Dog Breeder Has Changed Their Mind after Deposit Has Been Paid

Hi All,

I need some advice on what to do.

I have been in contact with a dog breeder and paid a deposit for a particular dog. The breeder changed their mind and decided that they wanted to keep the dog. They offered us another dog and we accepted to take this dog.

We were due to pick up this dog this week and have spent a considerable amount of money getting ready for this dog.

The breeder has now changed their mind and refuses to sell us the dog.

What can/should we do?

Please help!


  • +2 votes

    You said the breeder has offered a different dog which you have accepted. So are you getting a dog this week or not?

    • +7 votes

      no, they changed their mind about giving us that dog.

      • +246 votes

        Forget breeders and adopt a good boye who needs a forever home from a shelter.

        • +2 votes

          I agree completely

        • -22 votes

          Shelter dogs tend to have too many behavioral problems. Not many people want to put up with that.

          • +3 votes

            @nurries: Yes, a lot of them come from a bad home.

            I adopted my greyhound (ex-racer) from a shelter. At the beginning I had some problems with him. He bit me when I came near his bowl or walked past while he was sleeping. He didn't know that he can growl to say that he doesn't like something. In the meantime I can take his bowl away while he's eating, he sleeps on my bed, likes to play, …

            You've to invest some time, it's a new environment and he's probably been neglected.

            In the end, It was the best decision to get him. He blossomed and is actually my best companion.

          • +2 votes

            @nurries: Completely disagree. I've adopted three dogs all from abused backgrounds and they are the kindest, sweetest dogs. I would always recommend to adopt not shop.

      • +25 votes

        You have been scammed.

      • +1 vote

        Seems like they got more money for the dogs from someone else.

  • +61 votes

    Report them to the breeders association for that particular breed of dog - I am assuming they will be a member

  • +25 votes

    Do you really want to buy a dog from a breeder that doesn't want to sell you a dog?

    If you can get your deposit back, cut your losses and move on to the next breeder. Some breeders are super annoying as there's often more demand than supply so they can choose to be picky with their buyers and treat some of them poorly.

    Did you do something to annoy them? Or maybe the dogs has the right traits they're looking for.

    • +4 votes

      i'm guessing we annoyed them because they changed dogs on us.

      • +85 votes

        Plenty more dogs in the sea

      • +1 vote

        Wondering if there is a small claims court or the like you could go to?

        I did a quick Google search and found this for example:
        Taking them to such 'court' might be beneficial not only to you but will make the breeder think twice about such unethical business practices thereafter, certainly if a court decides they are at fault. This will mean your time will be affected and whatever other logistical issues that may come up for you in getting to court. Also, if the amount of the lost deposit was say $50 would it be worth the effort? If the amount is say $200 or more the effort may be worth it. It will depend on the relative value you put on a dollar depending on your financial situation and of course there is the matter of simply going through all of this for ethical reasons.

        The breeder could be doing this regularly for 'easy money' to others and getting away with it. Of course as someone else suggested, the breeder may see you as too much trouble if you have in fact been too picky or pedantic or otherwise in their opinion. Hard to imagine the right and wrongs of such things with the other party not having a say here within.

        • -8 votes

          they will pay back the deposit. we have spent a considerable amount of money getting ready for this puppy including flights for a family member to come down to dog sit while we are away for a few days.

          • +46 votes

            @missosoup: I… Hope you didn't mention you were going away shortly after getting the puppy. That would have been a huge red flag for the breeder. As already mentioned, the first few months at home are VERY important allowing the pup to settle into a routine, training etc.

            That coupled with you asking for a discount would be a reason for refusing to sell you the dog.

          • -19 votes

            @missosoup: Omg. Please never have a pet.

            • +28 votes

              @HighAndDry: we would be away for 4 days and we flew a trusted family member down to ensure that the dog would be cared for. She would have been 11 weeks old and we already would have been at home with her for 2 weeks straight (we had organised to work from home).

              your wish is granted, i don't have a pet.

        • +1 vote

          Key terms for common law contracts:

          1. Offer
          2. Acceptance (communicated to seller)
          3. Consideration (something of value - i.e. usually a sum of money, in exchange for the dog in this case).

          Altogether with principles like 'certainty of terms' (i.e. be clear) and 'intention to create legal relations' (i.e. not joking around).

