Breeding and raising a litter of pups is not only a labor of love, but also an investment of time and money. Whether you breed show-quality dogs or family companions, a contract is essential. A puppy purchase contract outlines the terms and conditions of the sale, and protects both the buyer and seller in case of a dispute. Contracts are highly customizable, but should contain a few key points to keep your interests safe.
Write the contract in terms that the average person can understand. Many contracts are packed with legal terms that few people understand, but extensive legal language isn’t necessary. The basic idea of a puppy purchase contract is to outline the terms under which the puppy is being sold. If the buyer can't understand the contract, he may choose to get a puppy from another breeder.
State your name and kennel name at the beginning of the contract, and leave a space for the buyer’s name. This first section should also include current contact information for your business, as well as a line or two for the buyer to write in his address and telephone number.
Include a section with detailed information on the puppy. The puppy’s breed, sire and dam, registration numbers, colors and any tattoos or distinctive markings should be included in the contract. If the puppy is microchipped, include the chip manufacturer and chip number in this section to aid in recovery in case the dog is ever lost or stolen.
Write out the purchase date and the complete purchase price of the puppy. Break down the purchase price, listing any deposits or installment payments. Detail whether the payments were made in cash, by check or by credit card. If there were any receipt or credit card confirmation numbers, include these with each individual payment listed in the contract.
Detail any specific health coverage or warranties on the puppy. Many breeders produce litters from parents known to be clear of genetic diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, and these specific certifications should be listed in the contract. For example, if you’re selling a German shepherd puppy from a sire with an excellent Orthopedic Foundation for Animals hip rating and a dam with a good hip rating, you might guarantee that the puppy will be certified free of hip dysplasia by the OFA at 2 years of age or you’ll offer a refund or a replacement puppy.
List any health checkups, vaccinations and wormings the puppy has had up to the date of the sale, and include certification from your vet showing the results of these exams.
Outline the details of delivery for the puppy. Many breeders will only sell puppies to people who are willing to pick the puppy up in person, and they include the time and date of pick up on the contract. If the puppy is being shipped, provide complete shipping details, including carrier, date and time of arrival, and crate number, so the puppy is picked up without issue.
Add a section that covers what will happen to the dog if the new owner is not able to keep her at some point in the future. Many breeders request first choice for taking the dog in the event of a rehoming, because they want to personally place the dog in a new, stable family. Other breeders give the owner full choice over the dog’s future. Your requirements should be put in writing to avoid possible future problems.
Detail any show agreements or obligations in the contract. Show-quality dogs are often sold only on the condition that the new owners are willing to show the dog to the fullest potential. If you’re offering any incentives or cash back for accomplishments such as championships or titles, note each incentive individually to avoid confusion or dispute.
Close the contract with spaces for both the buyer's and seller’s signatures and dates. Have the contract notarized after it is signed, and give the buyer a copy for his own personal records.
It is advisable to sell puppies only after the buyer has completed a puppy purchase contract. Some people may be uncomfortable with signing a contract, but the contract is a benefit to both parties in the event of a future issue.
Contracts vary by breeder, and you can add or remove provisions to suit your individual needs.
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