Frequently Asked Questions
Purchasing a puppy
Health questions and guarantees
Puppy care and training
We are happy to answer questions about our dogs or inquiries about purchasing a puppy or dog from us. Below are some questions that frequently come up, but please contact us if you have any other questions.
- What if I am not a hunter and simply want a companion dog?
- We strive to produce puppies with strong hunting traits and prefer to place them with families that will provide opportunies for them to use those instincts. They are highly intelligent and high-energy working dogs who need vigorous exercise and mental stimulation. We may occasionally consider placing puppies with people who will involve them in agility, nose work, or other active sports.
- How can I get involved in activities with my dog?
- The Epagneul Breton is a versatile breed, capable of excelling in hunting sports, agility, and other venues. We recommend checking out the official U.S. Club for the Epagneul Breton at http://www.ceb-us.org. The club hosts an annual national field trial event which is a great opportunity to meet wonderful people, see great dogs in action, and perhaps enter your dog in competition. It’s always fun-filled and informative. Affiliated regional clubs throughout the country also offer many opportunities. You may also wish to explore local or state hunting clubs, agility clubs, obedience training, search and rescue training or other activities.
- What if something changes and I can't keep my dog?
- We care about every puppy we produce and do not want any of them to go to an animal shelter or be rehomed multiple times. We want to be the first to know if you must give up your dog for any reason. We will either help find a suitable home or take the dog back if necessary.
- What is Sun Country Bretons' policy on breeding rights?
- While we do not retain breeding rights on puppies we sell, we believe dogs should only be bred if their attributes will contribute to the quality or improvement of the breed. We will consider lifting the AKC limited registration status of a dog if it meets certain criteria for conformation, performance and health. Specific criteria is outlined in our Purchase Agreement.
- What should I consider if I want to breed my dog?
- If you are considering breeding in the future, please discuss your plans with us before purchasing a puppy. We will help you choose a puppy with that in mind. It's important to us that future breeders are knowledgable about the Epagneul Breton; the breed standard; health concerns; and the history and pedigrees of potential mates. Caring for breeding females and young puppies requires a significant commitment of time and resources. Many unforeseen cirumstances can arise during pregnancy, whelping, and early puppy development that can lead to stressful situations and costly medical procedures. Please weigh your decision carefully.
- Is my puppy eligible for registration?
- Our puppies are eligible for registration with the American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kennel Club (UKC), and North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA). UKC is the parent club for the Epagneul Breton breed. AKC registers the Epagneul Breton as a "Brittany," but only the American Brittany is eligible to enter show events. Field and performance events are open to the "French" Brittany. We will provide the necessary forms for registration. You also have the option to register with AKC online.
- Why should I register my puppy?
- You have purchased a purebred puppy with a long line of field and show champions in its pedigree, so why not make it “official.” It is especially important to register your puppy if you plan to breed it in the future and/or if you might enter competitive events such as dog shows, hunting field trials or tests, agility, or obedience. The cost for registration is minimal and these organizations offer many opportunities and benefits.
- How do I choose a registered name for my puppy?
- We follow the French naming tradition whereby each year is assigned a letter of the alphabet and the puppy’s first name begins with the specified letter, followed by the breeder’s kennel name, for example: "Max de Pays du Soleil." (Our kennel name is “de Pays du Soleil," French for “of Sun Country”). This is an organized system for registration. By looking at a pedigree, you can tell how old a dog is and who bred it. We name the puppies for identification purposes, but you will pick the final first name beginning with the letter for the year. More information at http://ceb-us.org/the-epagneul-breton/naming-convention.html
- What does "Limited Registration" mean?
- This means that the dog is not to be used for breeding and any puppies resulting from breeding will not be eligible for AKC registration. However, we may consider removing the “limited” status after age two if the dog is determined to be of breeding quality. See Breeding Policies below.
- What type of food, how much, and how often should I feed my puppy?
- We start puppies on Purina Pro Plan “Focus” – Puppy, chicken and rice formula. At eight weeks, they get one-third cup, three times daily, either dry or moistened with water. It’s best to keep puppy on this food for a week or two until he has adjusted to his new surroundings. Puppies don’t need milk, and cow’s milk is hard for them to digest. If you decide to switch to another food, do it gradually. For the first couple days, mix 1/4 new food with 3/4 old; next, mix half and half; then 3/4 to 1/4. Follow the package directions for amounts as they grow. Make sure puppy has access to water at all times, especially in summer.
- What size crate will my dog need?
- An “intermediate” size crate (32" long X 22" wide X 23" high) will comfortably accommodate a full-grown Epagneul Breton. If you don’t want to buy a smaller crate for the puppy, you can place a box in the back of the larger one to limit the space and keep the puppy safer while traveling.
- How much should my puppy exercise?
- Puppies will usually self-monitor their exercise. Let your puppy run and play until she’s tired and then let her rest undisturbed. Don’t allow rough play with other dogs or children during the first year while the bones are developing. Injuries and strain during that time can lead to orthopedic problems later. Keep in mind that a 6-month-old puppy is like a 3-year-old child and should be protected from injury and stress.
