Choosing a breeder
buy a puppy because he's less expensive than another puppy of the
same breed. You may be sacrificing quality. Usually, you get what
you pay for. It may be worth spending that extra $200 now rather
than paying $2,000 when health or behaviour problems arise.
buying a puppy from a pet store. Too often these puppies come from
"puppy mills". If you don't know what a puppy mill is, look up the
term "puppy mill" on the Internet or call your local animal shelter.
The only way to stop puppy mills is to stop buying puppies from
pet stores. This does not include those pet stores that have shelter
puppies available for adoption.
pedigrees will contain such abbreviations as the following by dog's
names: Ch. (Show champion), CD (obedience-companion dog), UD (obedience-utility
dog). These titles prove the dog, by whose name they appear, has
good body structure and/or does well in obedience work. There are
numerous other titles so check which titles mean what and why they
may be important for your breed.
4. A good
breeder should be able to tell you about dogs on your puppy's pedigree.
Have them explain the often cryptic letters and titles awarded,
and get a good feel that they know the lines they are breeding from.
At the very least, they should be able to provide you with a 4 generation
pedigree and be able to tell you about the dogs. You might see the
same dogs listed a few times on the pedigree - the breeder should
be able to point out any linebreeding and inbreeding and explain
the benefits and dangers of both.
breeder should know what their breed was meant to do, general history
of the breed, health problems that may affect their breed, and what
homes their pups would do best in. Be wary of the breeder that makes
their breed out to be perfect. They usually are just interested
in money since no breed is perfect for everyone.
breeder should ask you questions before they agree to sell you a
puppy. Such as: Do you have time to care for a puppy properly? Can
you afford feeding/grooming costs? Where will the puppy live (indoors/outdoors)?
Why do you want a puppy? Do you have children?
How many litters do you have a year?
Breeders producing more than 1 or 2 litters a year are probably
not paying enough attention to the genetics and health of the puppies.
Where were the puppies raised?
How have you socialized them?
What you're looking for here is an indication of what kind of socialization
the puppies have had. Socialization is so important to getting a
well-adjusted, well-mannered dog. Puppies should have been exposed
to people, other dogs, new situations, normal household sounds and
activities in order to learn. A puppy raised without this important
social interaction can be shy, fearful, aggressive, or have other
problems as they get older. Dogs need to know how to play, how to
handle new situations, how to relate to people.
When can I take the puppy home?
Puppies usually go home between 8 and 12 weeks. Avoid anyone sending
tiny puppies home.
10. A health
guarantee should be given with every purebred puppy sold. The breeder
is responsible for bringing your puppy into the world and therefore
should be responsible for it until it no longer graces the earth.
Breeders offer varying guarantees so check out what hereditary health
problems may affect your breed and be sure your health guarantee
covers it to some extent. Don't expect the guarantee to cover such
things as accidents, parasites, nonhereditary diseases, etc. You
should also have at least 48 hours after picking the puppy up from
the breeder to take your new pup to your vet. If your vet should
find a health problem your breeder should allow you to return the
puppy and choose another one, wait until the next litter arrives
to choose one, or return your money.
your instincts! If you feel uncomfortable with a breeder, leave.
Don't be afraid to tell the breeder you'll just keep looking. A
reputable breeder will understand.
to see the parents of the puppy. Sometimes the sire is not owned
by the same person as the bitch, so the sire may not be on the premises
when you come to visit. However, you should always see at least
the mother. Ask to see other offspring from the same parents, if
any are on the premises. Seeing the dogs of previous litters will
give you a good picture of what your puppy will become.
if mother's been bred every season. A breeder who cares about their
dogs will breed every other season. Some breeders will breed back-to-back
once. This occurs when the breeder wants puppies in a specific season,
if there was a small litter, or the female comes into heat once
per year. All puppies should be "expected" and well planned. If
they're not, it's a lucky dip as to whether you're going to get
a good puppy or a nightmare.
you're buying a large breed puppy be sure the health guarantee covers
hip dysplasia. Most breeders will either reimburse a portion, or
all, of the cost of the pup or give you another puppy from another
litter should your puppy be diagnosed with hip dysplasia at two
years of age.
buy a puppy from some one who breeds more than two-three different
breeds of dogs. People who breed more than that are usually out
for money and don't care about the quality of their puppies. Hobby
breeders are usually the best source of good, purebred dogs, but
they are also the most difficult to locate. Hobby breeders do not
often advertise to find homes for their puppies, because they usually
make such arrangements before the actual breeding occurs. Nor will
the hobby breeders dogs be found pet stores, because such breeders
often personally screen each potential buyer to ensure that the
puppies end up in the best possible homes.
deciding on a breeder, ask to see the breeders grounds. A responsible
breeder takes extremely good care of his or her animals and grounds,
and should not hesitate to show both to a visitor. The grounds should
appear clean and the animals should look active and healthy.
you want a purebred dog but don't plan on entering any competition,
look into your local breed rescue club. They often have adult dogs
looking for new homes and sometimes puppies.
your local vet if they know anyone with puppies the breed you're
looking for. The vet can tell you if the parents are healthy and
if the breeder is some one you'd care to buy a puppy from.
references from your breeder of others that own puppies from them.
Call these people and ask them to tell you about their experience
with their breeder and if they would recommend getting a puppy from
the breeder. There's no better way to find out about how ethical
a breeder is and check the quality of their pups than talking to
people who have dealt with them in the past.
an unethical breeder
When you talk to people about their puppies, there are a few warning
signs that you are dealing with a disreputable, unethical, or irresponsible
The "breeder" lacks knowledge about the breed
The "breeder" shows ignorance or denial of genetic defects in the
The "breeder" has no involvement in dog sports
The "breeder" doesn't let you observe the puppies or adults, or
let you see the kennels
The "breeder" has no documentation and cannot provide a pedigree
The puppies are not socialized