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Contracts and Warranties: Why Are They Important  by Shelly Hollen
Pet sale contracts are the written agreement between a breeder and purchaser that creates an understanding between all parties regarding the life long well being of the dog. It ensures that both parties have some legal recourse if the other individuals do not fulfill their end of the bargain.

A good contract will describe the responsibilities of each party, anticipate any significant changes that might occur in the future that could affect the status of the dog, and describes what will happen in the event that one or more parties violate the terms. The document needs to be comprehensive, while at the same time, relatively simple so that each party clearly understands their rights and responsibilities. Some items to look for in a well written contract include:


A Bill of Sale documents the transaction between buyer and seller. It should contain the name of the seller and the buyer and their contact information, a description of the dog, including litter or individual registration number, name of sire and his registration number, and the name of dam and her registration number. Other stipulations may be included, such as health records, terms of ownership and the price paid for the dog. 


This section should describe the purpose for which the dog is being purchased, for example a companion, show prospect, performance prospect or working dog. Any restrictions to the registration status such as limited registration or open registration should be noted and agreed upon by both the buyer and seller. If the dog is to be co-owned between the breeder and purchaser, the terms of such an arrangement should be described in detail. This section should also describe how the breeder and purchaser agree the dog will be maintained, the sort of vet care and housing it will receive and what will happen if the owner can no longer keep the dog.


An arrangement between parties stating that a dog is owned by more than one individual. Any litter whelped by a dog that is co-owned is considered to be the property of both the owner and co-owner, unless there is a written agreement that stipulates otherwise. A litter cannot be registered with out the signatures of both individuals on the litter registration application form.

 A co-ownership means that each person retains the right to have a say in all matters concerning the dogs. Many breeders require this because they want to ensure that the owners take good care of their dogs and can offer guidance and supervision. They may require a puppy or litter back in return or that the purchaser acquire a certain number of titles or health clearances as part of their agreement. Some co-ownership agreements are for life and some are limited until a time when specific terms are met.


Spay/Neuter Contracts are a written agreement between buyer and seller that state the dog must be neutered or spayed. If a dog is sold under such conditions, it is often also sold with Limited Registration papers that restrict registration to that dog and will not allow any offspring to be registered.

A warranty is an agreement or undertaking by the breeder to be responsible for any inheritable or congenital defects that may occur in the pet. Warranties should include disclosure of any congenital defect or “common hereditary disorder in the dog or the lineage of the dog of which the breeder is aware as well as a record of inoculations and deworming treatments. A warranty should describe what action(s) will occur between the breeder and purchaser should a hereditary disorder or congenital defect occur and specify a time limit on the warranty and any actions taken under that agreement.
Buyers would be entitled to exercise rights under the  warranty if a dog acquires a  congenital defect or common hereditary disorder, as certified by a veterinarian. In such a case, the warranty may state that the purchaser  may recover all or part of  the original price or receive a healthy dog or puppy of similar quality.

Since the parties signing a contract are legally bound to the terms within, it is important that every individual fully understand each section and their rights. If you have any questions or feel confused by the contract, do not sign it until you have a chance to review it and have it clarified to your satisfaction. A well written contract can make a tremendous difference in the relationships between the breeder and purchasers future.


Shelly Hollen |
Houston, Texas |
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