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Checklist of Questions when Looking for a Breeder:

1.  Where did you find out about this breeder?

Responsible breeders will breed only when they have a waiting list of puppy buyers.  They usually don't advertise in newspapers or with a sign out in the front yard.

2.  Are the parents proven to be clear of any genetic problems that affect this breed?

3.  Have both parents (sire & dam) been certified free of hip dysplasia or any form of DJD from either OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) or PennHip (with no signs of DJD)?

Ask for copies of the certificates for both parents.  "My vet okayed the x-ray" is NOT a valid clearance.  A regular vet is NOT a trained radiologist.  OFA & PennHip use several board-certified radiologists to examine all x-rays.

4.   Have any of the grandparents, siblings of the parent or any pups from previous breedings out of these parents been tested for hips, elbows, thyroid, etc?

If yes, ask the breeder to provide copies of all the test results.  Do NOT take their word for it!

5.  If the breeder does not test, ask why. 

Do NOT accept the answer that they have never had a problem with their breeding stock or puppies produced - how can they know they don't have a problem if they don't test?

6.  What other health testing, if any, does the breeder have done on their stock?

Do not believe that there are no problems in the breed other than hip dysplasia.  If a breeder tries to tell you this - RUN - don't walk - from this breeder. 

7.  Have the sire & dam ever had demodectic mange or produced demodectic mange?

If so, do NOT buy a puppy from that litter or that breeder.  A reputable breeder will NEVER breed a dog knowing it has had or has produced any form of demodectic mange (localized or generalized).  Again, RUN from anyone that tells you any different.

8.  Is the dam at least 18 months of age?  How many times has she been bred?  How far apart were the breedings? 

A Corso bitch should NOT be bred before 18 months of age or after her 7th birthday.  A reputable breeder will not breed a female more than once a year, except under extraordinary circumstances.  Breeding a bitch more than once a year is TOO OFTEN and indicates that profit is the primary reason for the breeding.

9.  Why did they choose the stud dog they used?  What traits were they looking for?  What improvements are they after?  Are the breeders planning on keeping a puppy from this litter?  If not, why not?

If the answer for choosing the stud is "because he lived close" or "because he is really sweet" then sufficient thought was not put into the breeding.  A reputable breeder will have a good reason for every breeding, like to improve their line or continue traits they already have in their stock.  A reputable breeder will NEVER breed just to have pups to sell.

10.  What strong point & what faults do the sire & dam have? How has the breeding served to correct the faults? 

Every dog has some faults - there is no such thing as the "perfect Corso". 

11.  Have the parents been shown?  If not, how do they know if the dogs fit the breed standard and that they should be bred?

The term "champion lines" means nothing if these titles are 2 or 3 generations away or only a few dogs in the pedigree.

12.  Is the puppy's sire & dam available to you to see and interact with?  If one or more of the parents is not available to see, can you call his/her owners to ask about temperament and health problems?  Can you visit them at their location?

13.  What steps has the breeder taken to socialize their pups?  Are they used to children?  Other dogs?  Other animals?

Early Socialization is extremely important for a Cane Corso.  Lack of adequate socialization early on in the puppy's life can cause serious behavioral problems in the future.  Excuses like "they are too young to handle" or  "I am afraid of parvo" are warning signs of a breeder who has little no interest in the well being of their pups.

14.   Does the breeder evaluate each puppy's temperament and guide you to the puppy that fits your lifestyle?

A very shy puppy will not do well in a noisy household with small children; equally a dominant puppy should not be placed in a home with an inexperienced owner.  A caring breeder will know each puppy's personality and try to match the puppy with the appropriate home to ensure the right home for his or her pups!

15.  Will the breeder take back the pup/dog if for some reason you can no longer keep it?

A reputable breeder will ALWAYS offer to take back what they produce, no questions asked for the lifetime of the dog.  They would never want their dogs ending up in rescue or worse, a shelter and will put a clause in their sales contract requiring they be notified and given the option of getting the dog back if the owner can no longer care for it.

16.  What are the terms of their contract?  What guarantees, if any, do they offer?

17.  Will the puppy be sold on limited registration? 

Puppies or dogs sold as "pets" should be sold on limited registration with a mandatory spay/neuter contract.  A breeder who truly cares about the breed will INSIST on these restriction and include in their contract.

After asking them all these questions, ask yourself, do you feel comfortable buying from this person?  Remember you are entering into a LONG relationship with this breeder and may need to call upon them in the future for guidance with your puppy/dog.

If you feel uncomfortable, intimidated, pressured, or unsure in any way - KEEP LOOKING.   Don't limit yourself to location, it may be well worth your effort in the long run to travel to purchase your pup!

Copyright 2001 Cane Corso Coalition.  All rights reserved.
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