Although at first glance this may not be the most exciting post to read, it is an important one! What we are hoping to achieve with this discussion is a basic framework of what you should expect to find in your future contract when purchasing a well-bred dog from an ethical breeder. What this post is not, is a review of our contract, but the pillars you'll find in it. We will gladly provide those on our waiting list with a copy of the contract they will be asked to sign, but as that is our intellectual property we will not to be posting it online.
Keep in mind by the time it comes down to reviewing a Breeder's contract and signing, many things have already happened and you are in the homestretch. You have already been screened and approved to be one of their puppy's forever home (likely dozens of others have been turned down for that coveted spot). That means there is a measure of trust existing on both sides. A rapport has been built on mutual respect and trust. Keep in mind, your Breeder is exercising a lot of faith in you, that you are exactly the person you are representing. Once that trust is broken, it is not easily repaired! Think twice about simply doing or saying anything you think a Breeder may want to hear, because when it comes down to it, they will demand you honour your obligations.
So when it comes time to reviewing a contract both parties should approach the reading and signing in good faith. Any outstanding questions the Buyer has should be addressed about the language or needed clarity prior to the signing. In its simplest form, a contract represents a documented understanding of the nature of the purchase and requirements to keep said purchase in the new owner's care. It is not a litany of rules and reprisals although failure to follow through on key sections will have damages written into it. (Pediatric spay, neuter or unauthorized breeding may either break the contract or be accompanied by damages to be awarded in the >$1000's). Remember again the Breeder is trusting you with a piece of their legacy, a part of their family and is expecting you to be honest in representing your intentions and following through on those commitments for the life of the dog.
What you should expect to find in any contract is the sale price of the dog, requirements on general health and care (veterinary care), nutrition and under what conditions the Breeder would repossess the dog. You should also expect a written health guarantee that the dog is free of any genetic or hereditary conditions in the first few years of life. In the event a dog is sold with such a condition unbeknownst to the Breeder and their vet, it should outline how the situation will be remedied and what documentation is required by the Buyer/Owner. There should be a clause stipulating the dog is being sold as a companion and therefore on an non-breeding contract. (We are happy to discuss show contracts separately with interested parties, but given the individual nature of such we are not going to post about it.) There should be a clause preventing the Buyer from re-homing or re-selling the dog, in the event they are no longer able to care for the dog, the Breeder absolutely must insist on the dog's return.
Depending on the Breeder and the Breed of dog being sold, there may be additional requirements to meet that dog's individual needs, but overall these are the key components of the contract. In its simplest form, it is there to protect not only the Breeder but acts as a promise to the Buyer as well.