About the cash

I know many people are confused about deposits when first talking to a breeder about getting a puppy. I am often contacted by people who ask "is this normal?" So I thought I'd discuss the whole deposit money part of getting a puppy from a reputible breeder.

The deposit

All breeders are different; even within the same breed and the ethical group you will find that they are all different. So deposits can be very different both in price and in the return policy. A deposit is just that; you are saying that you want a puppy from this breeder so you are basically putting your name down for one to ensure that you get one. Now if the breeding has not taken place yet; a breeder may still take deposits. Some breeders wait for the puppies to arrive before taking depositis. So if you have put money down on an expected litter; there may not be enough puppies to go around so what then? What some breeders will do then is to hold your deposit money for the next litter or give it back to you if you don't want to wait.

Most breeder state that a deposit is non-refundable; meaning if you put your money down for a pup and change your mind then you loose your money. Many breeders will not bend here and no matter what reason you come up with; you've lost your money. A deposit is a good thing; otherwise a breeder would never be sure than potential puppy buyers are serious. This also makes sure that the puppy buyers have seriously considered getting this puppy; heck they have to hand over cash so most think first.

Now in my opinion putting the word non-refundable in a contract is important. The breeder can be pretty sure that these puppy buyers have thought long and hard about getting a puppy then. But I too believe that things change and people change their mind. If it was up to me I would be very flexible in my deposit returns or non returns; but I would probably return most. I don't want someone's money when they are getting nothing; and you most definitely do not want to hand over a puppy that someone has changed their mind about.

I was recently in the same boat; I was looking at many puppies. And my situation was a bit different; I was looking for something very specific which I realized after much time and effort was just not going to happen. I placed a deposit on several puppies; or at least on a litter. When I did get a chance to look at the puppies and decided that none were what I was looking for my deposit was returned. I was very lucky.

It's called life; things happen in life and if a breeder has cast in stone that no deposit shall ever be returned then shame on them. Yes they have put their heart and sole into their dogs; breeding and caring for a litter but do they really want someone's money when they are not getting anything in return? Do they want to give a puppy over to potential puppy buyers who may have changed their mind but don't want to loose their deposit? Who knows where that puppy will end up?

Deposits can run from 100.00 to 2500.00. Recently I emailed a breeder about a litter; the deposit was 2500.00 and was completely non refundable. The money was kept litter after litter until you got the puppy you were looking for; can you say ripoff? I would expect you to pay between 100-500 for a reasonable deposit. It can be placed on an anticipated breeding; an awaited litter or a litter that is already on the ground. But think long and hard before handing over a deposit; because you might not get it back.

And for the breeders out there; as I said earlier, do you really want to keep someone's deposit who has simply changed their mind? This could lead them to taking the puppy; and once that is done you have lost all control. You may never know where that puppy ended up. Or what about a family who got wrapped up in the excitment of a new puppy but a couple weeks down the road they realized that now was not the right time; do you really want to keep their money?

As the saying goes *%it happens; and the most important thing is that puppies go to people who really really want them, no matter what the cost.


  1. Sherri - appreciate your thougths today. I am one of those breeder who takes deposits, altho only when the litter is born and only for 1/2 of what I have 'live'. If we have another female due shortly I will increase that, but only by a few. To me it means the client has done their homework & is willing to work with me in finding that right pup for them. No pup either is pre-reserved. There are just too many things that can go wrong in 8-10 wks, and I don't want anyone to have a broken heart, especially when children are involved. It also allows me to spend more quality time with the clients, have them in frequently to watch the puppies grow and answer all their questions as they come up. And YES, I've had clients who might have very specific requirements - from coat colour, markings, sex - one which worked with us thru 5 litters - 3 had been possibilities, however it was never temperament being the issue! I've only ever had to refund a deposit once, as their lives took a turn for the worse.
    All these clients become an extention of our sheltie family.

  2. It is wonderful when everything works out.

  3. I also deposits. I didn't have to return any at all, thankfully. Most who reserved dogs actually came to the house to spend time with the pup they chose. If they didn't come visit, they would e-mail regularly. I am still in touch with quite a few and the oldest ones will be 2 next month! A couple have come to visit since also. I have been very fortunate and I look forward to updated photos of the pups now and then!


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