A Checklist of absolute Musts when buying a puppy!
Research the Breed - Do you want a dog that needs lots of exercise? Or one that is happy to go for a couple for strolls a day? Can you commit the time to grooming a dog daily? Or would you like a dog that needs brushing once a week? Can you cope with a dog that needs training? - You Must find the answers to these questions BEFORE you buy your puppy!
Mother of the puppies - Must be with the puppies when you go and see the litter. The mother should be interacting with the puppies.
Father of the puppies - Often is not present at the breeders address. But you should be given details about him.
Waiting Lists - Are very common when buying from a responsible breeder. You should be patient and plan ahead. Responsibly bred puppies are rarely available on demand and are well worth waiting for!
Health Test Certificates - Should be able to be seen, both the mother and the father of the puppies should have these! These are proof the breeder has taken the responsible steps to trying to prevent inherited health problems being passed onto your puppy. Different breeds are prone to specific health issues such as Hip Dysplasia, various eye conditions which can result in blindness, heart conditions and many more. All these health problems can be painful, heartbreaking and costly...... See this page to see which tests are relevant to your breed and could prevent these problems for you puppy.
Price - This reflects the time, love and care devoted by the breeder to your puppy. Looking after a litter is time consuming , hard work, exhausting and expensive. Looking after a dog is costly and often if this initial cost of a puppy is a hardship then future costs of living with this dog will be tough! A cheap puppy could cost you thousands in health problems, not to mention the emotional rollercoaster of having to deal with a sick puppy or dog.
What you should expect from the breeder:
On First contact - Have a pen and paper ready with your initial questions and take notes of your phone call. Phone the breeder - they should be friendly and helpful. They will ask you questions about you and your family and your lifestyle. Ask over the phone about the health tests of the parents and say you would like to see the certificates when you visit.
Meeting the Breeder - See the health test certificates! Talk over with the breeder any concerns you may have. Visit the breeders premises at least twice, most repsonsible breeders will ask you to do so anyway. That way you can get to meet your new puppy and know him/her well before bringing him/her home.
Meeting the puppies - You must see the mother interacting with the litter. You must see your puppy with its littermates. The puppies should be bright, alert, responsive with no obvious problems such as discharge or skin sores.
Collecting your puppy - It is important for your puppy's development to stay with its littermates and mother until it is at least 7-8 weeks old. If you are offered a puppy younger than this walk away, do not buy it! You should be prepared for your puppy's arrival. Relevant paperwork such as Kennel Club registration certificates and the breeders puppy pack should be ready for you to take when you leave. Responsible breeders often will ask you to sign a contract of sale for your puppy, to safeguard it for the rest of its life, such as breeding restrictions and restrictions about selling the puppy on.
Returning your puppy - Responsible breeders will often offer to take back a puppy at any stage of its life, if for whatever reason you can no longer keep him/her. Always contact them first, they will be able to help you.
Puppy farmers or suppliers of farmed puppies will not offer lifetime advice for your puppy, they will often have a sale of contract which says they will NOT take back the puppy. Puppy farmers will only be too happy to part with a puppy and take your money!
Where to start in your search for a puppy:
Attend a dog event - Discover Dogs at Earls Court London is a good place to start - You will get to talk to real owners of the breed of dog you want to own and will get to meet that breed. This will give you the best possible idea of their temperament and their individual needs.
Breed Specific Clubs - Contact them, they will have a list of responsible breeders that know their breed well.
The Kennel Club - The Accredited Breeder Scheme - there are a list of breeders on the Kennel Club's website, with a list of recommended health tests for each breed.
Although these sources are valuable for finding a puppy, its your responsibility to check that all the other things are in place, such as health test certificates, the mother being present with the litter.
Things to remember:
You may have to travel for the puppy you want!
Never have a puppy delivered to you!
Never buy from a Pet shop
Never buy from a newspaper advert
Never buy a puppy over the internet
If at any stage you are unhappy with the breeder walk away and find another breeder! Often you will have an idea after your initial phonecall as to whether the breeder is responsible or not.
If you are unsure whether a breeder is a responsible one, email us and we will try to help you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are the above pointers so important?