2011 AAHA Canine
Vaccine Guidelines:

Do you sell your puppies over the Internet or via a puppy broker?
It is just as important for the puppy buyer to meet the breeder and the dogs in person as it is for the breeder to meet the new potential owners. This
is going to be the new addition to your family that you will trust to sleep on your child's bed. Do NOT purchase a puppy when you have NEVER
visited the breeder's home and met his/her dogs.
Do NOT buy your PWD sight unseen!!! DO NOT buy from a broker or
over the Internet! Talk and visit with a breeder as they will be a life long resource for you and your new

How many litters of puppies do you have each year?  
A responsible breeder will not have many litters.  A breeder looking to make money will have many litters, which should make you question whether
or not you want to buy a puppy from a high volume breeder looking to make a profit from their dogs.

How do you ensure that your breeding dogs are healthy?
A responsible breeder will check the health of their dogs regularly, via regular visits to the veterinarian.
In addition, the tests listed below will be performed and certification of such tests should be available to you. Please review these test results on the
on-line links provided.

Evaluation for Hip Dysplasia - via O.F.A. certification ( OFA website ) and/or PennHip certification ( PennHip website )
Eye certification (OFA Eye Registry Website) or ( CERF website )
3. Evaluation for genetic diseases via genetic testing: CHIC PWD HEALTH PAGE
     a)  GM-1 testing and certification that at least one parent does not carry the gene for gangliosidosis.
OPTIGEN prcd-PRA testing and certification that at least one parent does not carry the gene for      
             progressive retinal atrophy.
JDCM testing and certification that at least one parent does not carry the gene for juvenile dilated

* The three genetic diseases mentioned above a recessive disorders, so it takes 2 copies of the defective gene  for a puppy to shows signs of the
disease. So, a dog   that is a carrier and only has 1 copy of the gene is a perfectly healthy dog. Making sure that at least one parent is tested normal
prevents the puppies from being affected with the disease. It is O.K. if one parent is a carrier as long as the other parent is tested as a normal or

Potential puppy buyers should
request to see these test results. They can also look up these results at the following sites (click on link):


PWDCA website

If the breeder cannot produce a record, or tells you that his/her dogs have seen the vet and are healthy - and/or they have never had problems –
walk away.    

It is also important to
discuss other health concerns with breeders. Find a breeder who will tell you both the good and bad in their dogs as you
will find someone who will be truthful and not just tell you what you want to hear just so your will buy a puppy. Some of these health concerns may or
may not have current screening tests available. These may include, but are not limited to, cancer, allergies, immune-mediated disorders, Addison's
disease, hair-loss (follicular dysplasia), sebaceous adenititis, hypothyroidism, seizures, etc. For further information regarding the health concerns
that affect Portuguese Water Dogs, please follow the link to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America's health information page (click on link):

PWDCA Health Information Page

What are the temperaments of the sire and dam?  
A good breeder will welcome the opportunity to talk about their dogs and discuss their temperaments with you truthfully. If all you hear is that the
dogs are wonderful and have no faults, you need to consider what they may be hiding. Again, find a breeder who will tell you both the good and bad
in their dogs as you will find someone who will be truthful and not just tell you what you want to hear just so your will buy a puppy.  

How many females of breeding age do you have on the premises?
If a breeder has many females that are bred regularly, then once again it is a money making enterprise and you should not buy a puppy.

How many times will you breed each female in her lifetime?
How many times a female is bred varies. If she is continually bred every time she cycles for her entire breeding life, then the breeder is trying to
produce as many puppies as possible from her and a red flag should go up that this most likely is a breeder making quantity not necessarily quality.
Find another breeder.

How many male dogs of breeding age do you have?
Many hobby breeders co-own with people and so the dogs may not live on the premise. This allows for those dogs to get more one on one
attention. Beware if there are a large number of intact (breed-able) males on the premises as this
may be a sign of a high volume breeder looking
to make money from their dogs.  

At what age do you let your puppies go to their new homes?
The best age to send a puppy to their new home is between 8 and 10 weeks. Be wary of the breeder who is letting you take your puppy earlier than
8 weeks and keep in mind that selling puppies younger than 8 weeks of age is illegal in some states. They are not ready to leave their mother and
litter-mates. They need the interaction with their litter-mates to equip them with the tools they’ll need later in life. They learn how to play, assert
themselves, be humbled and become confident and secure. All qualities that you want in a new member of your family. Once they leave, they need
to continue this socialization with their new families and many good breeders will encourage owners to enroll in puppy kindergarden classes or
other early socialization classes.

