Congratulations! You have decided to buy a puppy! Life will never be the same and you are going to love every moment you spend with your pet (well, almost every moment). The key to finding a great puppy is to seek out a reputable and ethical breeder who truly cares for his animals. So, apart from getting a feel of your pet, you must also ask hundreds of questions to the breeder in order to get an idea about how he/she is as a human being. So let us consider best ways to find do breeders in your area.
Ensure that the breeder is registered with the AKC
Always start by visiting the official website of the dog breed in question. Suppose you are interested in buying a Boxer puppy. Then start by visiting the AKC Boxer website here. Here you will get tons of information about the breed you are considering as well as the breeders registered with the AKC. A simple search on the Internet can lead you to official/club websites for each breed.
Educate yourself about the paper work involved
When you meet a breeder and select your puppy, you should ensure that the breeder supplies you with following documents and records:
- AKC registration
- Copy of puppy’s pedigree
- Certification of deworming
- First immunization
- Spaying/neutering if done
The breeder should also give you a written guarantee of allowing you to bring the puppy back for a full refund or another puppy in case the vet detects any problems. It is a good idea to do a complete genetic and medical testing of the puppy at an experienced vet’s within 48 hours of bringing your puppy home.
Paperwork good to have but not compulsory
Registered dog breeders also give health test records like
- Canine eye registration foundation certification
- BAER hearing test certification
- Orthopedic foundation for animals certification
- Breed related certificates like liver shunt test, cardiac test and healthy patella or knees test.
How to find dog breeders in your area
To find local dog breeders near you, speak to a veterinarian that you know. You could also seek out the local breed club in your city or state. In case you have zeroed in on the dog breed you plan to buy, try and find owners of that breed and ask them for dog breeder references. Visit dog shows and dog events talk to trainers and handlers of the breed you are interested in. Ask them to recommend several registered dog breeders so you can have multiple options to choose from. A search on the Internet can guide you to dog breed forums. These are places where existing dog owners give plenty of tips and advice to potential dog owners. They can also guide you to experienced breeders near you.
Dos and Don’ts about finding local dog breeders
- Do not go by fancy advertisements in magazines. Just because a breeder has advertised his litter, does guarantee them being ethical. Similarly, don’t get overly impressed by fancy dog breeders’ websites. Anyone can buy ad space and make a website. As stated before, the AKC recommends breeders but these aren’t always screened and it is just information.
- Do an Internet search about a particular breeder. If there are significant complaints about him or negative reviews, steer clear of them.
- Do talk to several breeders and don’t just settle on buying from the first one. Take a look around his property. Is it well maintained, clean and safe?
- Do ensure that the breeder is concerned about his pups. A good breeder will ask you several questions about your household and lifestyle as well as about your previous dog raising experience to ensure that his puppy will be in good hands.
- Do be prepared to wait. Ethical breeders have few litters each year. This means that he may not have a puppy waiting for you when you want one. Good breeders will also have extensive wait lists.
Always buy your puppy locally. Shipping a puppy can be hazardous to its health and you also won’t get to meet it prior to buying.
Questions to ask a dog breeder before buying a puppy
Once you visit a breeder, you need to ask him several questions. Here are some important questions that can help you test the breeder’s knowledge:
- How long have you bred this particular breed; how did you get started?
- How often do you breed each year?
- What is your philosophy behind dog breeding?
- Have any of your dog’s been diagnosed with diseases particular to that breed? What are the chances my dog will get it?
- May I call your vet for references?
- Will you take the puppy back in case some situation comes up and I am unable to take care of it?
Observe the breeder’s premises. Make sure you meet the puppy’s mother. Is she calm while handling her babies? This will give you important clues about the pup’s temperament.
Questions about puppy’s socialization
The breeder who breeds his dogs at home is more likely to have socialized puppies than breeders keeping multiple breeds and large kennels. Early socialization with humans and other dogs is essential to ensure that your puppy grows up into a friendly, loyal companion fit for your household. Ask your breeder if the puppy has met other animals like cats, rabbits etc. Has the puppy met other humans (adults and children) or is he only used to his handlers and breeders? Finally, ask the breeder at what age could the puppy be taken home? A good breeder will not give puppies away before ten weeks of age.
Questions about puppy’s environment
Where has the litter being kept? Is the puppy exposed to a variety of noises like cars, traffic, vacuum cleaner etc? Many subsequent behavioral issues can be avoided when the pup is exposed to normal household sounds like door bell ringing, TV, phone, people talking etc.
Questions about pup’s medical history
These are the most critical questions to ask a dog breeder before buying a puppy:
- Ask to see the mother. Ensure that she did not have any medical issue during birthing.
- Find out if the parents are registered and that they had no problems like hip dysplasia, eye disorders etc.
- Ask the breeder if he has dewormed the pet?
- Talk to him about paperwork regarding vaccinations.
- Get written information about puppy’s diet, food, medicines and common health issues like stomach upset and so on.
Finally, it is best to go by your gut instincts. If you feel something about a breeder is not right, perhaps it is best to seek out someone else. You certainly do not want to take chances in case of this important, life changing decision. Good luck!