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A New Puppy
- The Importance of Finding a Responsible Breeder

by Brigitte Smith

A new puppy in the family is a such an exciting time for all concerned.  What a wonderful time you'll have creating a bond with your puppy with lots of cuddling, trips outside and walks in the park, as the puppy is quickly accepted as an integral part of the family.  

But where are you going to get your new puppy from?  This is just such a important question to consider.  There are a number of options - breeder, pet shop, shelter, advertisements for dogs being given away (or sold) by private families who don't breed dogs as a vocation.

This article will focus only on the option of buying from a breeder of some description (as opposed to the alternatives of pet shop - definitely not recommended - or shelter - highly recommended unless you're after a particular type of pedigree puppy).

So, if you're thinking of buying from a breeder, you will definitely want to be sure you choose a responsible breeder versus a backyard breeder (those who may only breeding for financial benefits).  In some circumstances you might certainly consider a "new" or "single" breeder - someone who has bred their pet in order to have the experience, as opposed to doing it for the money.

But in general terms, most people would prefer a registered breeder simply because they can have greater confidence in the breeder's credentials.

When looking for your new dog, there are things you need to expect from your breeder as well as some things the breeder will expect from you.  You can find a reputable breeder through personal references or recommendations, or from information provided by your vet or by a registered breeders organization.  Once you have found a responsible breeder, you may be surprised by the types of probing questions you may be asked.  This is actually quite acceptable – in fact, the more questions the breeder asks you, the greater their interest in placing their pups in a suitable home.

From a responsible breeder you can expect to be asked such things as your work schedule, who lives in the house with you, what your yard layout is like and the kind of friends you have that may be visiting you in your home.  Although these seem like personal questions, they indicate that the breeder cares what kind of home their puppy may be going to. A breeder who asks no questions and is just looking for the sale generally won’t offer you the same quality and breed of puppies as the responsible breeder will.

Another perk to buying a puppy from a responsible breeder is that you will be told the lineage that the puppy came from.  In other words, you’ll be privy to the father’s as well as the mother’s heritage, and will be given the papers to prove it.  This can be an important aspect of buying a puppy because personalities, as well as health issues, are generally hereditary, and it’s encouraging to know that your puppy is from good stock.  Often, a backyard breeder or pet store simply won’t offer this type of information.  Buying from a pet store is NOT recommended. Pet store puppies often come from a puppy mill—a relative breeding farm—and they are sold on a first come, first serve basis.  Questions aren’t asked of the buyer, and no attention is paid to the puppy’s welfare. 

A responsible breeder will expect the buyer to have questions and concerns of their own.  A buyer should not be afraid to ask questions about this new life you will be taking into your home.  Here are a few things you should ask your breeder about as well as some expectations that you should have:

· Is there a signed veterinary health certificate, plus a written health guarantee from the breeder, including one against congenital defects?  (Any reputable breeder will expect to supply such a guarantee).
· Is there a completed eye screening certificate and OFA or Penn Hip certificate? 
· Does the breeder have a written contract available for you to sign, specifying the rights of the seller and also the breeder’s rights?  (Not every breeder will have this, but it’s useful to have the parties’ rights clearly spelled out in writing just in case there is any problem with the puppy).
· Is all health information available and up to date?
· Can the breeder provide AKC or CKC registration papers on the puppy?
· What is the lineage of the puppies?  (A responsible breeder should be able to tell you lineage from generations back, as well as giving you a family tree of the puppy).

Responsible breeders will not only be able to help you find the puppy that is right for you, but will be happy to give you tips on raising and caring for your new bundle of joy.  As long as you find a responsible breeder, your prospect of find the perfect puppy for you are greatly enhanced.

I Am Your Puppy - What Your Puppy Needs From You!


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