Puppy Paperwork: Contracts, Certificates & Microchipping

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Are you brining home a new puppy soon?

In this article we will let you know what you can expect to find in your puppy pack.

Including standard puppy paperwork, puppy contract information, puppy microchipping and other certificates that your breed will provide.

Your Puppy Pack

When you take your new Labrador puppy home, your breeder will give you a puppy pack.

This will contain all the paperwork related to your puppy, and you might be surprised to find that there are some serious documents to be considered and acted upon.

It can all seem a bit confusing,  but it is really important that you check these documents carefully. Preferably when you first visit the litter, and not on the day you bring your new friend home.

Although it is tempting to leave checking the documents this until the day that you collect your puppy, giving them an initial look through will safe you time, help you to understand what you will be given and potentially save you from making a mistake when choosing a litter.

Puppy Health Certificates

The future of Labrador health is dependent upon responsible breeding practices.

Your breeder should have tested your puppy’s parents for diseases which are known to be an issue in this breed of dog.

It is normally the parents of the puppy that will have been tested,  rather than the puppy himself.

It is important that you ask about the results of these tests before visiting the puppy.

And very important that you see these certificates and check the information in them before agreeing to purchase the puppy.

The fact that your puppy’s parents are  registered pedigree dogs is not a guarantee of health standards

Health Certificates For Dogs

The absolute minimum health certificates you should be shown for Labrador parents are eye tests and hip scores.

Here are the following tests we highly recommend that you see health certificates for:

  • Clear eye test (dated less than 1 year ago)
  • PRA (clear or just one parent a carrier)
  • Hip Scores (lower than 12)
  • Elbow Scores (0)

The following dog health test certificates are also important:

  • CNM (clear or just one parent a carrier)
  • EIC
  • MCD

The additional health tests are particularly helpful if you are thinking of breeding from your dog in the future.

The Best Time To Look At Health Certificates

The best time to see these dog health certificates is on your very first visit to the breeder, or even ask for scanned copies of them to be emailed to you before you visit. This is then out of the way.

No reputable breeder will ever mind being asked for certificates,  most will have them ready for you when you visit.

Puppy Contract

Many breeders nowadays will give their puppy buyers a written contract when they collect the new puppy.

A good sales contract should be fairly brief and clearly laid out.  It  may include an undertaking by the breeder to take your puppy back at any time in the future should you be unable to care for it.

It will also set out the conditions under which the purchase price of your puppy could be refunded,  and recommendations for you to have your puppy checked out by your vet shortly after purchase.

Most importantly your contract must include information about any endorsements that have been placed on your puppy’s registration.  If this information is not provided for you the endorsements are likely to be invalid.

Puppy Pedigree Endorsements

When you buy a pedigree puppy it may come with ‘endorsements’ on its pedigree registration.   These are stipulations that the breeder has made regarding any attempts YOU may make to breed from your dog, or to register your dog with a foreign kennel club.

The purpose of these endorsements is to give the breeder some control over what happens to puppies that she has bred,  with regard to ensuring the health of the breed and the long term welfare of her puppies.

The only person who can place an endorsement on a registration is the owner of the puppy at the time the endorsement is placed.  And with certain exceptions, only the person placing the endorsement can lift it.

The breeder cannot prevent you from breeding from your puppy but if you disregard the endorsements on your puppy’s registration,  and breed from your puppy without fulfilling the conditions set down by the breeder you may be unable to register his or her progeny with the Kennel Club.

What does the endorsement mean?

The breeding endorsement sets out certain criteria which you must fulfil in order for the endorsement to be lifted.  These criteria are usually refer to health standards which you will need to prove your bitch has met.   Once you have met the conditions of the endorsement it will be lifted by the breeder.

Where disputes arise over endorsements,  the Kennel Club will adjudicate and may in certain circumstances cases lift the endorsement without the permission of the breeder.

This probably sounds more onerous than it is,  normally all you will have to do to get the endorsement lifted is have your bitch’s hips and eyes tested before breeding. Something you would want to do in any case.

AKC Litter Registration

Your breeder will register her litter of puppies with the AKC or Kennel Club in the UK, who will send the breeder a registration certificate for each puppy.

The puppies are all registered as belonging to the breeder and you will need to send off the certificate signed by her, in order to transfer the puppy into your own name.

This is an important document and is not the same as the ‘pedigree’  which simply illustrates your puppy’s ‘family tree’.

Kennel Clubs are the national registering bodies for pedigree dogs in most countries and registration. ‘Pet Lovers Clubs’ etc, are not recognised by other countries or organisations as evidence of pedigree.

When your breeder gives you your registration, it will come with a tear-off strip to return to the Kennel Club. This will transfer ownership from the breeder to you.

What To Do If The Breeder Doesn’t Give You A Registration Certificate

Some breeders are quite slow about registering their puppies and may not have the registration certificate ready for you when you collect your pup.  This is not ideal and you will  need to decide whether you are prepared to take the puppy ‘on trust’.   I recommend you do not do this unless you know the breeder very well.

Be very wary of taking a puppy home without a registration certificate.  If you do decide to take the puppy before his registration certificate is available for you,  you should ask for copies of the pedigree certificates of both parents .

You should also be very confident that the bitch has not had more litters than permitted by the Kennel Club and is not outside the age  limits that the KC sets on breeding bitches.

These limits may change over time and are published on the Kennel Club’s website.

If the breeder has failed to fulfil these KC requirements, or mated two dogs which are too closely related (brother to sister,  parent to child)  your puppy may be permanently denied registration, no matter how illustrious her parents are.

It happens,  so take care.

Puppy Microchip Information

In the UK it is now a legal requirement for the breeder to have all their puppies microchipped before they leave her.

An important part of your puppy pack will be a slip giving your pup’s individual microchip number, and a reference number that will allow you to go online and change the ownership to you.

When you take your pup to the vet for their first checkup, they will scan this microchip. Bring your paperwork with the reference number along, as it is easy for the breeder to mistake one pup for another and you want to be sure that the chip in your dog is the one attached to the paperwork in front of you.

Puppy Information Pack

Finally,  your breeder will provide you with an information pack when you collect your puppy.

This should contain comprehensive advice on caring for your puppy,  including information on feeding and training your Labrador.

Many pedigree puppies come automatically with six weeks free insurance.  This information should be in your pack.  If your breeder is a member of the KC accredited breeder scheme you should also have a feedback form to fill in and return to the KC.

Puppy Paperwork

Leave nothing to chance when it comes to your puppy’s paperwork.

Checking paperwork and asking ‘potentially difficult’  questions, often in someone else’s home,  can be very stressful. Be it could also save a lot of heartache further down the line.  It is a really good idea to get the whole paperwork issue sorted as early as possible so that nothing is left to chance.

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Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of several books on dogs. She is the founder of the Labrador Site and a regular contributor. She is passionate about helping people enjoy their Labradors and lives in Hampshire with her husband and four dogs.

1 COMMENT

  1. This article is “spot-on” I am an assured breeder and do all this, but hear many horror stories from potential puppy owners on their previous experiences. I am not a prolific breeder, only one litter per year as a rule and that allows me to care enough to do the very best for my puppies and that includes checking out that the prospective owners meet my standards too.

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