Can I pick my own puppy from the litter?
A good breeder will match the puppy to the new family's lifestyle and personality. A mismatch could cost the puppy his or her life, and not be
pleasant for the family.
A buyer only sees the puppies for a short time. An experienced breeder can help a buyer find the puppy that will fit best into
the family since they have spent the most time interacting with the litter.
Ideally you want a breeder that will not let you pick your own puppy,
but rather direct you to the best match suitable to your own personality and lifestyle.

Where are your puppies raised?
Be wary of the puppies that are raised in outdoor cages or small confined areas with little or no  human contact. They will not be socialized or used
to handling. If you see this,
A responsible breeder will raise puppies in a room in their home where puppies can receive lots of daily interaction and attention in a safe, clean

How do you socialize your puppies before they leave your premises?
A good question and something that must be done. Be aware of the breeder who tells you that they are well-socialized and then can’t give you
specifics. They need human interaction and constant handling.

Can I visit the sire and dam, if both are on the premises, before the litter is born?
A responsible breeder will welcome your visit and actually require you and your family to visit before they will agree to sell you a puppy.  Often, the
sire may not live on the premises and may live across the country or even in another country. In these cases, the breeder should be able to show
health certifications, pictures, and pedigrees of the sire. You should certainly be able to visit the other dogs that are in the breeder's home such as
the expecting mother and any of her relatives.

Can I visit the facility that the puppies will be raised in?
Once again there should be no hesitation.

At what age can I visit my puppy for the first time and can I bring my children?
You should be encouraged to visit with your children. Many new moms may take several days to settle into their job of raising their new litter. Some
breeders will prefer to wait until mom settles in before having a lot of visitors. However, once mom is comfortable, visitors also help the breeder to
socialize the puppies.
Do NOT purchase a puppy when you have never visited that breeder's home or met his/her dogs.

Am I required to spay/neuter?
This should be a requirement for anyone desiring a pet companion. Spaying or neutering will make your dog a better pet and keep him/her
healthier, reduce and/or eliminate the risk of reproductive cancers, and help to prevent behaviors associated with sexual maturity such as inter-dog
aggression and urine marking. All responsible breeders will require all owners that are not planning on becoming breeders to spay/neuter their
dogs. Breeding dogs is a serious task requiring a large time and financial commitment and should not be taken on lightly. A responsible breeder
dedicates a lifetime to understanding the breed and their dogs as well as a lifelong commitment to any dog they produce. Spaying and neutering
your companion is part of being a responsible dog owner.

Why Show Dogs?
Conformation shows are ways for breeders to compare their dogs to the dogs of other breeders. This encourages responsible breeders to
continue to produce the best dog of their breed in regards to structure, health, and temperament.

In addition, there are many other venues that
challenge PWDs to demonstrate the working nature that they were originally bred to
These include water trials, obedience, rally, agility, fly-ball, and tracking events. A responsible breeder will use these venues to show
that their dogs can still do the job they were intended to perform. A responsible breeder will strive to attain titles on their dogs in these events and
be very proud of the hard work it takes to achieve them.
Look for a breeder that competes with their dogs.

Do you have a contract?
All reputable breeders will have some type of contract. These will vary from breeder to breeder and you should ask to see a copy of it. They should
be willing to provide you a copy without hesitation. It should clearly outline the guarantees for the purchase of the puppy as well as your requirements
that all breeders expect of a responsible dog owner.

What is Co-Ownership?
Many responsible breeders will not sell a puppy to an owner without a spay/neuter requirement. If a new owner may be interested in breeding in the
future, the breeder may discuss co-ownership. The breeder will remain a part owner of the dog and will make all the breeding decisions for that
puppy. A responsible breeder does this to protect their dogs and the breed. This ensures that a new puppy owner will attain the mentoring they
need to become a future breeder.

Can I contact you at any time with questions or perhaps to help me solve a problem?
Once again the answer should be yes. A good breeder will encourage you to keep in touch and want to help you when you have a question. Any
problems with your puppy are important knowledge for the breeder so that they can assist you with your problem and work to prevent future
problems in their dogs.

