Breeder or shelter?
A responsible breeder knows their pups well and supplies them with the best start in life. Dog shelters are another option, although they may not be able to provide you with the same amount of background information on the puppy, or the resources of a reputable breeder.
How do you find a reputable breeder?
Decide what breed of dog you want. It’s important to do your research and choose a pup that will match your lifestyle now, and as he grows. For more information on the different breeds of dog visit the PEDIGREE Breed Gallery®, or find out which breeds of dog best match your lifestyle by taking the PEDIGREE Select-A-Dog® questionnaire.
Get references. The best way to find a reputable breeder is by word of mouth. Recommendations from dog-owners, family, friends and your local veterinarian are a good start.
Once you know the breed you want and have a list of possible breeders the next step is to contact the breeders. Let them know that you are interested in a puppy and ask for references from past customers. The breeder should be happy to provide you with this information.
Visit the breeders. This is your opportunity to ask the breeder questions, observe how the breeder interacts with the pups and see the puppies. Sometimes there will be a waiting list for the puppies. If you are satisfied with everything else this should not be a deterrent. After all, a puppy will be part of your life for many years, so taking the time to choose the right pup is worth it.
What questions should you ask the breeder?
What height and weight range is appropriate for this breed?
What are the grooming requirements for this breed?
What are the exercise requirements for this breed?
Are there genetic diseases common to this breed?
Have the appropriate tests been taken to identify diseases, and avoid them as much as possible?
You can then ask a few questions about the individual puppies.
The more questions you ask the better! A reputable breeder will appreciate your questions, and be able to answer them.
Have the pup’s been socialized? Although the pup’s socialization will continue in their new home, responsible breeders start this process by spending time with the pups, introducing them to toys, children and other animals.
Can you see the mother? This should not pose any difficulties. Although the father may not be available the mother should be. You should be allowed to observe her with the pups, depending on the puppies’ ages, to give you an idea about the eventual physical and behavioral characteristics of the puppy you are considering.
The following checklist ensures that the breeder you are visiting is reputable.
The pups are clean and their living accommodations hygienic.
The puppies are never sold to retail shops, brokers or wholesalers.
The pups are not separated from their mother before 8 weeks of age.
The pup’s parents are at least 2 years of age, and were tested for genetic health before breeding.
The breeder should be happy to answer all of your questions and should also ask you questions about your lifestyle and experience with dogs. After all, a caring breeder wants to ensure that you and the pup are well-matched.
Health and Vaccination Records. The breeder should provide you with a health record, including information on diet and parasite control, and a record of vaccinations. These records should be available for the pup and the pup’s mother.
Basic care information. A reputable breeder will want to ensure that you have the basic exercise and grooming information to begin caring for your pup properly from the start.
Bill of Sale. This should include the purchase price, date of purchase and any refund policies or guarantees.
A pup that has experienced the care of a responsible breeder will be healthier and happier. This gives you the best start to your future life with your pup, and is well worth the effort in finding a reputable breeder!