          So (fake numbers), Breeder A offers to sell OP specific Dog A for $2000 with $500 deposit up front and rest on collection in 2 weeks, and OP accepts, they have a contract. Paying a deposit may be one of the specified terms, with the balance payable on collection - however even if refundable (another term), it further reinforces the parties have intention to create legal relations and have locked in the deal.

          If OP could prove all these terms, and no other terms existed that allowed them option to pull out, what they would be trying to do by going legal is get something called 'specific performance' which forces the breeder to go ahead with selling OP the dog.

          Otherwise, in terms of damages for something like this where they don't get the dog, it is RARELY worth while getting legal - damages are almost never worthwhile for minor disputes like this - the breeder can argue you can get another dog and not be at a financial loss… OP may be able to argue for damages to reimburse the flights if non-refundable and flight wasn't taken (therefore lost), but it wouldn't offset the costs of going to court etc. There's not going to be a significant case for anything worthwhile if the deposit is already refunded.

          However, it may be worthwhile going to small claims out of principle if they don't get their deposit back, and whilst there try and get the dog, or if that fails the money back and throw in arguments for the other associated costs such as flights for dog-sitter and legal costs. However the breeder probably wouldn't show if they are willing to steal a deposit!

          • +4 votes

            @MrFrugalSmith: If I take this further, it's to show all breeders that they can't behave in this manner and get away with it.

            No one should go through what I've been through.


              @missosoup: I guess have fun buying a similar breed from another breeder.


                @TheMostHated: I'm sure there are nice breeders out there.


                  @missosoup: There are.

                  However at the end of the day, most dog people put dogs ahead of people.

                  If a breeder decides to keep the dog you were to get, they probably want to use it for breeding, or as a show dog. Is it that good?

                  Legal approaches are unlikely to get you anywhere- and be painful. I'm sure there are many who do behave this way and get away with it. The law cares not after all, there is almost no regulation on dog-breeders (just ask the RSPCA)

                  If you are really set on this one, maybe offer to breed it once or twice if they do let you have it.


    I have been in contact with a dog breeder

    Is this breeder well known with champions? You could advise them that you’ll be happy to posts reviews of your experience of this transaction on social media.

      • +55 votes

        Adopt a pet from an animal shelter. There are plenty of them that needs love and care.

        • +5 votes

          Would be the right thing to do.

          But sometimes, people just want something new and adorable, that they've set their hearts on already. I was going to say the Iphone XL but that doesn't quite fit the bill. Each to their own.

          • +8 votes

            @Heb: Don't understand why you got negged to oblivion.

            You're absolutely right. So many people prefer the cute puppy doggo for up to $5,000 each instead of a rescue which they could save for a small administrative fee. However rescues aren't normally small and cute.

            Not saying that it's the right thing to do (and neither was Heb), but it's what happens.

            • +3 votes

              @QW3RTY: I assumed it was because ozbargainers love their iphones XL!

              Hahaha just kidding. Thanks for your reply. I thought it'd be a bit rich of me to feel bad when I was advocating pro choice on the subject of sourcing your dog/puppies. It's an interesting thought: how many puppy mill (doesn't just include breeder) dogs end up in RSPCA anyway? then you have the side that says well support or not dog producers will breed why not start the puppies fresh and maximise their chances of survival rather than end up at the rspca? It's like greyhound adoptions, doesn't really stop the greyhound racing industry.

              That or purchasing a new dog is not a ozb thing to do, we all get second hand goods from salvos, think about adopting all the poor kids out there and sponsor lots of children in africa with every spare change we have?

              I'm all for saving a life(s) but firmly believe how philanthropic you are should be determined only by you. It's my opinion that people should have the right to choose what they want, it's a 10-20year choice after all and if 'rescuing' a dog up the chain at the breeders stop it from ending up at the pound and investing in being a responsible owner that takes time and patience to train AND love their dogs then why not?

              What matters is the life the dog has and what you control directly rather than adopting 10 animals and failing to take care of them properly. Saving the world one dog at a time.

            • +1 vote

              @QW3RTY: Plenty of cute and small dogs in shelters.

        • +1 vote

          My wife and I chose not to adopt from a shelth because we're plan on starting a family soon and wanted to be responsible for the behaviour/demeanour of our dog….we didn't want to adopt on the off chance there was abuse or psychological damage prior that could lead to an an episode that could harm a future newborn/child.

