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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so as most of you know I have been researching breeders for a long time now. I think I have finally found the breeder I would like to try and get a puppy from but am lost at how to start talking to them. I would like to start with emailing but am unsure on how to word or start the email (or what should be in it). Any help would be greatly appreciated. I would also like to hear about how you started your conversations with your dogs breeder(s). :)
 

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I started with an email. I included a puppy application if they had one, if not I just included all of that information in the email.

It was pretty basic...

Hello,

My name is Katie and I am interested in learning about your dogs, your breeding, and in one day hopefully getting a puppy from you.

Then I tell them more about myself...

Then I tell them what I'm looking for in a dog and what drew me to the breed...

Then I tell them which dogs of theirs drew me in and why...

I ask about health testing and titling, I ask about future breeding plans, I do not ask about price.

In the end I thank them for their time, let them know that I understand how busy breeders can be, and tell them that I am excited about hearing back from them.

Voila!


With my doberman it took me multiple emails (though, I wasn't pushy about it) and multiple months before I heard back from his breeder. With Ruthie it to one email and one day. It all depends on what they're doing at the time, how busy they are, etc.
 

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In addition, ask about when you can visit the facilities, as well as when puppies will be available for adoption.

I believe that most of the good breeders will require that you fill out a form and place a deposit. The desirable breeders may have a waiting list. BTW, many breeders are proud to provide you with the names of previous owners, if privacy permits.... and most owners are proud to show you their dogs.
 

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I started out doing basically what Patchwork did.

I also found it helps to scope out any dog shows in your area especially if you're looking to buy from a local breeder. I find it's sometimes hard to get a good feel for what a person is like via email (sometimes they can be brief in text). I've spent the past year going to any local dog shows within driving distance so I could see everyone's dogs in person and meet/speak with several different breeders. It really helped me narrow down my decision and allowed me to start establishing a good relationship with the breeder so they know who I am when I'm finally ready to get a dog.
 

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I started out with an email to each of the breeders I contacted. My reason for contacting my breeders/mentors was slightly different but with the goal of attaining a puppy down the road.

I started each email off with my name, my age, a little bit about myself and my living situation, my current dog and a little bit about her. I then told them outright that at the time I was absolutely NOT interested in purchasing a puppy from them AT THIS TIME (the honest to god truth) but that I was interested in finding a breeder who would take the time to get to know me and I them, to get to know their dogs and their breeding practices and to just build a relationship with a breeder so that when I am ready for a puppy I already had someone I really trusted and who trusted me with one of their dogs. I also told them of my interest in conformation and wanting to continuously learn more about the breed (which unless that area interests you, you probably won't include).

I did not ask about their testing and what they did or the titles they put on their dogs - mainly because I already knew the testing was/is done and know the titles on their dogs but each breeder offered up their tests they do to me willingly without my asking. My breeder/mentor who has been the most influential to me actually tells me to seek out people who have bought puppies from her and to talk with them, not only about the breeder herself but about their dogs and what they do and why they chose her and how their dogs are doing now etc.

Also - this may not be the norm, but when each breeder replied back to me they were quite lengthy emails that always ended with them leaving me their number asking to speak over the phone with me to better get to know me (one breeder is extremely busy and finds it more personal and easier to speak over the phone at length than through emails - she also lives 8 hours from me lol so I can't exactly go visit her)
 

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I did pretty much what PatchworkRobot did. I sent an email explaining who I was, what qualities I admired in the breed, and what I could offer one of their puppies. I contacted two breeders, both recommended to me by other breeders, so that was my "opening."

I didn't ask about health testing: for one breeder that information was readily available and I asked the other in a second message. Additionally, I knew one was planning to breed her bitch within the next few weeks and asked about the procedure to reserve a puppy; the other had an older puppy and I simply asked if she was still available. I never asked about price - we looked at the contract moments before we wrote the check. Not sure that's recommended practice ;)

If you think it would help, I'd be happy to PM you copies of my messages.
 

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I started out by going to local shows and talking to the breeders there. Then I sent follow up emails to the breeders that I was interested in thanking them for taking their time talking to me. My SO and I went down to visit the breeder that we ended up getting our dogs from. We spent a few hours meeting the dogs and her family and getting to know each other.
 

