Q/A On buying a Puppy

What do you need to know when buying a puppy


This page is for anyone who is looking at buying a Bull Terrier puppy.  We will also include information here if you are interested in becoming a registered breeder yourself on another link.  This is to help you out so you can make informed decisions.  Over the years the club has seen people become registered breeders and not avail themselves to becoming better educated on the Rules and Regulations of Dogs SA (formerlly SACA or Canine Association).  They in turn have been providing the wrong information to their puppy buyers who in turn have informed us of what has been said.  We feel its time we put things in writing here to ensure that when you buy a puppy you are aware of the rules that breeders must abide by.  This is a living document and we will keep adding to it.

Questions and Answers

1.   I took my last puppy home at 6 weeks of age.  Why is the breeder stating I must wait till 8 weeks of age? 
The Rules and Regulations for ANKC Registered breeders are very clear and must be strictly adhered to.  Puppies must be 8 weeks of age before leaving the breeder.  They cannot be 6 or 7 weeks of age when you take them home. This is for the health and welfare of the puppy, to ensure socialization and vaccination protocols are adhered to.
If you are allowed to take that puppy home at 6 weeks of age the breeder your dealing with is either not really a registered breeder or is breaching the rules of their Canine Control.
2a.   The breeder offered me $50 off the price if I vaccinated the puppy myself.
All puppies must leave the breeder with their first vaccination which is given to them between the ages 6-8 weeks.  If you have purchased your puppy from a registered breeder and they are offering you a discount on an older puppy ie one that is older than 8 weeks and has already had its FIRST vaccination then that is acceptable.  What is not acceptable is sending a puppy under 8 weeks of age without its first vaccination to its new home. NO registered breeder is allowed to do that and they can be punished by their canine control for doing it.


2b.      The breeder offered me $50 off the price if I micro-chipped the puppy myself.


As of 1st January 2012 ALL puppies in a litter MUST be microchipped by the breeder not by the purchaser. In fact ALL LIVING Puppies must be registered (pedigree) and their microchip number provided before any puppy can be registered.

3.   My breeder claims they are a member of Dogs SA (or other applicable interstate) but they have offered me no proof whatsoever. How do I know they are legitimate breeders?
All members of Dogs SA or similar bodies in Australia are provided with a membership card.  You should be able to view that card in person when you meet the breeders to view the puppies.  If interstate ask them to provide you with their membership number and you can contact the Canine Control in their state to confirm they are registered.

4.     My breeder is not a member of the local Bull Terrier club so should I be concerned?
Not all breeders are members of the Bull Terrier club of SA (or their state) as membership is optional. We do recommend it especially if they are new breeders as there is so much to learn but the choice is theirs.  All breeder/members of the SA club can give their puppy buyers FREE honorary membership for a year. 


4.a       A breeder told me to keep away from the Bull Terrier Club due to the infighting.

This is quite unethical of any breeder to inform puppy buyers of this. The club is there for Bull Terriers and their owners. From time to time the committee has heard that breeders have said there is a lot of infighting amongst the Bull Terrier club. Nothing can be further from the truth. Breeders disagreeing amongst each other are personal issues and this must NEVER be confused for the Club. In any hobby or interest there will be various personalities that do not get along. We as a club expect people not to bring their issues to any club function. In fact the SA committee for the last 5 odd years has been going to dinner prior to holding a committee meeting.

5.  My breeder gave me an odd excuse as to why they do not show at all?  
A registered breeder must breed to IMPROVE their dogs, whether it is for conformation (showing), obedience, agility etc 

Most reputable breeders do exhibit their dogs at dog shows, whether they go to just all breed shows or just at specialist (Bull Terrier) shows once a year.  There is 52 weekends in a year and as a breeder you would think they can make the effort to go to at least one weekend a year.  If your breeder does not go to any shows are they really breeding to improve the breed? 




 Dogs SA Code of Ethics Part XV-A3 clearly states the following:

I shall breed only for the purpose of improving the quality of the breed in line with the breed standard and strive to eliminate hereditary diseases in the breed/s that I produce.


The place to compare your breeding stock is in the show ring against other Bull Terriers from around Australia and if you cannot make it to the all breed shows you should at least make it to the major specialty show in your own state. We have people travelling from interstate as far as Qld and WA to attend our annual Bull Terrier shows. Therefore anyone living locally should be seen to be making an effort to even attend a show themselves if just for one day in the year.

