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Articles Home > Before Getting a Dog > Choosing A Breeder

Choosing A Breeder

Posted: 10/30/2007 | Updated: 3/1/2011

Choosing A Breeder

So, you have decided to get your new puppy from a breeder. The next step involves locating and researching established breeders. The breeder you choose should be able to answer all of your questions about the dog you have selected and be able to give you helpful advice about raising and training your puppy. A reputable breeder will offer warranties or guarantees as to the health of your puppy and will also accept the puppy back in the case that it does not fit into your family. When choosing a breeder reputation is the most important factor. It should be considered above location, convenience and everything else. You should also be wary of overpriced ads bragging about the champion lines or other key phrases. It is quite possible these are great reputable breeders, just be sure to do your research ahead of time.

When contacting breeders be prepared to answer many questions, most likely personal questions about you, your family, your routine, your lifestyle, etc. Reputable breeders will ask you questions about your family structure, your work hours, the amount of visitors you get, your house and yard layout, your neighborhood location and much more. You should also be prepared for a written questionnaire which can be quite lengthy. If you contact a breeder who does not ask you these types of questions you should probably consider choosing another breeder. Dedicated breeders need to make sure that their puppies are going to loving, devoted homes where they will be well taken care of. Depending on the breed you are seeking it is not uncommon for breeders to have a fairly long waiting list, so be prepared to wait for your puppy, sometimes up to a couple of years.

When selecting a breeder you should also research their past customers. Customers who have previously bought dogs from this breeder are your best indication of the quality of the dog and the breeder. Were these customers satisfied? How is their dog doing today? Did they have any issues with their puppy or the breeder? The answers to these questions should give you a good feeling about the breeder and what your relationship with the breeder will be like even after you bring your new puppy home.

Once you have chosen your top breeder, it is time to visit the perspective litter. Breeders will usually allow perspective owners to visit when the puppies are around five to six weeks old. While there take notice of the environment, where the puppies are being kept, how the parents are treated, etc. Are they raised as part of the family or left in cages all the time? Breeders should spend a significant amount of time with the puppies to socialize them and get them used to human interaction. Well bred puppies are very social making them good companions who want to please their owners.

Choosing your puppy is the most significant decision you will make in this process. You should observe several litters of puppies to learn about their characteristics, behaviors and personalities. Each puppy will have their own distinct personality and behavior. It is important to find one that will compliment you and your family nicely. While observing the litters it is also important to take notice of the health of the puppies. A good, healthy puppy will have a well-fed appearance. The puppy should be firm with a solid feel. The skin on the stomach should be pink, clean and free of signs of irritation or scratching. The puppy should have a clean and healthy overall appearance. Puppies should also be playful and not hide or cower when you approach them. Ideally they should be friendly and approach you wanting to play. Take careful notice of each of the puppy’s behavior and responses to your actions. This will help you determine the right puppy for you.

Puppies will usually be allowed to go to their new owner when they are 8 weeks of age. Puppies should not leave their mothers before this age because they need to learn certain rules and behaviors from their mother. This learning process usually continues until the puppy is around eight weeks old. Toy breeds are often kept longer, up to 12 weeks, because of their small size. If a breeder is willing to let you take the puppy sooner than that, most likely the breeder is not interested in the overall well-being of the puppy and more interested in getting your money. If that is the case you should not accept the puppy until it has reached this age.

Choosing a reputable breeder is just as important as choosing the actual puppy. Proper research will prove critical as both decisions will have an impact on the well-being and life-long relationship you will have with your new pet.

Article Comments

This is a great article. I think sometimes once you have decided to get a new puppy it is hard to do the ground work, especially if this is your very first puppy ever, you just want a puppy. I know we took a chance and went with a new breeder but they have been wonderful. Even now after 2 years they continue to contact us on occasion just to update on how our dog is doing. We did take time to decide on a puppy because we were not sure if we wanted to go purebred or a designer mix. When we went to the breeder to select a puppy we got to meet both the Dam and Sire and the breeder was able to provide us with our puppy’s history. It is so nice knowing the history as you have an idea of what to expect especially when it comes to health issues.

by emgerber on 12/7/2011 at 8:33 AM

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