1. ENVIROMENT: You should be allowed reasonable access to the adult dogs. Some insurances do not cover the liabilty of
going into the area where the dogs are housed, if that is the case ask to have some brought to you or to see them through a
fenced area. Healthy environments and healthy playful dogs is what you should see. Sickly, ragged, caged in filth & unhealthy animals is not what you should see. There should be room for running & playing, sleeping, eating & training all with good sanitation practices. Doggie Landmines as we call them happen, the more dogs the more landmines. Clean ups should be done on a regular basis and realistically can not be done exactly when it happens. Puppy areas should be cleaned regularly, and the puppies should look healthy, happy & clean. They should be playful when interacting with you and their littermates. Puppies do not receive their first bath until they are old enough, so sometimes they get a bit smelly when potty training (they like to play/sleep) in their litter boxes & especially after their first few feedings pups can look awfully messy, (think of a child first learning to use a fork) this is perfectly healthy. What is not healthy is crusty sealed eyes, infectious looking sores or drainage, pups that are not interested in their surroundings etc.
2. LOOKS: Happy, healthy, well-cared for puppies that are bright-eyed, energetic, and curious about strangers are what you should see. Mom's - depending on how old the puppies are, can look a bit rag tag, and will have coat loss due to normal hormonal changes. Remember puppies can be messy, and their moms can be thin from nursing, but other unhealthy adults on site is a warning sign, ask about the health if you see one not looking well & get an answer, surgery, prior birthing and old age can make a dog look less healthy but the majority should be healthy looking & they should be able to give you an answer & if medical they should be able to prove via vet records.
3. ACTIONS: Observe and ask about any unhealthy or injured pups. They will usually act differently than their littermates. A good breeder should have already noticed unless it just happened & will not sell a pup that is having problems.
4. PERSONALITY: A good breeder can tell you about each pups personality while others choose not to. Some breeders do not want to influence your choice & they do not want to be held liable if & when the pups personality changes. Most pups go thru various stages during their growth. These stages, their environment and many factors go into play, the pups personality changes and is influenced as it grows. The breeder should be able to guide you (within reason)with help picking out your pup.
5. LIMITED vs FULL REGISTRATIONS : The pup should come with an AKC registration, and puppies not intended for breeding, should be placed only on a Limited registration instead of a Full registration. Limited just means the pup is AKC registered but it is not to be bred and if accidentally bred the pups will NOT be registered pups. The registration application form must be completed and signed by the breeder per AKC rules and regulations at the time of placement if available. If not available, a bill of sale or other in writing paperwork should be given, until the registration application is received by the breeder from the AKC.
WHAT TO EXPECT when you get there.