If you have decided to welcome a new dog into your home, the next step is to research different breeds to find one that is best suited to your family’s needs, preferences and lifestyle. If you have discovered a purebred that will be an ideal addition to your household, then the next step is to find a responsible and reputable breeder to ensure that you end up with a happy and healthy puppy.
If you already have a veterinarian that you have used for the health care needs of your other pets, he or she may know of a dog breeder in your area. Another informative resource is the American Kennel Club. This organization provides a list of dog breeders for all recognized breeds, and information is also available regarding the current ethical standing for the dog breeders listed. A breeder who registers with the American Kennel Club and with specific breed clubs usually does so because they are dedicated to improving the breed by breeding responsibly. Try to choose dog breeders that are local so that you can visit the facility, you can meet the puppies and the parents, and your puppy will not have to be flown to your area.
Visit the Dog Breeder and Inspect
A responsible and reputable breeder will welcome you to visit their facility. While you are there, make a visual inspection of the dogs and of the place. Make sure that the kennel is clean and odor-free. A kennel that is not clean is a breeding haven for diseases, which means that the dogs may not be healthy. The dogs should not appear underweight or sickly. Observe for visible ribs, nasal and ocular discharge, excessive scratching and lethargic behavior.
The Dog Breeder’s Interview
A responsible breeder is not going to hand you the puppy of your choice simply because you have the cash to hand over in exchange. A reputable breeder cares about their dogs. They want to know what kind of home the puppy will be going to and what kind of owner you will be. The dog breeder is going to ask you questions about your schedule, your living quarters, your family members and other pets that you may have. These questions will help the breeder to select the puppy whose personality will be the best match for you and your family. A reputable breeder wants their dogs to live out their lives happily in forever homes, and playing matchmaker is an effective way to accomplish that. If you have other pets, the dog breeder may wish to contact your veterinarian for a reference to ensure that you provide complete health care for your pets.
Questions to ask Dog Breeders
The interview works both ways. You need to ask questions of the breeder to ensure that you are getting a healthy dog, and you need to observe the breeder’s interaction with their dogs and puppies. The puppies should appear happy and eager to interact with the breeder and staff. They should not cower or show hesitation to interact. The breeder and staff should exude an air of love and devotion toward the puppies. They should not seem cold, indifferent or brusque toward the puppies or when talking about their dogs. Ask questions about the puppies, their family history and where they spend their time until they are placed in homes. Ask what happens to puppies that do not end up placed in homes. No responsible breeder sells their puppies to pet shops or puppy stores. The breeder should be happy to talk about their dogs. Be sure to ask about the breeder’s return policies if the puppy develops a genetic health condition or if anything should happen to you and the dog needs to be placed in another home. A responsible breeder would rather take the dog back than have it end up in a shelter or worse.
Time to Meet the Puppy’s Parents
Ask the breeder to meet the parents of the puppy that you are considering. This will give you an idea of the size and temperament that the puppy will exhibit as an adult. This also provides the opportunity to ask more questions. Ask if the parents have ever competed in the show ring. Ask how many litters the mother has whelped. Ask what the dogs are fed. Make sure that the parents appear healthy, happy and sociable.
Papers of a Reputable Breeder
A reputable breeder should furnish you with paperwork on the day that you take your new puppy home. These papers should include the proof of pedigree, which you will need to submit when you register the puppy with the American Kennel Club. Be wary of a dog breeder who offers to mail these papers at a later date. The breeder should also be willing to furnish certificates of proof that the puppy’s parents were properly screened for the genetic health conditions that are known to afflict the breed. Walk away from any breeder who is unwilling to supply these certifications or seems hesitant about discussing health conditions. A responsible breeder wants to maintain a reputation of breeding dogs that are as free of health problems as possible.
Two New Friends for Life When you acquire a purebred from a responsible breeder, you gain two new friends. Your new furry companion is one, and the dog breeder is the other. Responsible dog breeders always remember their puppies, and they genuinely care about them for the remainder of the dog’s life. They are willing to keep in touch, they are happy to receive photographs and updates of the dog, and they want to know if a health problem arises. They can also be a valuable resource for owners who may be new to the breed and its traits.
Finding a dog breeder that meets all of these qualifications to be a responsible breeder will maximize your chance of finding a puppy that will be a happy and healthy member of your family for years to come.