Breeders expect to be interviewed. Below are some question suggestions, write down some questions of your own and start doing your interviews before you ask to visit Small (Kleine) Munsterlanders.
Small Munsterlander breeders who are in good standing of the SMCA abide by the Code of Ethics and Bylaws of the Club. Their breeding program follows the rules and guidelines of the SMCA as set forth by the Breed Council and Registry Manual. A cooperating breeder agrees to themselves or any owner of one of their litter to reveal any health issues to the club for its Genetic Health Project.
A dog that is breeding in the SMCA must meet the requirements set forth in the Code of Ethics for breeding. Areas where the dogs have been evaluated are temperament, conformation, NA hunt test score, and genetic health. Or if they are imported they have completed the German testing (HZP, VGP) and conformation evaluation.
Most breeders have an information package to mail to prospective buyers which includes pictures of both dogs, a copy of each dogs three generation pedigree, copy of both dogs NAVHDA test scores, and a copy of the dog's OFA or Penn hip report.
If the breeder is a member of the SMCA, the puppies of their Small Munsterlander litter will be registered with the AKC. Many breeders will register the puppies of their Small Munsterlander litter with both the AKC and NAVHDA. If you plan on testing in NAVHDA, you will need to have a dog that is registered with these clubs.
Find out what the interests and intent of the breeder are. Seek a breeder who is doing the kinds of things that you want to do. Not only will they best be able to evaluate the litter and send you the most suitable puppy, but also they will be an invaluable source of support and advice for preparing your pup for hunting. The breeder should select for the "total dog" with consideration paid to genetics, temperament, structure, type and natural abilities.
Experienced and responsible breeders do not breed dogs younger than two years of age. There simply is not enough known about a young dog to merit using it in a breeding program. In the first place, the dog is not mature, either physically or mentally. He cannot be accurately evaluated in the field, hips cannot be certified with OFA until two or older, although the PennHIP test can be used at one year or less. Bitches are usually not bred after nine years of age, and studs can be used as long as their sperm is of good quality.
A knowledgeable breeder will be able to offer detailed information on problems in the breed, as well as the breed's good points.
There are no perfect dogs, every bloodline has it's own strengths and weaknesses. What one breeder may consider strength, another breeder may consider a weakness. This is why it is so important to interview more than just a few breeders are. You can find out how these traits will affect you.
The breeder should know the pedigrees, and be familiar with details of the parents, grand parents and great grand parents. In particular you should ask for details on the traits of the Sire (Father) and the Dam (Mother) of the expected litter, As well, inquire about any dog that appears more than once in the 3 generation pedigree for the litter. Your discussion should include the following qualities:
A breeder who has only bred one or two litters may not be fully aware of the genetics strengths and pitfalls of their bloodlines. You should expect that a breeder who has bred a number of litters over a number of years will be familiar with any of the genetic problems present in their bloodline. Expect the breeder to be open and honest about genetics and have an OFA hip certification number or PennHIP evaluation. The breeder should be willing to provide you with copies of the certification.
A knowledgeable and ethical breeder will advise you as to whether a Small Munsterlander from their bloodlines and breeding program will or will not suit your needs and your lifestyle. Why did you choose to breed this particular female with this particular male? The breeder may give you information on the qualities that they hope to bring forward in this litter.
Basically, you want to establish the experience and knowledge of the breeder, If the breeder has owned Small Munsterlanders for years and bred a number of litters, chances are that they will have a better understanding of the breed and better ability to evaluate Small Munsterlanders and puppies. If you are dealing with a breeder who has less experience, it is all the more important to research the breed and breed problems, as a new breeder may not know how to address all of your questions and concerns.
It is an advantage for a breeder to have owned/trained more than a few members of the breed as they will have had more experience with a variety of Small Munsterlanders, probably of different bloodlines.
Find out about the kind of dog that the breeder keeps. What qualities do they look for with each of these dogs? Does this correspond with the kind of Small Munsterlanders that you are looking for? How does the breeder care for their dogs? Are they housedogs, do they live in a crate while the owner is at work, or are they out in a kennel. Whether the breeder has two or twenty Small Munsterlanders, does the breeder spend appropriate time with each dog and keep them in a healthy and stimulating environment?
Is this a first time breeding for either the sire or dam and have this sire and dam been bred together before? If the sire and dam have been bred before (either together or to another sire), ask how the puppies from prior litters turned out. What were their NAVHDA natural ability scores and did any puppies from the prior litters have any health problems?
If you are close enough to visit the kennel, look for Small Munsterlanders that are the picture of health; clear eyes, wet noses, good coats, happy and well cared for. Look for dogs that are active and energetic. Be sure that the Small Munsterlanders have good, friendly temperaments and respond joyfully to visitors. If you are looking for a dog for a specific purpose, (i.e. upland or waterfowl hunting), ask to see the dogs work in a bird field or pond.
This question will speak to the experience of the breeder in raising and properly socializing your puppy. Ask for details about the methods that will be used to raise your puppy. Find out where the puppies are raised. Learn how much time is spent with the puppies, and if they are socialized individually on a daily basis. If the breeder has not raised a litter before, ask from whom they are learning how to properly raise and socialize puppies. Ask what the breeder does with puppies that he cannot sell when they are young. Find out at what age the puppies are placed in their new homes. Experts suggest this is done at or after 8 weeks of age.
Some experienced and successful breeders enjoy keeping and breeding more than one breed. However, be wary of someone who is actively breeding a number of different breeds.
Puppies should go to their new homes with up to date de-worming, shots and a veterinarian's health examination. Some breeders will vaccinate puppies themselves. Even if the breeder gives vaccinations, you should ask that a Certified Veterinarian do a complete health examination before your receive your puppy and that the Veterinarian supply an International Health certificate.
Find out if there is a guarantee for replacement or refund (entire amount or 1/2) and whether you have to return your dog in order to enact the guarantee. Get the guarantee in writing, and make sure it is signed and treated as a legal document with witnesses and dates. Make sure you have the right wording for what you are buying. A dog with a significant health issue that won't allow it to hunt doesn't do a hunter much good. How will the breeder handle this problem? If you are dealing with an established breeder who will be involved in the breed for a long time into the future, you can probably be more confident that there will be some resolution should your guarantee need to be enacted. If you are you dealing with someone who only plans to breed one or two litters, make certain to find out what happens to your guarantee if the breeder ceases to breed.
Ask the hard questions. Ask about support and advice, does the breeder have the experience in your area of interest to help you to condition and train. If this is your first Small Munsterlander, you may want a breeder who is willing to offer advice and help on a frequent basis.
Some breeders will supply the following:
Many breeders will have a clause written into their sale contract that states that they will have right of first refusal if you are to sell the dog, or a clause that states they will help you find a good home for your SM. If there is a problem with your Small Munsterlander, will the breeder purchase it back?
Select a breeder who asks many questions about you, your family, and your schedule, why you want a Small Munsterlander and the type of puppy personality you feel would be most suited to your home and hunting needs.
A breeder should be able to explain to a buyer how they came to a purchase price in addition to the support they will offer the buyer.