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Okay so as most of you know I have been researching breeders for a long time now. I think I have finally found the breeder I would like to try and get a puppy from but am lost at how to start talking to them. I would like to start with emailing but am unsure on how to word or start the email (or what should be in it). Any help would be greatly appreciated. I would also like to hear about how you started your conversations with your dogs breeder(s). :)
If you are initiating a 'cold contact' with a breeder, an email would be the way to do it. I think every breeder these days has an email address.

One thing I would add to what you've already been told to include in the message would be a short description of how you came to know about the breeder. If they have a website that you used, I would mention that. But however you came to know about them, it would be nice and friendly to let them in on it.

Since you have already chosen a breeder, are you considering a specific upcoming litter that you want a puppy from, or are you going for 'next available'? You might mention that as well.

FYI, when we settled on a breeder, we attached a filled-out application (downloaded from their website) to the email. When the litter was announced, an application was already on file with the breeder. So we just had to put down our deposit if we wanted a pup from that litter. Just a suggestion.
 

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One word of advice: don't make it more complicated than it seems.

If you're looking for a pet quality dog then it's really not that complicated. Every breeder I contacted when looking for my border collie started the same way. A basic hello and inquiry about upcoming litters. I said nothing about myself. They each got back to me promptly. If they had questions regarding something, they would ask. Simple.

When I found the breeder I would eventually buy my pooch from, my email consisted of nothing more than their color and gender. Then it was back and forth from there. She sent me pictures of the parents when I asked for them and pictures of every single puppy. There were seven males and one female. The breeder lived six hours from me so I couldn't just drop by. Instead I selected my pup (she had given me first pick and let me wait a week to decide) and sent my deposit. Then waited a month where she met me and another family half way.

What am I getting at? It's that easy.
 

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Sell yourself. Don't just say 'do you have puppies for sale'.

Give the breeder an idea of who you are (experienced active home or never had a dog before and live on the couch), your family (live alone or with twenty kids). What kind of dog you are looking for (besides that breed - things like 'we're looking for a medium sized active dog that can keep up on hikes, grooming and shedding not a concern). When you're interested in a dog within reason (so not on June 23, but rather sometime this summer/fall) as well as any details you can think of. Don't make it too drawn out but ask for an application or how to proceed, ask if they'll be at any shows coming up that you can meet up with them and the dogs. They should have an information package with details for health clearances or offer them without you asking - if they don't ask them about it but see that as a possible bad sign. Yes, most pet people don't care, but part of being a responsible breeder is education and that means sending that sort of thing so even if the person doesn't get a pup and is a horrible home anyway, they at least know what OFA means thanks to the breeder's efforts! (off the soapbox now).

Be flexible and willing to do some work to gain their trust, and look at more than one breeder!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all so much for all of the help! I am hoping to sit down tomorrow after work and type up my letter. You all have helped me a great deal. :)

I am so nervous because of my age they will not take me seriously. :( I guess we will have to wait and see what happens. I am not looking to bring home a puppy anytime soon (in the next couple of months). I am honestly not looking to bring home a puppy until at the earliest December or next Spring. I am just trying to start contact with breeders I like so I can go to shows, meet the breeders in person, and look at there dogs. :)
 

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It's not so much age as actions for most. You're young, which is fine, before they bring it up bring up that if you end up expecting a child to arrive in some form, the dog isn't going to suffer. Show up to dog events the breeder is going to be at, that speaks volumes. Even if you have kids, can you get away for an afternoon without them or is it too much hassle, that sort of thing.... age usually isn't as much of a factor.
 

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I'm so glad to see this thread, because I'm considering contacting a breeder myself. This person asks you to email a request for an application, and then she'll send you one. She also says on the website that she always talks to people on the phone before taking a deposit, presumably after she's reviewed the application. My questions, stemming from other posts on this thread, are:

1. What specifically should you say about yourself in the first email? I want to keep it relatively brief, but still include all the important info.

2. What should you expect during a phone interview, and how can you prepare yourself? Are there any tips for making a good impression?

(I hope this will help Damon'sMom too, and isn't a hijacking. :) I considered making another thread, but it seems to fit perfectly in this one. Sorry if this is impolite!)
 

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Thank you all so much for all of the help! I am hoping to sit down tomorrow after work and type up my letter. You all have helped me a great deal. :)

I am so nervous because of my age they will not take me seriously. :( I guess we will have to wait and see what happens. I am not looking to bring home a puppy anytime soon (in the next couple of months). I am honestly not looking to bring home a puppy until at the earliest December or next Spring. I am just trying to start contact with breeders I like so I can go to shows, meet the breeders in person, and look at there dogs. :)
I don't think age would be an issue (assuming you're not 12 :) ) From your posts here, you seem to be a responsible, caring person who can provide a great home. That's what breeders are going to see.

