You are not just going to buy the cheapest one as long as it has 4 wheels and an engine are you? No.
Any sensible person would research what is most economical, what brand, whether you want a sports car, 4x4 or estate car etc etc. In other words, what is, in your mind, most perfect for you!
We can apply this same idea to buying your first puppy. Rather than looking in the newspaper and seeing the cheapest, sweetest looking puppy without researching its breed or mentally checking the criteria I will suggest you follow. Instead you must do your 'homework' in the following order:
- Pedigree or Cross breed?
- Dog or Bitch?
- Hereditary Health Issues and the checks provided by responsible breeders (is an absolute MUST).
- What they were bred for (gives you a rough idea of energy levels and difficulty of training).
- Go to Discover Dogs at either Earls Court or at Crufts and meet some in person.
- Contact a breed specific club.
- Pop down to one of their 'club shows or events' and meet some breeders and their dogs.
- Look for available litters or planned litters from any of the breeders you met and liked.
- Go to meet the breeder at their home on 2-3 occasions and ask as many questions as possible!
- Ask to see paperwork for the health tests of BOTH parents.
- Ask to meet the other dogs that the breeder may have and check their temperaments.
- Ask to meet BOTH parents if possible and make sure temperaments and condition are correct.
- When you look at the puppies and the condition they live in.
- Make sure their living area is clean (excuse a few puddles and the odd poo, they aren't house trained yet!)
- Puppies should be very out going and fearless so should immediately want to interact with you, please avoid the one who looks the most fearful or apprehensive.
- Check they've all got clean eyes, noses, mouths, genitals and coats should be clean & shiny.
- No puppy should be sold under the age of 8 weeks old.
- 'Designer dog breeds' will NOT be 'pedigree' or have 'proper papers' these will be hand written or computer generated with the family tree of the pedigree parents. These should also have health tested parents that are tested for their breed specific health issues. (ie Labrador: hips, PRA & Poodle: hips, PRA)
- Most responsible breeders will make you sign a contract that covers various aspects such as breeding restrictions, import/export endorsements and will also provide a pack of information with feeding guide, training guides, pedigree paper, health information etc etc.
- Finally, make sure you are HAPPY with decision and picked the puppy you want not the one you feel sorry for. If you are looking for a show dog then trust your breeder to pick you a good one. At the end of the day most will not let you show the worst as it will have their affix (kennel name) on it!
Tomorrow we will move onto what you need to do AFTER you've bought your perfect puppy.
Any doubts on any part from 9 - 20 then WALK AWAY.