How to Research a Good Local Puppy Dog Breeder
Things You Should Know First and Questions to Ask a Dog Breeder
I know some of my friends are ‘adopt don’t shop,’ but I feel there are also great reasons to purchase a pure-bred dog from a responsible dog breeder. As I’m typing this, I think maybe that would be another great topic for the blog, but right now I’ve had a lot of requests on how to find a responsible breeder. Here are some things to consider when looking for a good breeder.
Research Your Dog Breed
This is a must in my book. If you are looking to purchase a puppy from a breeder, I think it’s only fair to understand your chosen breed’s physical and behavioral characteristics. Of course, not all dogs read their dog breed manual, but it’s a great starting point.
Where to Learn about Your Dog Breed
The internet is amazing in this first step. A simple search, such as “Cavalier King Charles Spaniel National Breed Club,” will pull up a few great sites for breed specific information. Spend some time reading all about your breed to learn about your breed’s grooming care, behavior traits, size, and medical concerns.
I highly recommend really reading and understanding the medical concerns. Some breeds are prone to hereditary conditions. A national breed club website is likely to suggest specific screening of the Sire and Dam (parents) of dogs prior to breeding to help reduce the risk of disease. ‘Reduce the risk’ is the key phrase, but it’s never certain. A good dog breeder really tries to help increase the health of the breed by breeding healthy and tested dogs.
Puppy Socialization Starts with the Puppy Breeder
Puppies are developing both physically and mentally right out of the gate, and even during pregnancy! A stressed mom can produce stressed, unhealthy puppies. A responsible breeder that is ensuring both the physical and mental well-being of their puppies will start with basic puppy socialization at their home. This may include introducing the puppies to children, adults, outdoors, handling and grooming, and even textures and obstacles.
Finding a Puppy Breeder Listing
Many national breed clubs will provide a breeder list. This is a great place to start to learn about specific breeders. I would suggest starting with a specific mile radius that you are willing to drive to meet the breeder and the puppies. You can start by looking at a breeder’s website. Look for information on health testing and puppy socialization.
When you find a few breeders that look good on paper, shoot them an email or give them a call. Talk with them about your goals and hopes for your new family member. You are looking for a connection with a breeder just like you are looking for a connection with your puppy.
Meet the Breeder and Their Dogs
I’m a fan of setting up a date and time to meet the breeder in their home and visit with their dogs. Seeing the living situation and behavior of their dogs in person is a great indicator of how the puppies will turn out. I would suggest looking for happy breeding dogs that are part of the family. When I suggested this concept to a Facebook group, I had some breeders that were really unhappy with that idea. They felt that was an invasion of privacy and waste of time. They have every right to choose how they want to sell their puppies, but for me, I also have a right to choose what is important to me in the puppy-buying decision.
Visiting Dexter The Dog
Choosing a Puppy
I think this is another article in itself. But, a few highlights to get you started. TAKE YOUR TIME! This is not a time to make a quick decision or an impulse buy or think “we can make it work.” You are in the process of choosing your next family member. A living creature with strong emotions that will hopefully be with you for the next ten to twenty years. Twenty? I know… I have high hopes for all the amazing dogs out there. 😉
Before meeting the puppies, have an idea about what you want to do with your puppy and future dog. Are you looking for a canine athlete? Or maybe a therapy dog to visit children or the elderly. The personality traits of those two puppies can be quite different, so knowing your goals will help in choosing the best puppy for you, your family and goals. Need help in choosing the right puppy for your family? I offer in-home or phone services to help you choose the right puppy!
Taking Your Puppy Home
Picking up a new puppy typically happens when the pup is between 8-12 weeks of age. I prefer the latter when the puppy is in a great environment with other aunties and puppies for socialization. Prepare your car for your new puppy prior to arriving at the breeder’s home. Some items you may want to have on hand are a travel crate, puppy blankets, healthy treats, water and bowl, and a leash and harness. If your journey includes an overnight stay, make sure you pack items for the dog-friendly hotel stay.
I personally would never fly any of my pets in cargo. I would also never have my puppy shipped to me. Again, no cargo for me and I would want to meet the breeder, meet the dogs, meet the puppies, etc. If you are planning on a plane ride home, check with the airlines on what they will need prior to your departure.
Staying in Contact with Your Puppy Breeder
When breeders are really trying to do well by the breed, they may ask you to provide specific health tests on your puppy through his life. This is a good thing. This means the puppy breeder is looking to see how the puppies develop, and if there are any medical concerns over his life, they may not breed that breeding pair again. In my book, this speaks volumes about what a responsible breeder really is.
Now that you have a healthy and behaviorally healthy puppy, it’s now your job to start puppy socialization and puppy training. You and your puppy are ready for a lifetime of fun and joy.
Do you travel with your dog? Tell me in the comments.
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