The following article is published on the Bernese Mountain Dog Information page and contains excellent advice no matter the breed of dog involved. This is the link to their page and the article: A Lawyer Looks at Breeder Contracts.
A Lawyer Looks at Breeder Contracts
WHY HAVE A CONTRACT WHEN YOU BUY OR SELL A PUPPY?
The topic of Breeder Contracts is not something that can easily be covered in one article, and that doesn’t even get to the issues related to Stud Dog Contracts and other types of Breeding Agreements. Who knew just getting a dog could be so complicated?
FROM THE BREEDER’S PERSPECTIVE – A good contract helps explain what you expect from a puppy buyer, and provides some protection from people who might mistreat or misuse the puppy you place with them. If your contract is TOO restrictive or unreasonable, however, you invite the Buyer to go down the road to the Back Yard Breeder or Puppy Miller who will sell them that cute puppy with a smile, no questions asked.
FROM THE BUYER’S PERSPECTIVE – A good contract is an indication that the breeder has done her homework and cares about the dogs she breeds. The contract should help you understand what the breeder expects from you, and what you can expect from the breeder for the life of your dog. If you are not comfortable with what the Breeder wants you to sign, ask questions! Make sure you get any explanations or changes to the contract in writing as well. Don’t sign what you don’t understand or don’t agree with.
As a Breeder – If a Buyer doesn’t want to sign your contract or questions the need for one – this is someone who is likely not going to respect your wishes down the road. You need to find homes that are compatible with your goals and expectations as a Breeder.
As a Buyer – if the Breeder doesn’t have a contract or tries to tell you that contracts don’t mean anything, this suggests the Breeder isn’t promising you anything and likely hasn’t done all the research and health certifications that a good Breeder would want to tell you about. Don’t expect this Breed er to provide you any help or support down the road. Without a contract, the Breeder owes you nothing and she is not standing behind the puppy she bred. You can do better.
A CONTRACT = CLEAR, CONCISE, COMMUNICATION
CLEAR = Format your contract so it’s easy to read using tools like paragraph headings, numbering, or bullet points for emphasis. Put key points in separate paragraphs so they stand out. Important topics will get lost if they are buried in long-winded paragraphs and pages of dialog.
CONCISE = Unless you are writing a contract for a complicated breeding or showing arrangement, you really don’t need a novel–length contract. A document that is solely focused on the critical points of what both Breeder and Buyer promise will be much more effective than a long-winded history of the kennel or the breed with the important information lost somewhere in the middle.
COMMUNICATION = Both parties need to understand what the contract means. If you are the Breeder, be open to questions and be ready to explain. If something isn’t clear then you can revise the Contract to make it easier to understand. If you are the Buyer, ask before you sign and make sure you know what the Breeder expects of you when you walk away with that puppy! Communication will hopefully continue for the life of the puppy…but it has to start before you sign on the dotted line.