|United's Stop the Press (Roman) and Caryola's Tiny Dancer (Madeline)|
So you think that you want an intelligent and powerful Doberman Pinscher (Roman and Madeline my guardians), a very smart and fun Standard Poodle (Yay Teddy!), a mellow Yellow Lab (Very sweet Mulligan), or hard-wired hunting dog like the German Shorthaired Pointer (Go Naala!) - well let me help you get started on your journey to find your chosen purebred dog (and yes it is a journey) the right way.
So you have done your research (which will include speaking to your veterinarian, reading books, talking to dog owners and trainers, doing Internet searches and talking to experts on the breed) on what purebred dog breed is most suitable for your lifestyle, pocketbook, family, travel plans, and career demands - now it is time to find a breeder who will sell you a puppy.
If the breeder is good - expect to be put through a series of interviews, visits and reference checks and you will have to wait for a puppy because a good breeder does not churn out puppies every year. And, if they do....run and run fast! Also, be prepared for a wait list and to provide a deposit. It is a good thing to have to wait as it will give you time to prepare and purchase all the items you need to get started with your puppy, including finding a pet services professional to assist with training your new puppy.
REMEMBER: Dogs are not disposable and having a dog is a huge and expensive commitment and you may have your dog for 10 years or more, depending on the breed.
Here are the cold hard facts...
There are not alot of good breeders out there - so be prepared to do your homework not only on the breed of dog you want but also who to purchase your new puppy from. VERY IMPORTANT: Stay away from pet stores that sell puppies (already banned in some cities - way to go Richmond, BC), puppies sold over the Internet, puppy mills and 'back-yard' breeders. If you do not heed this advice, you will be heartbroken at the very least but more likely heartbroken and financially broken with a puppy that has nothing but problems, medical, physical and psychological. And, your new puppy may not even make it to adolescence.
Some experts say one of the best ways to find a breeder is at a dog show. While this is one way - the way I recommend is to (once you have determined the breed for you and your family) contact the local club chapter of the breed. For example, if you are interested in a Great Dane puppy then you should head to the BC Great Dane Club's web site for information on how to contact a breeder of these dogs. You can contact any of the officers of the Club and they should be more than happy to talk to you about their breed and will be able to put you in touch with a list of breeders who you can contact. These breeders can also be found at a dog show but a list may help you narrow it down and you may even be able to get a personal reference on a breeder (although not guaranteed). Hopefully, as part of your breed research you have already done this but if not it is never too late to educate yourself. You can also stop someone while they are walking their dog (people stop me all the time and ask me about my dog) and ask them about the breed and their own breeder. This is an excellent way to get candid information about both the breed and the breeder and people love to brag about their dogs.
When you first speak to your potential breeder you can expect her be a little cold - keep in mind that she probably speaks to a great deal of people looking for a puppy and not all of them have genuine intentions. So consider the initial contact you make with your potential breeder as part of their screening process. Have your ducks in a row and your questions on paper so you do not waste her time and yours. By the time you contact a breeder you should already know a great deal about the breed and you are looking for expert insider information, clarification on health issues and faults of the breed and the chance to be invited to the breeder's home to meet her dogs. Usually, you will meet the dam (mother or potential mother) of your puppy. I can remember back when I met my first breeder and her Dobermans - it was a life changing experience one that I will never forget. While she was testing me to see how I was with her three Dobermans - I was in total awe of this breed that was and still is second to none in my eyes. So when you first speak to the breeder, I recommend not starting off with "When will you have a puppy and how much?" but tell the breeder you are interested in a puppy and you would like to know her process for you to obtain a puppy, i.e.: is there a wait list, does she have any pet quality puppies now that are not spoken for (unless you are interested in showing), how much she may charge, how does the deposit work, does she have a sales contract, what is her return policy, does she socialize the puppies, how old are the puppies when she releases them, what shots do they have, does she offer telephone or email assistance after you take one of her puppies home, etc. You should have already discovered the breed problems through your research and she will be able to elaborate in a way that explains the risk of these problems. Every purebred has them - so beware of a breeder who says otherwise. YOU MUST BE INFORMED SO DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
I should note that there are some very worthy rescue groups and shelters doing very commendable work out there who have wonderful mixed breeds for adoption, if that is the road you choose that is up to you, however, I prefer the purebreds. The advantage of purchasing a purebred is that they are bred to meet certain standards of size and temperament. So be sure that when you purchase your purebred puppy that she is an actual purebred and ask for her papers and pedigrees. There are many mixed breeds being sold, like that of the Doodle, Puggle or Schnoodle and such that are not purebreds and are often sold with the implication they are purebreds and they quite simply are not and may never be. A list of accepted purebreds can be found on the Canadian Kennel Club web site (just google it).
The information I have provided here is only a very small piece of the purchasing a new purebred puppy pie - but it will be enough to get you started in the right direction. You have alot of work to do in order to get the best breeder and the best possible purebred puppy so get busy. There is lots of information on my web site that will assist you as well.
Remember a healthy purebred puppy of a well-researched breed that is suitable for your lifestyle that you purchased from a good breeder may bring you a life time of pure joy with your love, kindness and training to support her and anything less than this will bring you just the opposite, in spades I might add.
Lee, Madeline and Roman