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Will a Breeder Take a Puppy Back? Here's What to Consider

Will a breeder take a puppy back? Yes, we certainly hope so!

It’s not completely unfounded for folks to experience new puppy owner regret. We put together a list of 50 things folks should consider before buying a dog so this sort of thing doesn't happen.

But being willing to take a puppy back is one clear marker of being a good, professional dog breeder. It shows that the breeder has a concern for his/her pups beyond just the 8 weeks that they are raising a litter.

Ultimately this is the distinction between reputable breeders and puppy mills or irresponsible breeders: reputable breeders are always thinking for the future when it comes to bettering their breed and the overall wellbeing of their puppies.

Irresponsible breeders are often simply concerned with making money short term and have no long term vision when it comes to their health and temperament goals.

Interested in adding a new puppy to your family?

Accepting a Puppy Back is Part of the Role of a Breeder

Typically, a reputable breeder is tied to their puppies for life — contractually they typically require any puppy that needs to be rehomed to be returned to the breeder no matter the age of the pup! This ensures that the puppy or dog will always have a safe place and the breeder will do their best to ensure they do not end up in a shelter or otherwise poor housing situation.

In fact, if you are researching breeders and find one that does not have any stipulations on what happens to their puppies post-8 weeks, then this could be a red flag.

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Responsible breeders are very careful to avoid contributing to the overpopulation of shelter, poor breeding practices, etc. by carefully vetting buyers and requiring them to sign a detailed contract that typically includes a return police and a spay/neuter clause. A breeder who is not concerned by these issues is likely one that should be avoided.

When it comes to refunds or reimbursements, each breeder structures their contract a bit differently. Make sure you read your new puppy contract thoroughly before signing. First, the timing and reason for rehoming is an important factor.

Is there a significant problem with your new puppy or are you rehoming your now adult dog due to personal circumstances? If your new puppy has a significant health issue or other condition that makes him an unsuitable family pet, then your breeder should be willing to refund you in full for your puppy.

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In this scenario, some breeders may offer to cover vet bills and/or replace the puppy with another healthy puppy. With reputable breeders these circumstances are rare as a puppy from health tested parents who has already been checked over by a licensed veterinarian is highly unlikely to have any major health issues that would be cause for a return/refund.

Still, there are some unusual situations that can pop up so it’s important for you as the buyer to know your breeder’s policy regarding such a situation. Reputable breeders who genuinely care for their pups should be willing to take an unhealthy puppy back and give it the necessary vet care needed.

If you have had your puppy for a while and are facing personal circumstances that make it necessary to rehome your dog, it is still imperative to reach out to your breeder. Not every breeder’s contract is the same, but the most common way for breeders to structure the return or rehoming of a puppy is to refund the buyer based on what the breeder is able to resell the dog for minus any costs incurred such as transportation or boarding.

The age of your puppy or dog will be a huge factor when it comes to resale value. Adult dogs generally sell for less than the cost of the same breed of puppy. The reason is that most families prefer to start with a puppy as they tend to be blank slates in many ways so most families prefer to train them appropriately from the beginning rather than undo potential bad habits of an adult dog. And did we mention puppies are exceptionally cute?

While your adult doodle is likely to sell for less than his original cost, there are definitely still families out there willing and eager to take on an adult dog. A reputable breeder will invest just as much time in vetting a new home for a returned dog as they would when carefully selecting a family for an 8 week old puppy.

Training is another factor to consider. If your dog has basic house manners and a sound temperament, he/she will be easier to resale and the breeder will not have to factor training costs into the rehoming equation. If your dog does have some significant behavioral issues, your breeder should still be willing to take him/her back and utilize trainers and other resources in the area to get your doodle back on track.

A responsible breeder is never willing to “throw away” a dog that they once so kindly and carefully raised for two months so do not be afraid to reach out to your breeder even if it is a less than ideal situation.

In any scenario, a breeder’s goal should be finding their past puppy a good, safe home at a fair market value, doing their past to compensate you, the original owner, accordingly.

Hopefully we have convinced our readers that contacting your breeder is definitely the place to start should you need to rehome your pup. However, we also want to caution our readers to not jump to this conclusion too soon, particularly if you have a young pup. We do our best to educate and prepare our puppy parents, but it is still not uncommon to receive frantic emails or calls from our puppy parents during the first few weeks of owning their new doodle.

It is important to sort out if you are feeling overwhelmed because of common issues related to puppyhood. If you are feeling at the end of your rope with your pup, it is important to consider what factors are contributing to your frustration and give careful analysis to whether or not they will be remedied with training and/or the natural development of your dog from a puppy to an adult.

In many cases, our puppy parents who were among those to reach out with frantic pleas for help with potty training, frustration with nipping, etc. are often those who turn out to be the biggest doodle enthusiasts.

Before You Ask a Breeder to Take Your Puppy Back

So take a deep breath and consider reaching out to your breeder, trainer, or even a friend for some advice. So many frustrations that owners have will be naturally remedied within the first year. Potty training, whining in the crate, and playful (but painful!) nipping are all very common concerns for new puppy owners. But your puppy will easily be able to work through these issues with more time, training, and maturity!

Of course there are other situations that do require rehoming a puppy or dog. Sometimes job changes or other personal circumstances do necessitate rehoming your dog for his/her best interest. In this case, please review your contract with your breeder and follow accordingly. Your reputable breeder will be eager and diligent to help find their past puppy a new home.

Jenna and the JLDD Team

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2 commentaires

Thank you for this. Our golden retriever pup is 10 weeks today. When we picked her up from the breeder we noticed her eyes were runny and the fur around the eyes, tear stained. I knew at that moment we should have taken a step back and reevaluated the situation but we brought her home. The eyes have not improved and I spend most of my day wiping with cotton balls soaked in distilled water. She also is now itching 90% of her waking hours. So while she is an otherwise healthy happy well adjusted pup I can't see going forward with the unknown. Our Vet said she doesn't have a crystal ball as far as the eyes and itching…

Jenna Stone
Jenna Stone
24 juil. 2023
En réponse à


Thanks for sharing your experience! People do let their hearts get the best of them sometimes when they see "that picture" that sells them on a puppy, and don't sometimes ask the questions that they should be. I hate that your puppy is struggling so much when it's just come home! I would suggest trying some allergy medications. This one has worked for lots of our owners, but I don't know much about yours...and am not a vet! Just might be worth a shot! :)

I hope your puppy feels better!

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