One should never enter into any type of business arrangement without a written contract. This is for the protection of not only the buyer, but the seller as well. If it is to be anything other than a simple contract for sale (even with a friend), everything should be completely spelled out in the beginning so that there are no misunderstandings later. (A handshake is only as good as a person's memory.) A contract is no insurance that a breeder will stand behind the dogs he sells, but it is a good starting point on which to base a long-term relationship. Unhappy clients are the worst advertisement anyone can have, whatever the business. Now some breeders are going to be unhappy that I used the word "business" rather than "hobby" in reference to breeding dogs, but the fact remains that whenever money is exchanged for a service or a product, it IS a business. (The Internal Revenue Service may or may not agree with this, but whatever one choses to call it, the IRS will STILL want its cut of the proceeds!)

Some states, such as Minnesota, now have "puppy lemon laws". The seller should certainly be aware of any such laws, but some backyard breeders, as we call them, don't bother themselves with anything other than putting up their signs or placing their ads (through newspapers or now the Internet), and taking the buyer's money. Be aware that as a consumer, YOU HAVE RIGHTS, TOO! If a breeder is selling puppies without any written contract or guarantees whatsoever, run, don't walk to the nearest exit.

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