they are fully in their discovery and socialization period. A seven or eight week old puppy that is still afraid of you has usually not had good socialization or is naturally very anxious in nature.

How do the puppies respond to sounds?

A well-socialized puppy should no longer be shocked by normal house noises such as the closing of a door or the sound of the telephone. If the sounds are unknown, the puppies may be shocked, but they must recover quickly and continue to play, sleep or investigate the source of the noise.

Do the puppies have a vaccination certificate? 

Puppies should be vaccinated at least once against different diseases when they go to their new owner. They should also be dewormed. The data on this should be in a vaccination certificate or passport. 

Have the parent animals been tested for hereditary defects and are there official documents? 

In dogs, hereditary disorders can occur, such as, for example, joint disorders (such as hip or elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation or OCD) or eye disorders (such as PRA, cataract)(CLICK HERE to see what health issues French Bulldogs can suffer from). 

It is important that this is taken into account when breeding in order to reduce the condition. Breeding clubs usually oblige their members to have parents tested for these conditions. Parents who exhibit a certain degree of the disorder are then generally excluded from breeding. That way the chance is much smaller than your puppy will have such a hereditary condition. 

That is why it is important to familiarize yourself in advance with the abnormalities that occur with Frenchies (click the link above to check), and to ask whether the parents have been tested and what the result was. The breeder must be able to show you the official papers of this result.

You can also ask the vet or the breed club for an explanation and advice about the results of hereditary tests.

There are no tests for every condition, so ask about the health of the parents!

Does the breeder provide clear information and also ask questions?

A good breeder wants his puppies to find a suitable new owner. He will, therefore, ask you things about your situation and tell you not only the fun but also the less fun sides of the breed. After all, he wants you to be able to make a good choice and that the pup and you form a good combination. 

A good breeder is also concerned with the welfare of the puppies and he will do his best to make the transition to another home go as smoothly as possible. That means that you get information about how to deal with the puppy for the first time, what to look out for, often you get food and a cloth or toy that smells like the litter. It is also nice if, even after the purchase, you can call if you have any questions.

If you get the impression that the breeder is only interested in closing the deal if he is not interested in where the puppy will end up and if you receive little information, it is better not to buy a puppy there.

Can you take a look and ask questions during your visit?

Do not buy a puppy in places where several people are crowding at the same time for the puppies to choose one. You may feel rushed to choose one, afraid they will all be sold, and you cannot turn to the breeder with your questions. You can expect the breeder to take the time to show you the puppies, answer your questions and tell something about the individual puppies.

Can you come and see several times or do you have to decide right away?

With responsibly bred French Bulldog puppies there are no ‘special offers’ where you have to decide in one visit whether you will take the puppy. It is much more pleasant if you can come and look at the nest several times. 

If you want a puppy for which there is a waiting list, you usually register in advance. However, you should still be able to get away with it if you still decide not to buy the puppy.

Is there a clear purchase contract?

To be able to prove that a dog is yours you must be able to show the proof of purchase. In addition, it is very wise to ask for a real purchase contract that clearly states the rights and obligations of buyer and seller and that the Frenchie indeed becomes your property. The latter sounds strange, but there are constructions where you become as it were ‘foster family’ for the dog and the breeder remains the owner. 

It may also be that the contract states that you must not allow the dog to be neutered or that you must make the dog available for breeding, or that you are definitely not allowed to breed with it. So pay attention that there are no things in the contract that you do not want.

When in doubt: don’t buy the puppy!

Even though the puppy and the breeder meet the entire checklist, pay attention to your own feelings. If in doubt, you should not buy. It is no use to you if you have regretted your purchase for the dog’s entire life!

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