Balancing strengths and weaknesses
Be honest with yourself about your dog's weaknesses, this will help you decide which attributes are important in the stud dog in the hope of achieving a well rounded set of puppies.
It's unlikely that you'll find a dog that has all the qualities you're looking for so rank your desired characteristics and try to find the best match from there.
Be wary if an owner is not forthcoming about their stud's weaknesses. It is unlikely that they have the breed's best intentions at heart- no dog is perfect and the more you know about the dog, the better chance you have of producing a healthy litter.
Find out the pedigree
Ask the dog's owner for their line of pedigree to help rule out the possibility of inbreeding and any health problems that come with this.
There are some websites that aim to do this by calculating the COI (coefficient of inbreeding) of both pedigrees. The smaller the COI number, the healthier the puppies are likely to be.
Responsible breeders should ensure that both the stud and dam have been health screened for recessive defects.
Just because a stud dog does not exhibit signs of having a health problem does not mean that they do not possess the gene that would lead to the puppies having a genetic illness.
A stud owner who is willing to share this information and understands the importance of it is likely to be a responsible owner who wants the best for the puppies and the breed.
Experience and age
If you are choosing between two equally matched dogs, choose the older dog. He is more likely to have reached full maturity, be experienced in mating and also show any health related issues.
Also consider choosing a less popular stud dog, this will make your puppies more unique and desirable and reduces the chances of your puppies having difficulties finding a mate with a different gene pool if they are chosen to breed later in life.
Meet in person
Before committing to anything, meet the stud dog in person. This will allow you to assess the true health and temperament of the dog and ask any questions you have.
Agree to terms
Reach an agreement before breeding about the compensation the stud's owner will receive for his services. Most will want a fee while others will ask for one of the puppies.
Any eventualities should be discuss and agreed upon, such as what will happen if the bitch fails to become pregnant or if there is an extra cost should your bitch need to stay with the stud.
It is best to have these terms written in a contract to avoid later disputes.