I'm so glad to see this thread, because I'm considering contacting a breeder myself. This person asks you to email a request for an application, and then she'll send you one. She also says on the website that she always talks to people on the phone before taking a deposit, presumably after she's reviewed the application. My questions, stemming from other posts on this thread, are:

1. What specifically should you say about yourself in the first email? I want to keep it relatively brief, but still include all the important info.

2. What should you expect during a phone interview, and how can you prepare yourself? Are there any tips for making a good impression?

(I hope this will help Damon'sMom too, and isn't a hijacking. :) I considered making another thread, but it seems to fit perfectly in this one. Sorry if this is impolite!)
I can send you copies of the messages I sent breeders if you think it would help.

When I wrote them, I looked at applications from other breeders, typical questions on "dog breed selector" type sites, and they type of information requested here when people asked for breed suggestions. I took highlights from those places and formed it into an introductory letter. I included why I was interested in the breed, the amount of exercise and training I could provide, general idea of a schedule (for both puppy and adult dog), what I had been doing in preparation (mostly reading basic dog care and training books), and previous dog experience. I also indicated what type of temperament we wanted, and if I had planned to do any type of formal activity, I would have mentioned that. The message was relatively short (3 paragraphs).

I spoke with one breeder by phone but it was really just more of the same type of information. I made sure I had looked at her web site, found her dogs in OFA and poodle health database, and knew basic details about her so I wasn't asking questions that were easily answered on her web site. I suspect the phone interview is more about making sure she has the type of dog you want, e.g., if you want a therapy dog but she breeds for agility and hunting, she might not be able to meet your needs. I'll say that I hate talking on the phone, but my conversation with Katie's breeder was wonderful.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
(I hope this will help Damon'sMom too, and isn't a hijacking. :) I considered making another thread, but it seems to fit perfectly in this one. Sorry if this is impolite!)
Don't worry about it Begemot. :) I was wondering about what to expect during the phone interview as well.

I don't think age would be an issue (assuming you're not 12 :) ) From your posts here, you seem to be a responsible, caring person who can provide a great home. That's what breeders are going to see.
Haha I am not 12 thats for sure. Thank you thats nice of you to say. :)
 

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My phone conversations were all very casual. I found that it was almost like talking with an old friend you hadnt talked with in years.

They asked me what got me into the breed we spoke at length about my experiences with them. They asked what I was planning on doing, if anything, with my next puppy. I was asked how I had heard about their kennel and if I had been to their site and seen their dogs there or at shows. I was also asked what other breeders I had spoken with that were also helping me.

Some things I offered right away without being asked were; my living situation, things I planned on doing with my current dog, how much time is spent with her doing activities or training and exercise, and my future plans in terms of living situations (to show there is/will be stability).

My initial emails were no more than 2 to 3 relatively short paragraphs. Everything else was talked about over the phone. My phone conversations last/ed anywhere from half an hour to an hour or more.
 

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With Mia's breeder I simply emailed and said I was interested in a dog. Told them a bit about myself- I was a student, had another papillon, did agility, etc. Told them what I wanted in a dog and asked if they had anything or if they had a referral. I asked about one specific dog that ended up not being a good fit. She came back emailing me that she thought one of the puppies might fit what I wanted and described her to me. We went from there.

My next dog by the time I get it will be a 7 year long process. I'm currently in the phase of looking at breeders, meeting dogs, and getting reccommendations. Partially because it's a new breed and partially because the breed varies wildly and I don't like the temperament of all of them I meet. I'm planning on emailing the breeders I'm narrowing down at least a year in advance in hopes of finding the right one. I'm going to be very picky about what I want from this breeder and won't settle for less.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My next dog by the time I get it will be a 7 year long process. I'm currently in the phase of looking at breeders, meeting dogs, and getting reccommendations. Partially because it's a new breed and partially because the breed varies wildly and I don't like the temperament of all of them I meet. I'm planning on emailing the breeders I'm narrowing down at least a year in advance in hopes of finding the right one. I'm going to be very picky about what I want from this breeder and won't settle for less.
Do you mind if I ask what breed you are looking at?
 

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Do you mind if I ask what breed you are looking at?
Border collie. So yeah lots of various lines and types and temperaments out there.
 
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