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Selecting a Breed

What questions should I ask a breeder?

  1. Can you tell me about the breed?
  2. How long have you been breeding?
  3. What requirements do you have for potential owners of your puppies, and how do you match puppies with their new owners?
  4. Can I meet the dam or sire to get a sense of the temperament?
  5. Have health tests been performed on the parents?
  6. How do you socialize your puppies?
  7. Are the puppies up-to-date on vaccinations/shots?
  8. When can I take the puppy home?
  9. Do you provide a health guarantee and a contract?
  10. How can we contact you after picking up the puppy?

What is the disadvantage of buying a puppy instead of an adult dog?

The disadvantage is that training a puppy requires a great deal of time and patience. Busy families should keep in mind that puppies cannot be left alone for more than a few hours at a time. They need plenty of trips outside, frequent meals, and lots of interaction with people, not to mention love. 

What is the advantage of buying a puppy instead of an adult dog?

The advantage of getting a puppy—aside from its irresistible cuteness—is that you can raise it by yourself from the beginning and participate in its training and socialization, every step of the way. 

Should we consider an adult dog?

Adult dogs, whether purchased directly from a breeder or adopted from an rescue organization, can be ideal for people who want a dog with fewer needs. Mature dogs tend to be calmer; some are already house-trained and know basic obedience.

My children are very involved in activities. How does this factor into our decision?

Can you integrate the commitment to a puppy into your current parental responsibilities?

What about my children?

Research whether the breed you are interested in does well with children. Some breeds want the spotlight and are needier and will not be happy if attention is given to a child or something other than them. Like children, puppies require a lot of attention, love, and energy. It can be exhausting! Think about a puppy as another child when making this decision. 

Does the size of my house make a difference?

Yes.  Is there enough room in your apartment for your Labrador Retriever? What about your backyard, if you even have one. Is there a good amount of space for your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier to run and burn off all of her energy? These are all things to take into consideration when deciding on a breed.

What breed is best for me?

Deciding what dog breed to get is as important as deciding whether to get a dog in the first place. Every breed has different traits and care needs.  Breed research is necessary because you may find that while you think a puppy is absolutely adorable, that breed’s personality may not align with your lifestyle. 

Finding a Breeder

Have health tests been performed on the puppy's parents?

You'll want to be sure that the breeder has followed the health testing recommendations for their breed. Find a list of tests here. Not all breeds have recommended health testing, but, where applicable, the best breeders will test their adult dogs before planning a litter.

Can you provide me information about the parents?

Discovering information about the puppy's parents will give you a better idea of what you can expect from your dog. Ask about the breed and how your pup's parents compare to the official breed standard and other breed traits. How big are the parents? What do they look like? What kind of temperament do they have? Have the parents achieved any titles or awards?

How long has the breeder been breeding?

You'll want to know what experience the breeder has, particularly breeding this specific breed, including her or his involvement in  dog clubs, organizations, or sports.

Genetic Testing

What is Genetic Testing?

Dog Breeds Have Required Genetic Tests

These Tests Should Be Done Prior to Breeding

Ask to see results of genetic tests

Each AKC breed has a National Breed club. There can only be one national breed club for each breed. The national breed club is responsible for the determination of which tests are required and which tests are optional for their associated breed.

There are over 200 dog breeds. Each breed has different required tests to assist in the determination of whether or not a specific dog has any negative genetic issues. 

Before You Buy

Will a breeder ask me questions?

Yes, if they are a responsible breeder.  Responsible breeders will be screening you as they decide on the best home for each puppy.

Do I need to evaluate breeders?

Yes.  Ask to see at least one of the parents (the dam or the sire) of your puppy. See how the dogs in your breeder's home or kennel interact with your breeder. Are they friendly and outgoing, or do they shy away?

Where do I look to find a puppy?

Purchase a puppy from a responsible and well-respected breeder. Responsible breeders are concerned with the welfare of each litter and also maintain a wealth of knowledge about the breed you’ve chosen. 

What about my neighbors?

How will your neighbors react if they hear your dog running around all day? Is your neighborhood pet-oriented? Are there dog parks or safe areas to exercise and socialize your dog?

What considerations about size and energy do I need to consider?

If you are planning to bring a Dalmatian into your studio apartment in New York City, you may want to reevaluate. A Dalmatian is high energy and needs daily rigorous exercise.

How clean does my home need to be?

Puppies do not know better, and if trash or clothes are left on the ground, the puppy will think it is his to play with and destroy! 

Is a fence required to buy a puppy?

Unless you live in a metropolitan neighborhood of condos and high rise buildings, you do need a fence where the puppy can exercise and be safe.

Is my home ready for a puppy?

When bringing a puppy into the home there are many things to consider. A puppy has no boundaries unless you create them and will go to the bathroom wherever he chooses unless trained. Training will take time, but there are somethings you can start thinking about now. 

How long does it take to decide aboout buying a puppy?

Buying a puppy is like buying anything else: the more thought and research you put into it, the easier the decision and process will be. So, take your time.  This is a decision and a committment of years, not a few months.

Do I have time in my schedule for a puppy?

Caring for a puppy is not just a financial investment, but also an emotional and time-consuming commitment. Getting a dog requires a lifestyle change. A dog, particularly a puppy, must receive daily care. This means proper diet, grooming, exercise, and veterinary visits.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself before purchasing a dog.

  1. Does my career and social life allow the time to raise and care for a dog?
  2. How many hours a day will my dog be left alone?
  3. If I cannot be home one evening, can I find someone else to walk the dog?

Do I have the necessary finances to take care of a puppy?

Raising a puppy is a huge financial undertaking and certainly involves much more than just a one-time fee. You must keep in mind the plethora of expenses that occur prior to bringing your puppy home and after. Don’t forget that your puppy will entail a 10-15-year commitment, too. Your puppy will need proper care: food, vet visits, and supplies (food bowls, collar, leash and toys).

Bringing Your Puppy Home

What can I do before I pick up my puppy?

Before you pick up your puppy, give the breeder a small blanket to place with the puppy and his mother. When you pick up your pup, take the blanket, and it will comfort your puppy and make him or her less likely to whine and be anxious.

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