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Articles > Dogs

What Is All This Paperwork For?

Topic: Choosing The Right Breeder

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Filed under Dogs
Tags: AKC, Breeding

Lola Is A Gorgeous Golden Gal

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Golden Retriever


Depending on the type of breeder or the place that you obtain your puppy or dog from, the paperwork will be slightly different. For most new owners that are purchasing a puppy or dog, there should at least be a bill of sale, a copy of the litter registration paperwork, as well as transfer of ownership paperwork. All vet records and vaccination information should also be provided.

Since each part of the paperwork is important for different reasons, it is critical to get all the paperwork when you pick up the puppy. In some situations you may be required to provide a deposit on a puppy, and this should also be included in any documentation and paperwork you obtain, both when the deposit is made as well as when you pick up the puppy for their trip to your home.

Sales Agreement


The sales agreement, also known as the bill of sale or the sales contract or purchase agreement, will be slightly different from breeder to breeder. Generally the bill of sale should include several different points including the specific date of the sale, the purchase price and the conditions of the sale. Some of the conditions that may be included in a bill of sale for a puppy include:

  • A spay or neuter clause, that requires the new owners to provide a vet record for spaying or neutering by a specific date. This is done to prevent the new owners from breeding the dog. Usually breeders will restrict breeding of dogs to owners that are not already breeders, but this is not always the case. Some established breeders will help new breeders by simply requiring input or consultation on any possible breeding.


  • Conditions of return. Typically this includes issues with regards to potential situations that may occur that prevent the owner from being able to keep the dog. Many breeders would rather have the dog come back to them, rather than to be given away or sent to a rescue or shelter.


  • Health guarantee. Reputable breeders will guarantee the absence of genetic or inherited health conditions, and may also guarantee other health issues as well. In the case of puppies that are going to be used in the show ring, many breeders will guarantee they will meet breed standards or they will either take the dog back or offer a monetary compensation.


  • Some breeders require that the owners maintain up-to-date contact information for the life of the dog. They may also require the new owner to contact the breeder should any health conditions occur with the puppy as it matures.


  • Other specific terms of the sale. These may vary, based on the specific breed or the requirements of the new owner or breeder.


  • Clear identification of the puppy either by physical description, registration numbers, microchip information or other identification.


  • Signature of the seller and the buyer.


  • Contact information for the seller and buyer.



  • Avoid non-specific bill of sale documents, that don't specifically identify the puppy clearly or are very vague as to the terms. If you have any questions regarding the contract, be sure to ask before you accept the bill of sale.

    Litter Registration


    All purebred puppies will first be registered as part of a litter. This litter registration will then be used for the transfer of ownership paperwork, that will allow the new owner to register the puppy as his or her own. Litter registration will be from the Kennel Club in your area, typically the American Kennel Club (AKC), Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) or the Kennel Club of the UK. Other countries such as Australia also have Kennel Clubs. Kennel Clubs maintain registries, which are different than breed associations or dog fancier groups. Some breeds will be recognized by a breed registry, but not recognized by the Kennel Club. In addition, there are also hybrid or mixed breeds that may be sold as registered, but are not actually able to be registered through the kennel club. Always ask specifically what kennel club the puppy or litter is registered in, to be clear.

    The registration papers should be filled out by the breeder, and should include the breeders name and contact information, the date of birth of the puppy, registration number for the puppy, registration numbers and names of the dam and sire (mother and father dogs), as well as the color, sex and general description of the puppy.

    Keep in mind that registration papers do not guarantee that the puppy can be shown; rather they guarantee that the puppy is purebred. Even purebred dogs can have faults or disqualifications, that may make them unsuitable for competitions.

    In some cases, the litter registration may have been delayed for some reason or another. Occasionally the paperwork will be incomplete, or there may be a clerical error that delays the registration. If the paperwork is not available, it is very important to note that on the bill of sale as well as a date for the registration to be completed. Many breeders will now register the litter online, which can save a lot of time with registration and prevent complications.

    Vaccination Records and Veterinarian Reports


    The puppy should also come with all records provided by the vet. This is particularly important if they are not finished with their series of puppy shots, or if you are taking the puppy to an area that may have different requirements for vaccinations or treatments for puppies or dogs. Always get the name and contact information for the vet that the breeder used, so that your vet can easily contact the previous vet should that be required.

    Paperwork provided by the vet should also include any DNA test that were completed, or hip and eye tests that may be required for the breed. If the parents have been tested for canine hip dysplasia or eye conditions, ask for a copy of the dam and sire's certification.

    Ensuring that all the paperwork is completed will make registration easier for you as the new owner. Should you wish to show your dog, you will be required to provide proof of registration. Accurate paperwork will also help keep your vet informed, and provide the best possible care for your dog.

    Other articles under "Choosing The Right Breeder"

    3/23/2008
    Article 1 - "How To Locate A Breeder"
    3/24/2008
    Article 2 - "Questions To Ask A Breeder"
    3/26/2008
    Article 4 - "What Is All This Paperwork For?"
    3/27/2008
    Article 5 - "Condition Of The Breeders Kennel"
    3/29/2008
    Article 7 - "Rescue Dogs"
    4/5/2012
    Article 8 - "Test Article - Please Disregard"


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