Breeding Contracts - perils and positives

You have done your research, you have found your breeder, you have made contact with them and asked them questions from our pre purchase checklist and so far so good.
Off you go and, after arriving at the breeder's premises, you meet the breeder, inspect the dam and, possibly, the sire too.  Then you meet, for the first time, a bunch of fluffy, bouncy puppies among which you hope will be your future companion, show prospect, obedience dog.

You have previously explained- well I hope you have - what you are wanting a German Shepherd Dog puppy for. The breeder gives you a run down on each puppy, both its character and conformation.

You make your choice, the breeder says, "Would you be interested in this puppy under a Breeding Contract?" or "You can have the puppy under my breeding terms." At this point, your alarm bells should be ringing. "What is a Breeding Contract" or "What is meant by breeding terms?" you ask.

Breeding Contract/Co-Ownership
This is where you READ and SIGN a contract with the breeder.

It may be as simple as our
contract, which is just a general health guarantee. Or the contract could be one where YOU, the PUPPY BUYER, are left to feed, raise and train the puppy, the breeder does nothing to assist in the maintenance of the puppy - not even any vet treatment required over the life of the Breeding Contract - and then expects you to send the adult back to them (once all breed improvement schemes have been met) for one or more free litters or, in the case of a dog, free studs at any time.

This may sound simple, but the purchase of a puppy can lead to frustration, misunderstandings, heart break and legal recourse if the seller and buyer are involved in a dispute regarding the terms of purchase or Breeding Contract.
We feel the best way to purchase a puppy is straight forward with no strings attached. Since that is not always possible, we offer the following information as a guide and to help assist you in making your purchase of a German Shepherd Dog puppy a happy experience.

First: If you do choose to enter into an Agreement or Contract, make VERY sure you understand all the implications BEFORE you sign it.

The amount of paperwork involved in the purchase of a puppy varies from breeder to breeder. When you purchase a KC or an ANKC puppy, you should expect to receive a bill of sale or certificate of sale, health records, pedigree, registration application, and a signed (by both the breeder and yourself) copy of any contractual obligations you might have agreed to regarding the purchase of your puppy.


Co-ownership Agreement:  


An arrangement between parties. stating that a dog is owned by more than one individual.


Some breeders insist upon co-ownership of the pups they sell. They justify this by stating that, " An ethical breeder really cares what happens to the puppy and would like to be there to help and guide you in your future breeding or show endeavours." What they really mean is, "We don't trust you to adequately care for this pup, so we will retain 50% ownership of the dog as insurance."

There are two important effects of co-ownership. One is that neither party can dispose of the dog without the other's consent. The other relates to breeding from the dog.


Any litter whelped by a dog that is co-owned is considered to be the property of all co-owners, unless there is a written agreement that stipulates otherwise. A litter cannot be registered without the signatures of all owners on the Litter Registration Application Form.


Breeding Contract:  


A written agreement between buyer and seller to the effect that the buyer will purchase a puppy (usually a bitch) for less than the original price. The buyer will agree to breed from the adult and seller will receive pick of the litter or one or more puppies from the resulting litter, OR an entire litter or more.
The seller might require the right to lease the bitch for particular litters, or might require to be the co-owner of the bitch until the contract is fulfilled, after which the seller must relinquish co-ownership, and the buyer becomes the full owner of the bitch.
A Breeding Contract contains clauses that stipulate the terms. It is important that the buyer fully understands and agrees to these terms before signing. The contract should be signed by both parties and each signatory should receive a copy.


Contract for Lease of Bitch:

A written agreement between lessor (owner of the bitch) and lessee to keep the bitch for a period of time - usually for breeding purposes. The lessee may pay a fee to the owner for this privilege. The fee is set by the lessor and may consist of one-half of a litter or litters as payment. This agreement will contain clauses that stipulate the terms.
Read the conditions carefully


Also as a buyer, over time, the adult may mature to a standard that the seller assesses as not to be adequate and you as the buyer, may well be offered the signing over the adult into your name only.

General points about contracts regarding bitches

These days, sadly, you can not trust people at their word and at least if the other party is made aware of your feelings on the matter, you can BOTH come to an understanding. If either party decides to not enter into the agreement, see that as blessing and something that will save you a puppy's lifetime of unhappiness and dread.

Whilst the dog is in joint names and the seller has a vested interest in the dog, then it is only fair that the seller also assist financially in the raising of the pup to an adult.

Personally, I feel that when I pay for a puppy I am buying the puppy, not the breeder. If a breeder has done the right thing by me and the puppy matures into an animal befitting the Breed Standard and has passed all health tests then, as a thank you, I have offered back a pup, but I am YET to have dealt with breeder conditions and contracts and benefited from it. I ask you, how much must a puppy cost? Most puppies sell for between $650 and $850 (sometimes less, sometimes more). To raise a GSD puppy to 12 months can cost upwards of a further $500- $1000, if your puppy doesn't suffer an accident or illness. If you are offered such a 'deal', think long and hard.
Good friendships can be lost over deals of this sort.


If you do go for a breeding contract, GET IT ALL IN WRITING, put your cards on the table, tell them what you EXPECT and what you DO NOT AGREE TO and ensure that it is all in writing, signed and witnessed.

It is, more often than not, the breeder of the original puppy who will gain most from this handy little exercise, whilst the puppy buyer is generally left to pay for all expenses leading up to the litter. The bitch may be taken out of ownership and possession of the buyer for the period leading up to whelping and then weaning of the litter. Are YOU PREPARED TO LET YOUR DOG GO FOR THIS PERIOD OF TIME?


A good breeding contract will have both the seller and buyers best interest at heart, after all, a ethical breeder, only breeds to benefit the future of their chosen breed. A buyer can give the breeder the opportunity of having an interest in a puppy of the breeding and to be able to call back the adult, to be used in their breeding program in the future and at the same give the buyer is able to own a dog/bitch of breed merit, which may otherwise be denied.

As a buyer, it is important to recognise this fact and be prepared to pay something for the puppy, at a discounted price that both parties recognise as adequate compensation for the risks and inconvenience involved.

Stud Contracts:
The stud fee is set by the stud dog's owner. The method of payment may differ. The stud owner may request a cash fee, pick of the litter, one or more puppies from the resulting litter, etc. The collection of the stud fee is the stud owner's responsibility.

Agreements between individuals concerning stud fees, and what applies if the bitch has no pups or only one or two, should be in writing and clearly state all obligations and circumstances. The contract should be signed by all parties and each signatory should receive a copy.








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