From National Shiba Club of America:
Things to ask a breeder:
How many litters do you have every year? A large number might be considered excessive. Because breeders have a limited amount of litters, some have waiting lists. If you wish a dog from that breeder, ask to be placed on that list.
Do you have a provision in your contract that requires an owner to notify you if the dog can’t be kept? Will you take the dog back?
Do you have many breeds of dogs? This could be a sign of a less than reputable breeder.
What health checks do you do on your breeding dogs? The following should be done:
1. Hips – a rating of fair, good or excellent from the OFA.
2. Eyes – a certificate from a veterinary ophthalmologist showing the dogs are clear of heritable eye defects in the past two years. This certification may be registered with CERF or the OFA.
3. Patellas – certified by a licensed veterinarian and registered with the OFA.
Reputable breeders perform these tests prior to breeding so as to ensure that the puppies produced are healthy.
Do you belong to National Shiba Club of America and, if not, why? Members agree to a Code of Ethics.
How are your puppies raised and socialized? Important that they are raised in an environment where people are present and have human contact at an early age.
Do you encourage prospective buyers to come visit and meet your dogs? If dogs are being shipped, at what age do you ship? Do you guarantee that the dogs will arrive in good condition? Do you provide references?
Does the breeder encourage you to have their puppies attend socialization classes and obedience training?
Does the breeder ask questions as to why you want a Shiba? They want to ensure that the future puppy/dog will meet your expectations will fit into your lifestyle.
Does the breeder assure himself that you understand that this breed can have some limitations such has needing a secure fenced area when off lead and always on lead when outside that area?
Does the breeder discuss with you possibility that Shiba's may not be friendly with other dogs?
Is the breeder up-front about the financial aspects? Does the purchase include shipping and crate costs if applicable?
Does the breeder provide:
a written health guarantee without restrictions, such as having to buy items from the breeder like vitamins and food? The guarantee should not be voided if a specific food or supplement is not fed.
a written contract should spell out specifics such as ownership and registration, as well as the responsibilities and expectations of the breeder and owner? Be sure to read the contract!
education regarding the breed such as history, individual characteristics of the puppy you are getting?
photos of puppies while they are growing and information regarding pet insurance, microchipping etc.? Is information on activities Shibas can participate in such as obedience, rally and agility discussed?
a vaccination record, worming record and health certificate from a licensed veterinarian?
a food and a feeding schedule to transition the puppy into its new home?
willing and ongoing communication before and after the sale?
Follow your instincts when choosing a breeder. Buying a dog is a 15 year commitment not to be taken in haste. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.