Getting a New Puppy?

So, you finally decided it is time to get a new member of the household. Congrats!
Maybe you would prefer you get your new best friend from a breeder. No shame there as long as you find a reputable breeder to buy from! Have you thought about what breed(s) you are most interested in getting? Spend some time researching those breeds. Actually, spend A LOT of time researching those breeds, as well as other breeds.

“Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.” – Kinky Friedman
In short, you should be looking at temperament, health problems, grooming requirements, and exercise needs. Make sure that the dog that you are interested in getting will fit with your household and your lifestyle! Do not forget to check out what health concerns are the most common for your breed of choice and what tests can be done to check for them.

Picking the Right Breeder!
Finding the right breeder can be a daunting task. Many people assume that because a breeder has large price tag on the puppies that they must know what they are doing. That could not be further from the truth! Many of the breeders you will come across are out to make a profit, often times being  backyard breeders. The truth of the matter is that a breeder that is genuinely passionate about bettering their breed oftentimes does not even end up making a profit off of their litters, many of them even spending more money on producing the litters than they receive. They also spend countless hours preparing these puppies for the real world, for their new homes, and for life in general. Finding the right breeder is important to ensure that you have a puppy that is healthy physically, has a great temperament, and to avoid a puppy that has a predisposition to behavior problems. So how in the world do you find a reputable breeder?? I’m glad you asked, here are some of the most common signs of a great breeder:

Visit the breeders home and meet the puppies parent(s).
If the breeder is close enough, are they comfortable letting you visit their home several times to interact with the puppies? The dad may not be available to meet, but the mother should be! The breeder should let you meet her. The breeder should also want to meet the entire household of the home that is interested in their puppies.

Where are the puppies kept?
The puppies should be living inside, not outside. Is the area they live in clean?

Will not release the puppies to new homes until 8-12 weeks of age.
Up until 8 weeks old, puppies are learning crucial lessons in how to interact with other dogs in an appropriate and healthy manner from their litter mates and mother.

How often are the puppies handled?
The puppies should appear relaxed and comfortable around people. Do they seem to be confident of humans, other animals, and their surroundings?

Does breed specific health testing.
The breeder should be willing to give you the results of basic vet visits, as well as OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) and/or CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) test results. Do not even bother with a litter that has not been OFA and/or CERF tested. The parents and grandparents should also have their OFA and/or CERF test results available to look at.

Upfront about the drawbacks of the breed.
Both health and temperament. A good breeder will want to make sure their breed will fit well in your household.

Does not specialize in colors or sizes that uncharacteristic of the breed.
These often result in health and behavioral issues. Toy breeders will not market “teacup” variety pets. Teacup is not an actual size classification and is achieved by breeding runts of litters with other runts. This results in a host of health concerns and behavioral problems.

How many litters do they raise a year?
Females should not be bred more than one time a year. Not to mention, having more than two litters a year does not give the breeder adequate time to dedicate to the puppies and mother of each litter.

They may ask you to sign a contract.
It is not uncommon for a great breeder to have people sign a contract stating that you adhere to meet specific conditions. Some have a contract stating that in the event you can no longer home your dog, they will take the dog back at any stage in its life. Others will have you sign a contract agreeing to spay or neuter your pet in order to avoid contributing to the overpopulation problem currently at hand.

Will answer your questions… and ask some of their own.
A good breeder should be comfortable answering any question you have to the best of their ability. They will also have questions for you!  It seems like a lot, I know. It seems impossible to find a breeder that is that amazing. But, it is definitely not impossible! It may take some time to find a great breeder, but you can rest assured that you will be getting a quality pet from them.