Buying your first puppy can be a daunting task, and I have added some common questions to ask when choosing the right puppy... and the right breeder.

Most breeders are more than happy to answer questions related to the purchase of one of their puppies and will be just as concerned about the type of person/household they are releasing one of their puppies to. Remember, It is up to both the Buyer and the Breeder to be comfortable with one another and to ensure that the puppy has been and will be treated properly.

Arm yourself with information and buy with confidence.




Questions the breeder may ask you before buying one of their puppies

Questions you may want to ask the breeder

A truly responsible breeder cares where their puppies will grow up.

They will keep any puppies they cannot place in suitable homes and will question prospective buyers closely to determine if this buyer really deserves one of their precious puppies.

A good breeder is trying to find the best homes for the puppies, and want to ensure that you are going to be a responsible, intelligent owner.

They will evaluate you as carefully as you evaluate them.

Some typical questions you may be asked...

Do you have any dogs at present, if so, what are their ages, and breed?

What is your experience with this breed, and what are your expectations on the temperament and behaviour?

Do you work, if so, how many hours a day are you out of the house?

Do you have a secure garden?

What type of boundary does your garden have?

Do you have children or visiting relatives/friends children and what are their ages?

Do you have any other pets?

Is the puppy going to be a family pet, or do you plan to do obedience/show?

Do you intend to breed from this pet in the future at any time? (some breeders may place restrictions on the puppy to stop litters being registered if they do not want it to be bred from, but may be happy to remove restrictions at a later date when they are happy the new owner is committed to the breed).

Have you given any thought as to what would happen to the dog if you were no longer able to look after it - all puppies bought from a reputable breeder will be returnable to them at any stage in their life, for whatever reason.

Rough Collies need to be groomed weekly, although the grooming isn't as onerous as people believe it to be, and can be done in 30 minutes with the right tools and equipment - are you able to commit to keeping the puppy's coat well maintained?

It is also adviseable not to discuss the cost of the puppy at the initial contact with the breeder, as it will certainly put a lot of breeders off potential buyers who may have a restricted budget, and therefore struggle to meet unexpected vet bills in the future.

Can I see the puppies mum? - (Be aware that a bitch that has just whelped a litter of puppies may not be looking her best but you will be able to see her temperament and how she interacts with the breeder and her puppies.)

How long have you been in the breed. Are you involved in other breeds as well? - You probably want to avoid anyone who has switched breeds every couple of years, from popular breed to popular breed. Looks for someone that has experience with the breed in which you are interested. Be wary of people who have multiple breeds. It is not uncommon to find breeders with several breeds, but a breeder producing litters of many different breeds of dog is generally not going to be your best source of help and advice.

Will the breeder take the dog back at any time, for any reason, if you cannot keep it - This is the hallmark of responsible breeding.

How old is the puppies mum and has she had a litter before?

When were the puppies wormed?

Do you provide a diet sheet, and food to take home for first few days?

Is the puppy KC Registered? - All puppies advertised on Collielife must be KC registered.

Will the puppies be eye tested? - see more information about eye testing HERE

Ask where the puppies are kept - For example, is this inside the house in a busy kitchen where lots of people come and go and interact with the puppies?

You may want to see the puppies sire, but this is not always possible if the breeder doesnt own him, but it doesn't stop you asking questions about the sire, finding out what other puppies he has sired and contacting the sire's owner.

How often do you breed and how often has this bitch been bred - Breeding every heat cycle is too often and may indicate that profit is the primary motive for the breeding.

When you visit the litter do not be offended if the breeder does not allow people before four weeks of age to see them. Please tell the breeder if you have been around an ill dog as they may wish to defer the visit to avoid germs being passed on and you may be asked to remove shoes and wash your hands before handling the puppies.

Note if the puppies surroundings are clean, are they bright eyed and look fit and healthy.

DO NOT buy a puppy from a pet shop, anywhere advertising for sale more than three different breeds or if you have any doubts about the breeder or situation – even if you want to rescue it.

You may also be asked to leave a deposit for the puppy of your choice if he/she is not ready to leave the rest of the litter (which is usually around 8 weeks of age).


There are three recognised colours according to the UK Rough and Smooth Collie breed standards - sable & white, tricolour and blue merle. All should have typical white collie markings to a greater or lesser degree (legs and feet , full or partial white collar, and sometimes facial markings).

Any other colours not mentioned above are presently registered as ‘Colour Not Recognised By KC’, although due to the deliberate matings of sable to blue merle, and the possible consequences of such a mating, some UK breeders have asked the KC to remove this option.

It is generally considered in the UK that it is most responsible not to carry out matings between sable and blue merle parents without comprehensive knowledge. Where such matings do take place, any resulting sable merle puppies should be registered as ‘Colour Not Recognised By KC’.

It has come to our attention that although some experienced breeders have carried out sable x merle matings intentionally, these breeders would, we hope, have the knowledge to recognise sable merle offspring or take advantage of available DNA tests, and would make any buyers fully aware of sable merle status.

However, some matings are being done irresponsibly or unknowingly by breeders and these puppies may be registered as sable & white as the merle gene becomes less noticeable as the puppies grow.

Statistically, sable merle puppies are born out of sable and blue merle matings, at a 25% rate. Many factors influence the way the sable merle colour looks. If a dog is heavily shaded, the sable merle colour will appear as randomly diluted areas of dark colour, mostly on the head, back and tail. Sometimes, in light golden dogs, it is not even possible to detect the presence of merle, unless they have seen at a few days old when they are still dark enough for merle to be noticeable. A sable & white dog with blue or blue-flecked eye is most likely to be a sable merle.

Although a sable merle puppy will have no health problems relating to colour, the danger arises if two merles are mated together. The merle gene can completely destroy most of the pigment including the pigment in the inner ear and the back of the eye, which is necessary for normal hearing and eyesight. Such a puppy can only be born from both merle parents. Such puppies are usually predominantly white, and often deaf and/or blind. Although it is controversial to use such animals in a breeding programme, any puppies that survive can be mated with a tricolour and will produce a normal, healthy litter of all blue merles. Deafness and blindness, in this case, are a direct consequence of lacking pigment, and cannot be inherited separately from white colour.