- How should I train my puppy?
- We recommend puppy obedience training in a group setting after necessary vaccinations. It’s easier to teach your puppy good manners in the beginning than to break bad habits later. Participating in a class helps with puppy’s socialization with other dogs and other people. For the first year, the puppy’s hunting training should be simple: just let him have fun exploring the outdoors and expose him to birds as much as possible. It’s best to wait for formal hunting training until the pup is at least nine months to a year old. We would be happy to answer your questions or help with field training when the time comes.
- Is there a health guarantee for my puppy?
- Puppies are guaranteed to be healthy when they leave our kennel. They are also conditionally guaranteed until 24 months for evidence of hip dysplasia. Additional information is included in our Purchase Agreement.
- What vaccinations and veteranarian care will my puppy have?
- Puppies have tails docked and dew claws removed soon after birth. They receive deworming and their first vaccinations for parainfluenza, parvo virus, and distemper at six weeks (and nine weeks if kept longer). You will receive a copy of the health record when you pick up your puppy.
- How should I care for my puppy while adjusting to his new home?
- Keep your puppy warm while adjusting to her new home oand possibly cooler climate. Sometimes puppies may shiver or shake if they get cold or become anxious for any reason. Calmly reassure the puppy and allow her to rest or sleep undisturbed. Let her play at will, but avoid too much excitement or overstimulation. Puppies can get digestive upsets from the stress of leaving the litter or changing food. If puppy gets diarrhea, small amounts of cooked chicken and rice should get him back to normal in a day or two. Of course, you should call your vet if it continues or if any other symptoms develop.
- Will my puppy have a microchip for identification?
- Puppies are not microchipped before leaving our kennel. We feel the decision should be up to the new owner. We have not had any problems with microchips in our dogs, but there is some concern about microchips migrating in the body and being undetectable, or causing health problems. We suggest you research the pros and cons and ask your vet about any concerns.
- Should I have my puppy spayed or neutered and when should it be done?
- Generally, we recommend you have your puppy spayed or neutered if you do not plan to breed. Some research suggests that delaying spaying/neutering until the dog is at least a year old may help with structural development. See "breeding policies" below.
- How and when do I "pick" my puppy?
- Pick order is determined by the date the deposit is received. Because puppies change so much week to week, we wait until the seventh week before picks begin. We will contact you when it is your turn to pick. Pictures of the puppies are posted on the web site and our Facebook page frequently so you can watch the puppies as they grow. We will be happy to answer any questions to help you pick the right puppy for your needs.
- What if I have the last pick?
- Don't worry if you have the "last" pick. We've found that most people usually end up with one of their favorites even if they get the last puppy of the litter.
- When will my puppy be ready to come home?
- Puppies can be picked up between eight and nine weeks. Puppies learn valuable lessons about dog behavior by staying with the mom and littermates up to that time. If the puppy stays longer than nine weeks, additional charges may be incurred for vaccinations and care.
- What should I bring when I pick up my puppy?
- A small crate or carrier will work best to keep puppy safe while traveling. He will feel more secure in a small space with familiar objects. We will send along a blanket or toy with scent from Mom and the litter. Bring enough food and water for the trip and something for him to chew on. A collar and leash probably won’t be necessary and will only annoy the puppy. Have some paper towels, rags or baby wipes and trash bags available for cleanup. Avoid using cleaners with chemicals that could cause harm. We use “Nature’s Miracle” cleaner for crates, floors and carpets. (Available at pet stores.)
- How can I keep my puppy comfortable while traveling and adjusting to his new surroundings?
- Puppies occasionally get motion sickness so we avoid feeding them right before travel. Small "snacks" of food spaced out over the trip is better than gulping down a big meal. If driving, expect to stop every three hours for a potty break and stretch. Note: Puppies may shiver or shake if they get cold or stressed. Keep the puppy warm while traveling and while he adjusts to a new environment or climate. Let him play, but avoid too much excitement or overstimulation and let him sleep undisturbed.
Picking my puppy and bringing it home
- How do I go about reserving or purchasing a puppy from Sun Country Bretons?
- We ask that prospective puppy owners download and complete our Puppy Questionnaire and email it to us. We will then send you a Purchase Agreement outlining our policies. If you decide to purchase a puppy, you will return the Purchase Agreement with your deposit.
- How much is the deposit for a puppy reservation?
- There is a $200 nonrefundable deposit for a reservation. The balance will be due when you pick up the puppy. If we are not able to provide the sex you requested, you may choose a puppy of the opposite sex if available, or the deposit can be refunded or applied to a future litter.
- Can my puppy be shipped?
- We prefer that the puppy be picked up at our kennel or we can arrange to meet you at the Phoenix airport. Puppies cannot be shipped in the cargo area during hot weather. We will do our best to help coordinate travel arrangements or shipping if necessary.