          Sourcing a puppy direct from a breeder also gives our family more time with our pet rather than adopting a dog half way through it's life or potentially with health problems.

          I'm all for those that choose to rescue a dog from a shelter….though I have found a few people (in general….I'm not suggesting you're one of these people) choose to shame anyone who chooses a breeder and not a rescue dog without understanding the circumstances or thought that goes into such a decision.


            @Oneguyinmelb: You know they have puppies at the pound?

            • +5 votes

              @Cheaplikethebird: Unless you want a Kelpie cross, then there are very few puppies in shelters.

              Something you have to consider is that getting a puppy is a 10+ year commitment. Buying from a breeder generally gives you generations worth of data about how your dog will act, and whether it will have health problems. Not to mention proper puppy socialization, which is incredibly important.

              • +4 votes

                @Jolakot: Jolakot

                I have two dogs from 2 different breeders. In no way does coming from a breeder mean proper socialisation. Breeders can lie about health and the generations they have come from.

                The first breeder - the puppies were kept in a pen for 8 weeks. No toys. Little interaction. The breeder only bred the one type of dog. The dog i picked is beautiful but has clearly missed out on a number of things. He is clingy and a bit neurotic, though very affectionate. He is scared of things that other dogs wouldn't be scared of.

                The second breeder - came from interstate. This dog was chosen for me. She is also beautiful and it's obvious she spent time inside the house and had more interaction, but she is also scared of things and is not affectionate at all.

                I have since had puppies. They have lots of interaction, toys and other stimulation. I take them outside to the grass when i can. They aren't scared of anything. From having these puppies i can see that there's no way that a breeder with multiple dogs can give puppies the undivided attention they actually need to be well adjusted and ready for the world.

                In other words - the whole thing is a crapshoot

          • +5 votes

            @Oneguyinmelb: If you're going to start a family soon then forget getting a dog. A newborn is a pile of work that simply doesn't need to be added to. i.e. a new dog.

      • +7 votes

        If you get black listed for doing the right thing then you don't want to be dealing with them anyway.


      I would've thought if the breeder is well known with champions a post about not going ahead with sale of a dog wouldn't affect them too much. Demand would be higher as there is an implied notion that the line is strong, healthy and well looked after with defects more limited due to an established heritage?

    • +1 vote

      Is this breeder well known with champions? You could advise them that you’ll be happy to posts reviews of your experience of this transaction on social media.

      This is terrible advice.

      Firstly because we are only hearing one side of the story. Sounds like the OP went 'OzBargain' on them and asked for a discount. Secondly, because other breeders are more likely to trust other breeders, not customers and thirdly because they could potentially sue for defamation.

  • +8 votes

    The breeder has now changed their mind and refuses to sell us the dog.


    What did you do to annoy them?

    • +2 votes

      we asked them to consider a discount because they unexpectedly (less than a week away from the pick up date) changed dog on us.

      • +11 votes

        Yeah, see that wasn't a smart move.

        They could have many reasons for keeping the other dog… It might have had health issues and they didn't want to sell that puppy or at the other end of the scale, it might have been perfect for breeding. When I bought my dog the breeder did the same thing.

        What sort of dog?

        • +17 votes

          They could have many reasons for keeping the other dog
          t might have been perfect for breeding. When I bought my dog the breeder did the same thing.
          When I bought my dog the breeder did the same thing.

          Why would you be happy to make all these concessions for them, but don't reckon it's fair to ask for a discount?

          They're changing the original agreement based on their wishes and disregarding the customer, yet you don't think a discount is a fair ask?

          (Assuming health was not an issue otherwise they could have easily just told OP that and it would be mentioned above)

          • +5 votes

            @R-Man: I agree. We were less than a week before the pick up date already had everything ready for one specific dog.


            @R-Man: depending on the breed of dog there can be a large demand, hell we had to go meet the breeder for our dogs before they would agree to sell to us while they checked us out to see if we were suitable owners. Many will take being asked for a discount as an insult.


              @gromit: It doesn't matter, the initial deal was the initial deal. Barring health issues, the breeder should have supplied the dog specified imo. If the breeder had any reservations about the buyer they would not have accepted the deposit.

      • +7 votes

        "we asked them for a discount".

        Yup number 1 breeder response. They're very annoying like that.

