When it comes to choosing a puppy, many people take into account all the factors that are important. They think of things like, “What breed is best for me and my family,” “Are the parents of the puppies healthy,” “Do I want a male or a female?” However, very few people actually stop and ask one of the most important questions, “Are you the best breeder for my puppy?”
It may seem a bit strange but it is very important to ask that question. According to many dictionaries, a breeder is simply a person that breeds animals or, in this case, dogs. Anyone can be a breeder and they don’t need to have any specific skills. All they really need is a female dog that can produce puppies.
Although many people are concerned more about the dog, having an excellent breeder is as important as the type of breed that you are going to purchase. Remember, a breeder will be with your puppy for about 8 weeks, sometimes even longer and your puppy has the greatest benefit if they are with an excellent breeder.
So what should you look for in a breeder? Well, before you start looking for a puppy, look for a breed. Once you have the breed, it is time to do a little leg work. First, you will need to find a breeder in the area. This means contacting breed clubs and asking around. Once you have a list of names, start contacting people. Take the time to converse with them over the phone or through emails. If you don’t click with the breeder when you are talking or they don’t seem overly friendly or helpful, then pass the breeder by. If you find that they are only interested in the money you will be putting out, then you know this is not a breeder for you.
What you want in your breeder is someone that is more than happy to talk with you whether this is over the phone or through email. The breeder will also be more than happy to answer any questions and she or he will have questions for you to answer. A great breeder will want to know that the puppy is going to a good home.
After you have talked to the breeder a bit, it is time to have a visit. This is very important and you should never plan a visit where you will be bringing a puppy home the same day. When you get to the breeders home, you will need to pay attention to how he or she interacts with the animals in her care. Are the dogs in the home or kennelled most of the time? Do the dogs look well cared for? Are the kennels and property clean? If you answered no to the last two questions, then you should find a new breeder.
When you are there, you should be able to see the female whose litter you will be purchasing your puppy from. Some breeders use a male from other breeders but he should have a photo of the dog and all the paperwork for health clearances for you to look at; however, it is a must to see the female.
If everything looks great, ask a few questions of the breeder. Ask to see proof that the dogs are up-to-date on vaccinations, and that all the health clearances have been done. If there is any hesitation in providing you with this proof, then the breeder may not be a reputable one. Also discuss the health concerns that your breed may have and make sure that the parents of your puppy are certified to be free from those health problems.
It is very important to look at how your puppy is being bred and reared. If the breeder uses dogs that are less than 18 months of age, then you should not purchase a puppy from him. The same goes if the female is over 7 years of age. Also, a breeder that produces more than four litters a year should be avoided and one that breeds more than two different dog breeds should be avoided as well.
Lastly, if your breeder is a reputable breeder, then you should be able to expect a few things. For one, most reputable breeders have a “puppy package” that helps with the transition between the kennel and the puppy’s new home. The breeder should also have a policy where puppies do not leave the kennel until they are 7 weeks of age and they should be dewormed and vaccinated before they do. Also, there shouldn’t be a fluctuation between prices for registered and unregistered puppies.
In the end, it is your gut instinct when it comes to choosing a breeder. It is important to go with someone that you are comfortable with but knowing that all the proper tests are given and the breeder cares about the well-being of his puppies will ensure that you and your puppy have the best start together.