6.  The breeder wouldn’t give me their address and made me meet them on the side of the road is that normal?
Yes it is acceptable to not give out a breeder’s private address to any stranger over the phone.  Please accept those breeders’ wishes. This is their home they are inviting you to.  Some will meet you on the side of a road or somewhere nearby to first meet you before taking you back to their home and that’s quite acceptable.  From there they should take you back to their home to view the puppies.  If they sell their puppies just from the side of the road then that is not what we feel is acceptable behavior of an ethical registered breeder.
7.  The breeder wont allow me to view their kennels or dogs.
The breeder should at least show you the parents and if the sire is absent a photo should suffice. It is up to the breeder if they wish to give you a guided tour of their kennels..  Remember this is a persons private home and no breeder is a zoo as such. 

A lot of breeders do restrict access to where they keep their dogs, not to hide things but to help stop the transmission of diseases like parvo which is very rampant these days due to the high incidence of unvaccinated dogs. So please respect that decision that the breeder has made. 
8  We want the puppy that the breeder is keeping, why can’t we have it.
The breeder will always have first choice in their litters.  Remember generally speaking these litters are not being raised solely for the pet market but for the next generation for that kennel.  They have more than likely spent several thousand just to achieve a litter. It is their right to take first pick or whatever pick they want to.
9  If the breeder has taken first pick does that mean the rest of the litter is a dud?
NO of course not. It simply means in that breeders opinion the puppy they have chosen will hopefully suit what they are striving for.  What you see as a young puppy is not necessarily going to be what you see as an adult with Bull Terriers/Bull Terrier (Miniatures).  You can take home the smallest pup in the litter who ends up being the biggest. Bull Terriers are a different breed in that they don’t always turn out how you think they will. Irrespective of how they look what’s most important is that you are happy with the personality and temperament of this puppy because they will be your family pet for the next ten years.
10.  Wow I found a rare black from two white parents.  It’s a throwback right?
NO and don’t even buy that puppy without DNA evidence.  White to white will only produce white puppies with or without head markings.  If you don’t get that think of it like this, if you mix white paint with white paint you can only get white paint. There has obviously been a visitor 
There is a test now if you are not sure if the puppy you bought is a pure bred and its called the BITSER test.
11.  Can breeders mate two sires to the same bitch? 
YES With the progression of DNA testing we now can do dual matings.  Both sires and the mother MUST be DNA profiled. From there all the puppies are DNA profiled to the sires and their pedigrees will reflect the correct sire.  DNA testing also can catch out people doing underhanded things. It is thought that DNA testing will become compulsory in the future.   At the moment DNA testing is not cheap but hopefully it will be priced reasonably in the future.


12. Our breeder wants to do breeders terms with our dog should we?

Any breeders terms is an arrangement that is between both parties - the pet owners and the breeder. Do not enter into any breeders terms if you are not prepared to fulfill the contract with the breeder. If the contract is not what you want to enter into then don’t feel forced to do it. But it will mean you will have to forgo that particular puppy and get another one without the terms. It is unfair to say to a breeder that you will abide by their terms and then turn around and desex or sell the dog without the breeders consent (applies to dogs on breeders terms only). Breeders terms are done to retain a larger population of a valuable bloodline in the Bull Terrier gene pool.


13. A breeder told us to avoid breeders who do breeders terms?


It is sad to see breeders out there saying things like this about other breeders. Its quite possible its being said for one reason to make sure you buy one of their puppies and not those other breeders. 

Breeders terms as described above is an arrangement that both parties agree to. Both parties MUST be happy about what the terms are.  A breeder should be upfront about any puppy that they are interested in doing breeders terms with.  If you don't wish to do breeders terms be upfront about that from the beginning.   An ethical breeder will discuss breeders terms with you PRIOR to a sale not after a sale.  Remember if offered breeders terms be on the same page or don't comit to it just to get a dog.


14. Main or Limited Register pedigrees – we were told by a breeder that they sell theirs on a main and not on a limited register unlike other kennels.

Dogs SA the controlling body that issues pedigrees and maintains the database of pedigree dogs gives breeders a choice of Main and Limited Register. Here is their explanation;

The Main Register entitles the new owner/s to the full rights as owners of a pedigree dog.

The Limited Register has the following restrictions :

Ineligible for exhibition at a Conformation Exhibition;

Ineligible to be used for breeding purposes;

Not entire or has been desexed;

Not registered in the main register;

Ineligible for export.

For the purpose of this regulation ‘Conformation Exhibition' means a Show that is either an All Breeds Show, Championship Show, Open Show, Parade, Sanction Show or Specialist Show.