        I fail to see how asking for a discount directly correlates to skimping out on care. But breeders sure are a different bunch.

        It's not like they treat their dogs like family either so why double standards unless to protect business revenue.

        You don't sell family.

        • +22 votes

          i saw it as compensation as they changed dogs on us!


            @missosoup: Out of curiosity had you actually interacted with said 'original' dog? Or was it just on photos? Is it still the same breed at least lol?

            • +10 votes

              @Heb: yes, we drove an hour and a half to see the original dog. and they expected us to change dogs without meeting the other dog less than a week before the pick up date. when they wanted to change dogs, i felt like we didn't have a choice and agreed…and that's why i asked for a discount to make it more palatable. what makes things worse is that the discount wasn't even much…now we have no dog and we were due to pick the dog up in a few days…

              • +2 votes

                @missosoup: If you really really want it. Why not just apologise and offer the full price see if you can still salvage the situation. Is that what you want?

                Because at this stage we're obviously not very likely to go to court and demand the contract be fulfilled. And clearly they don't want to sell it at a discount. I don't think most breeders provide any 'discount' unless you are a returning customer (then it's ok to ask for a discount????? don't ask me how it makes a difference).

                Getting ready for your first dog at home is a lot of work but ideally you really want to be there for the first few weeks rather than 'be away' and let someone look after a new pup. Those first few weeks and months are in my opinion really important for a variety of reasons….

                At this stage you also have to think, well if you were willing to settle for another dog and be compensated for it, maybe you'll be ok walking away from the deal too. Some may have doubts as to whether or not you just want a greater discount for all this when the seller is just trying to 'recuperate' all their overhead costs too.

                I know it sucks now but there's a very high chance that if/when you get a replacement dog, you'll love it even more and know it was meant to be.

                • -9 votes

                  @Heb: i don't want a dog from this breeder because of how they have treated us.

                  i want compensation because we have spent money on the basis that this was supposed to be happening and now it is not.

                  • +1 vote

                    @missosoup: You know it may not be worth investing anymore time in it. I know someone who was in a similar situation a while back, 2 hour drive at the last minute it fell over. Few weeks later they got another dog instead, they reckon things worked out much better that way.

                    If the seller can't even go ahead with their discount, what chances do you have of getting any compensation.

                    More importantly, how do you quantify a fair amount to be compensated when you would've invested in the time anyway in preparation for a new dog?

                  • +9 votes


                    i want compensation

                    yeah and I want to win the lotto too.

              • +1 vote

                @missosoup: Looks like, although they stuffed up, they felt you will never be a satisfied customer from that point. So they preferred cancel the sale and deal with a fresh customer. Best is to move on unless you’ve got more time to waste.

              • +1 vote

                @missosoup: How much was the discount and what sort of dog?

                Again I'd just brush it off, and start looking for another puppy.

    • +6 votes

      the breeder probably got a better price.

  • +17 votes

    Sounds like a prick of a breeder. There are a lot of those around. If that's how they treat humans, how are they treating their dogs?

    Get money back and find another (nicer) breeder.

    • +2 votes

      thanks, I suppose this is a cautionary tale for others.

    • +13 votes

      how are they treating their dogs?

      They only exist because people like OP buy from them. I'm pretty firmly in the "you should only adopt pets" camp.

    • +1 vote

      If that's how they treat humans, how are they treating their dogs

      Picky breeders tend to have the animals welfare at the top of their priorities, clearly there's something we and OP aren't aware of that made the breeder change their mind.

      • -2 votes

        they have a few days to find a new person and for that person to get ready… we spent over a week getting ready for this dog… good luck finding a "good" home.

        • +1 vote

          why do they only have a few days?

          If there a decent breeder they will be happy to have it until they find the correct home.

          I don't feel you should be compensated as it was your choice to get a dogsitter.

          I feel you should definitely leave a mark against the breeder somewhere as if you're truthful, what they've done is not good.

  • -2 votes

    So much hassle for a dog lmao. What a joke

  • +4 votes


    Did you get your deposit back?
    If No then write a letter of demand (sent registered post)
    If yes then move on with your life.


    Most breeders are terrible for this, without saying too much.

    What kinda pup were you chasing?

  • +2 votes

    Maybe it wasn't meant to be…

  • -1 vote

    Strangely enough I don't think anyone has suggested the bikies yet.

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