Will you take the puppy/dog back if I can no longer keep it?
The answer here should be yes. The breeder should be concerned about his/her dogs for their entire life. This should not stop at the time of the sale.
Many breeders will also microchip their puppies before they are placed in their new homes and register the breeder's name as an alternate contact
in case there is a problem with the puppy as well as to ensure that their dog never ends up in a shelter.

Can you help me find a good trainer for obedience/agility/etc?
Yes, this should be automatic. A caring and good breeder will want you and your new dog to get a good start and have a long and happy
relationship. Obedience training will get you off on the right foot with your new puppy and should be encouraged by the breeder.

Do you require obedience training?
A good breeder will want you to learn to work with your dog and teach both the dog and your family how to live together and what to expect of each
other.  Good obedience training will make your dog a pleasure to be around and ultimately insure that he/she has a happy home with a family that
understands and loves him/her.

What is the price of your puppies?
This varies from breeder to breeder. A bargain is just that. There is a good chance that if the price is really cheap, the breeder did not put any
money into raising the litter and testing the breeding dogs for inheritable diseases. Beware! A savings of a few hundred dollars could cost you
thousands in veterinary expenses in the future. You get what you pay for. Having said that, keep in mind that a high price tag does not always equal
high value. If it is advertised as
RARE, BEWARE! You need to interview the breeder as much as they need to interview you. Remember to
evaluate the health testing performed and the accomplishments of the breeder and his/her dogs.

Were the puppies treated for intestinal parasites (de-wormed)?
All puppies should be de-wormed regularly starting at about 2 to 3 weeks of age, and at least one more time before they leave. They should also
have fecal tests performed to evaluate for intestinal parasites. Studies have shown that over 80% of puppies are born with roundworms.
Roundworms and Hookworms can cause problems in people, particularly young children and immunocompromised individuals. It is also important
for your puppy's health that they are treated and evaluated for intestinal parasites.

Will my puppy be vaccinated and if so, what for?
Your puppy should be given their initial vaccination between 6-8 weeks of age. This vaccine used varies a bit from breeder to breeder and from
veterinarian to veterinarian. You should contact your veterinarian and ask what they recommend and then discuss this with the breeder. Be sure you
feel comfortable with your breeder’s response. Beware of breeders that
require you to do certain things that are not recommended by your
veterinarian, such as feeding a raw diet or not vaccinating your puppy. The choices that you make for your puppy should be ones that you feel
comfortable with and your breeder should be there as a resource, but not force you to do things that you are uncomfortable with.  

American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Guidelines

American College of Veterinary Nutrition Information Links

Do you as the breeder have any questions for me as the buyer?
This is just a guide to help you find a considerate and responsible breeder to buy your new family member from. Please use this to help you weed
through the many breeders you should speak to. Find a breeder that will take the time to talk to you and the one that makes you feel comfortable.
Many backyard breeders/high volume breeders will be abrupt and find your questions to be annoying. If that happens, find another breeder. If they
are not interested in your concerns now, they surely won’t be in the future and they are probably trying to hide something from you. While this can
seem overwhelming and be very time consuming, please remember that this is going to be the newest edition to your family. Would you buy a car,
sight unseen, over the Internet? Then why not put the same, if not more time into the family pet that will sleep on your child's bed? Please do not fall
into the trap of instant gratification. Please realize that it takes time to find a reputable breeder and you may have to put your name on a waiting list
for a puppy.

A word of caution about a breeder who begins "bad mouthing" another local breeder to a potential puppy buyer.
Unfortunately, we see some PWD breeders who feel that in order to make themselves look good and in order to
sell puppies, they need to disparage other responsible breeders. Unfortunately those who belittle others are the
people who often have the most to hide. Please make your own judgements about a breeder when you talk to them
and visit with them in person. This is a person with whom you will rely on as a resource and support system with
your new addition to the family. Do not listen to rumor and innuendo. Please make your own educated conclusion!

When you find the right match with a reputable breeder and the perfect dog, it is well worth the wait!

Good luck with your search and the new addition to your family!

Click here for Querida's Puppy Page
Resources and Suggested Questions to Discuss with Dog Breeders:
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Informative Links:
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