Where Do I Start
When you decide you are going to buy a purebred puppy you need to do your research on the breed or breeds you are considering. You will invest a great deal of time, money and research in purchasing a quality purebred puppy from a responsible breeder that will fit your lifestyle and family. Whether you want a family companion or a dog you can compete with, arm yourself with knowledge.
Start with reading the breed standard. This can give you information about the breed and help you form some questions. You should know what is and is not acceptable for the breed and what they should look like, weigh, colors, size, temperament, etc.
You can also research the kennel club registries such as AKC for individual dog breed information.
Go to a dog show (conformation) or other venues that may pertain to the breed such as agility, hunt tests, field trials, just to name a few and watch the breed in action.
Contact local breed clubs.
Ask your friends who have the breed you’re interested in for breeder referrals. Find out what they liked about their breeder and if there is anything they didn’t like. Has the dog met their expectations.
Selecting a Breeder
This is the most important part once you have decided on the breed you want. Picking a breeder you are comfortable with and can work with will benefit you and your new puppy in the long run. This is a lifetime working relationship you will have with your breeder. A responsible breeder does not want to just sell you a puppy, they want to work with you and help you with any questions, training or concerns you may have throughout the lifetime of your puppy. They are entrusting you with one of their babies. Take your time researching breeders.
Responsible breeders are knowledgeable about their breed, eagerly answer your questions and want to share their experience with you. They are honest about their dogs and their breed and do not sugar coat everything. Good breeders will give you the good, the bad and the ugly about their breed. I would rather make you run away than have you think everything is milk and honey.
You don’t need to settle on the first breeder or puppy you see. Cheaper is not better. You can expect to pay more for a quality puppy who has health tested parents from a breeder who has invested a lot of time, money, blood sweat and tears in breeding and rearing a litter. They are concerned with health, temperament, conformation, and the wellbeing of their dogs. They strive to keep their dogs within the breed standard.
Once you have some breeders picked out have a list of questions ready, this may include but not limited to (in no particular order):
- Have you done health clearances on your breeding stock?
- Can I see the results?
- Can you explain these results and the diseases associated with them?
- Can I see the the dam and sire?
- What health problems does this breed have?
- Can I see the pedigrees?
- How long have you had this breed?
- Can I see the registration papers for the breeding dogs?
- Can you recommend other breeders?
- Do you offer a contract/guarantee?
- Will you always be available to answer questions/concerns for the life of the dog?
- What happens if the unforeseen happens and I can no longer keep the puppy/dog?
- What vaccines, worming medications have you given?
- What vaccines and other treatments do I still need to do?
- Are your pups sold on a limited or full registration?
- What registry are they registered with?
- What resources can you recommend for me to find more information on the breed?
- Do you belong to the National Breed Club?
- Will you assist me in choosing a puppy?
- How often and when can I visit the puppies?
- Where are the puppies raised?
- At what age do you allow your puppies to go to their new homes?
- Do you offer advice on training?
- Can you be my mentor?
- Do you require spay/neuter?
- Do I have breeding rights?
- What socialization and or temperament tests have you performed on the puppies?
- Do you compete with your dogs?
- What have the puppies been fed?
- Can I get references from previous puppy buyers?
- Will you supply me with written information on training and care?
Here are a few things that should raise a red flag and make you walk away!
A breeder that will not let you see at least the dam of the litter and the puppies ahead of time. I don’t know about you but I want to see what I am going to purchase and at least one parent of the offspring.
They only want to talk through email. Now if distance is an issue this could be understandable however most everyone can make a phone call. I feel you can tell more by talking at least over the phone than by strictly using email, text or social media.
You are not comfortable when you meet them. I say go with your gut on this one.
They don’t offer a contract/guarantee.
Upon visiting the kennel/home the puppies are in an unkempt area. They appear dirty and lacking in general health. I know it is easy to feel sorry for puppies in conditions like this but unless you are ready for the possible financial situation and heartbreak it may bring with lifelong health problems just walk away. This is just one way unsavory breeders are able to continue breeding; they play on people’s emotions.
The breeder is not knowledgeable about their breed and health concerns.
The breeder cannot supply written proof of health clearances and/or registrations on their dogs.
Follow your instincts, if that little voice is telling you to run away then chances are you should.
These are my opinions and suggestions. It is up to you to do your due diligence and vetting of breeders and decide what is important to you. Now is not the time to be bargain shopping. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t feel bad if the breeder is not the one for you. Be prepared for the breeder to turn you away as well, don’t take it personally. They may not have a pup that is a good fit for you and your family. Typically, if this happens they will refer you to another breeder who may have a pup that does fit your needs.
You are the one that has to spend your life and the lifetime of the puppy you choose so take your time, do your homework and choose wisely.