Well as you know, I’m a big believer of taking responsibility as a dog owner and I strongly believe it starts right at the beginning, so making the right choice like I’ve mentioned before.
Equally when you’re researching your breeds and breeders, being aware of how to find your puppy is key. There are many sources of puppies - some good, some not so good, and then there are some really bad. Finding a healthy puppy that has been well reared by a caring breeder will get you both off to a good start.
Things to consider:
Once you’ve responsibly decided that a dog is what you and your family want and can accommodate, and you’ve decided on what type of dog you want, your next step is to find a healthy puppy with a fabulous temperament. I looked for a long time and waited on a waiting list to get Rew because the reviews on the temperament were exceptional, so make sure you do your research (it’s harder than it seems). Finding a breeder is easy, but finding not just good ones, but exceptional ones is even harder.
Here are some key reasons breeders have litters:
Apart from the last two, all are perfectly acceptable reasons. It’s worth asking if the breeder has taken into consideration the health and temperament when breeding and never compromised any of these areas in order to have another litter.
I personally found going to shows and speaking to breeders was a productive way to get recommendations from people. Being around your chosen breed is also a great way to really understand your breed. Talk to the owners, and find out their way of living to see whether that breed is still compatible with you and your family.
Don’t forget dog rescue homes often have whole litters or single, slightly older puppies (both pure and cross breed) that are all in need of a good home and will grow to make excellent pets.
This is a really important area and, for me, more important than the claim most people will make that “his great grandad was in Crufts” - this is wonderful news, but I would be more interested in the health credentials so my dog wasn’t inheriting some dysfunctional gene pool that could affect the quality of life my puppy would grow up to have.
It’s particularly important if you are looking at pedigrees that may not be so popular therefore have come from small gene pools and possibly interbreeding, which can result in serious genetic diseases and defects.
It’s vital to do your research and see what tests are appropriate for your particular breed, what scores you should be looking for and what they mean. Ask for paperwork on both parents and grandparents, if this isn’t available then be suspicious - it would be worth finding another breeder who is willing to answer your questions.
This is again is so important and has a huge bearing on moving forward with your puppy. The right breeder will be shaping your puppy's future from all of their hard work and awareness at this very sensitive time. (Read more in my Top Tips on Breeders post)
The best environment for your puppy is that of a home environment, as this is what will be expected of them when arriving back with its new family. Those first exposures to sights, smells and feelings help your puppy take on the world.
If you go to view a puppy and they’re in kennels or a multiple breeding area, it could imply the breeder is only having litters for financial gain rather than the welfare of the puppies.
You should be very mindful that those very first few weeks will have a huge impact on your puppy through to adult life, so make sure you’re completely satisfied with what you’re seeing and how the breeder is when it comes to knowing how important those first few weeks are. Does the breeder talk you through what measures are in place to start the puppy toilet training? or what they plan to or have done regarding socialisation and habituation? These are very important to you and the breeder's care and commitment to this stage of Puppy's life should be evident.
You should be able to meet the puppy's mother - again be suspicious if this isn’t allowed. If she’s not there that’s not a good sign, as it could be that the puppy has been taken from a puppy farm. Alternatively, if the mother isn’t socialable then this too isn’t a good sign either, as she’ll have been teaching the puppies for the first 8 weeks of their life, so any bad habits will be picked up by Puppy. If they’re trying to not show where mother is this could be because the conditions are so bad, this isn’t ideal.
It’s up to you to choose a healthy puppy of sound temperament, so ensure you are fully prepared and well researched to make this choice.