Transfer between the Registers

A dog may be transferred between the Main Register and Limited Register subject to the following conditions:

Transfer from Limited Register to Main Register

A dog may be transferred from the Limited Register to the Main Register if:

1. Application for such transfer is lodged on the required form with the SACA Office ;

2. Both the breeder and the registered owner of the dog make written application for such transfer on the required form.

Transfer from Main Register to Limited Register

A dog may be transferred from the Main Register to the Limited Register on application in writing signed by the registered owner on one occasion only.

There are no time limitations for the transferring between registers.


So if you have no intentions of breeding or showing, then there is NO NEED for a main registered pedigree. The limited pedigree is perfect for anyone who simply wants a pet with papers. If you wish to show and breed you must discuss this with the breeder as not all puppies will be suitable for the all breed arena.

Some breeders will only co-own a puppy with you on the main register and this is something that you must discuss with the breeder and see what arrangements they actually have for you. Some prefer to co-own for the first year or two until you the owner have an understanding of the dog world. In fact breeders across the world happily co-own dogs with each other.


15. Why is the breeder charging a big price between no papers, limited and main papers.

At the time of the litter registration the breeder is given a choice on how to register the litter. We ourselves do not know why people give different prices either. Guess it is their choice and we have been asked is there really much of a price difference to register them. The answer is no there is not a big price difference between registering a puppy on a limited and the main register. The schedule of fees is available for all members of the public to view on DogsSA website.  Most breeders will charge the same fee between main or limited register. It is your choice whether you choose to pay the price difference of a limited or main registration.

But we wish to bring to everyones attention of a ruling that is  ALL LIVING PUPPIES must be registered. That means the breeder must register all the puppies at time of birth that are still alive by 6-8 weeks (they must now wait for their microchip).

The other ruling is that as of 1st January 2012 all puppies registered must be microchipped and their chip number presented at time of registering the litter.

We have had registered breeders who breed but don’t register many puppies. If these breeders are caught by Dogs SA they will be in breach of these new rules. IE if your bitch whelps 6 puppies and you sold 5 of those puppies and you get 1 and that person didn’t want a pedigree you MUST still register that puppy regardless.


16. My breeder did not microchip my puppy and has not given me the pedigree.

If you bought a puppy that was registered in 2011 then they are not obligated to do the microchip but any litter registered from 1st January 2012 onwards must be microchipped and if they have failed to do that they are in breach of the rules of Dogs SA and it is a reportable offence.

In relation to the pedigree, if you purchased that puppy with papers and you have not got a private arrangement (contract, agreement of sorts with the breeder for them to keep possession of the pedigree in their name) then they need to transfer that pedigree to you.


17. My breeder gave me the pedigree to transfer is that allowed?

In South Australia it is the responsibility of the breeder to transfer all pedigrees into the new owners’ name. Once done the pedigree will then be processed and posted to you directly from Dogs SA.

We are aware that different states have different rules in relation to this but we can only advise on the rule for South Australia.


18. I contacted a breeder on a Bull Terrier Clubs site but they were rude, why are they listed?

The club takes breeder listings from anyone who is a registered breeder and club member. If you have any issues with anyone who is on our club books please inform us so we may discuss the situation with them to try to rectify it.


19.  I bought my puppy from a pet home and things have gone wrong I'm demanding the breeder refund me.

Legally we are not sure what rights you have if you have purchased a puppy second hand from another party, more likely you need to take up the matter with the previous home.  On the other hand in all fairness please contact the breeder and inform them of any issues that the dog has and allow the breeder to advise and help you where possible.

20.  I want to move on my dog should I contact the breeder?

In all fairness to the breeder please contact them and inform them that you've had a change of circumstances and that the puppy or adult must be moved on.  The breeder may be in a position to take the dog back and help rehome.  There are too many Bull Terriers being purchased by people who a breeder would not sell to due to them not being the right home for their dog.

21.  I have problems with my dog should I just facebook it?

If you ever have any issues and need advice, always try contacting the breeder and discuss things with them.  Breeders are human and though they may do all testing that is possible, health issues can and still do occur and that is beyond anyones control.  Health problems exist in humans and we are not line bred therefore we must expect issues to occur in any litter of any breed of dog.  If you do have a problem let them know so they can help you and to have better knowledge of what is occuring in the breeding gene pool.  We are not saying you cannot discuss it on Facebook or other forums but in fairness to the breeder they should know what is going on with the dog if its a serious problem.

Contact Details
Bull Terrier Club of South Australia Inc
Adelaide, SA
Email : [email protected]

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