A puppy is an investment. Far from being a throw away thing, a puppy is for life, and it’s very important that the puppy be healthy and good tempered, as well as suitable to the new owner’s need.
We all know not to buy a puppy from a pet store. Why? Pet store puppies most often come from “puppy mills,” large scale breeders that care for nothing other than making as many puppies as possible. Breedings are done without any care for the quality of the resulting dogs or for the health of the bitches.
To many people the answer is to always get your new dog from a shelter. If you are looking for an older dog or don’t care what breed you get, then the shelter is a good option. If you want a purebred puppy, though, then they may not have what youneed. Furthermore, some charities place onerous requirements on families who want to adopt an animal. At that point, you need to find a trusted, responsible breeder.
Good breeders seldom produce more than two litters a year – this is about as many puppies as can be properly raised and socialized. Also, they have a purpose to their breeding programme. They are producing showing or working dogs, or seeking to improve an older breed or stabilize a new one. A responsible breeder is seeking homes for those puppies that don’t meet her requirements for the program.
How do you find a good breeder? There are many directories of breeders that you can look at. Look for a directory that has requirements for entry and does not just list any breeder who asks.
When you contact the breeder, ask if you can see relatives of the puppies. The sire may not be on the property, but you should at least be able to see pictures and video of him as well as the dam and any older siblings. Expect to be asked questions about your lifestyle – a good breeder makes sure you’re picking the right breed of puppy and will help you pick out the right animal for your needs. A good breeder does not let you pick up the puppy until he or she is 8 weeks old and will normally sell on a spay/neuter contract, meaning the puppy has to be fixed when it is old enough.
A good breeder may also have adult dogs available – animals that did not work out as show, working, or breeding dogs, but might be the perfect pet for you.
By supporting responsible breeders you also make sure that they stay in business and continue to improve their breeds.