What Does it Mean to be a Guardian for a Dog?

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If you have been looking to buy a new dog, you may have come across the opportunity to become a Guardian Family for a dog breeder. This is a great way to bring a new pet into your family without the cost, however, the options are generally only available to experienced and suitable families. But what exactly does it mean to be a Guardian Family, and should you become one?

What is a Guardian Family?

A Guardian or Guardian Family is a person or household that agrees to keep and look after a breeder’s dog. This is a formal contract that carries legal obligations, some of which can impact and restrict your lifestyle. Failing to uphold your end of the bargain could lead to the dog breeder taking back your beloved pet. As a result, never enter a Guardianship contract without a guardianship attorney to ensure your agreement is fair and practical in the long term.

Dog breeders use Guardian Families to ensure that their breeding dogs have happy and healthy lives as the pet of a loving family. Guardian Families are far more humane than the alternative of puppy farms, which do not provide any of the care and attention a dog needs to live a happy life.

What’s the Difference Between “Owner” and “Guardian”?

Guardian Families do not own the dogs in their care. The dog still belongs to the dog breeder. A Guardian is a person who has signed a contract to care for the dog on behalf of its owner. Ownership of the dog will only pass to the Guardian once the terms of that contract have been fulfilled.

In most cases, the Guardian Family becomes the dog’s new owner after it has produced a certain number of litters, or after it has passed breeding age. Until then, the Guardian Family must carry out their responsibilities as specified by the contract.

What are the Responsibilities of A Dog Guardian

The exact requirements of a Guardianship contract will vary, but they generally boil down to the following responsibilities:

Keep the dog well-trained and in good health. The contract should specify who pays for medical expenses.

Allow access to the dog for breeding. This often includes remaining a reasonable travel distance from the breeder. A male breeding dog may be away from your home for a week or more at a time. Female dogs can be at the breeder’s home for several weeks or more, depending on the circumstances. In both cases, the Guardian Family will usually have access to their pet while they are staying with the breeder, although there may be some restrictions or limitations.

Allow the dog to be bred for a certain number of litters, or for a certain period of time. Female breeding dogs of most breeds retire at around four years old, while males retire at around six years old.

It is also common for Guardianship contracts to include a deposit that the Guardian must pay to receive the dog. After it has produced its first litter, the deposit is refunded.

What are the Benefits of Being a Dog Guardian

The main benefit of becoming a dog Guardian is that it can reduce the cost of having a dog as a pet. Agreeing to act as a Guardian Family usually means that you will not have to buy your family pet, although an initial deposit may be needed.

Once the contract is fulfilled, the dog is yours to keep. This could enable you to have an expensive breed that you could not otherwise afford. You might also get help with medical bills and other costs, depending on the agreement you make with the breeder. This is usually not the case, however, and most contracts make medical expenses and insurance the responsibility of the Guardian Family. The dog breeder will cover the cost of breeding-related expenses.

Furthermore, dog breeders generally only choose the best puppies of a litter to be breeders. This means that a dog you take care of and subsequently own through a Guardianship program will have been selected for showing all the signs of good health and temperament.

About the Author: 

Mike Johnson is a freelance writer and a human rights activist and an enthusiast. Through his extensive research and commitment to the field of law, Mike has established himself as a well-decorated writer in this field. Mike currently settles Las Vegas, and loves starting his day with a shot of espresso and cycling through his neighborhood.

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