Puppy Search 12: Finding a Breeder
The Puppy Search 12: Finding a breeder is a guide to find the best breeder for your puppy. You will learn what to look out for when choosing a breeder, which breeds are most popular among potential buyers and how much they charge. We explain why some dogs are not suitable for buying from pet shops or breeders, but others are. We also give advice on what to do if you have any problems with your new puppy. Finally, we tell you how to choose the right place to bring your new family member home!
What is a good breeder?
A good breeder is someone who takes care of their animals and makes sure they get the very best possible life. They are willing to spend money on training, health checks and vaccinations, so that their pups grow up healthy and strong. They are also willing to provide you with all the necessary paperwork, such as certificates of shots and vet records.
Why would I want a good breeder?
You may think that it’s just because you like shiny things. But there are many other reasons why you might want a good breeder:
They’re likely to take better care of my pup than a shopkeeper or pet store owner ever will.
You can rest assured that their dogs are well looked after, healthy and of good temperament.
They are likely to be more experienced breeders, so they will have the knowledge to help you with any problems that might crop up in the future.
A responsible breeder will ensure that your pet is fit and healthy before they part company. If they don’t, then you have a perfect right to go elsewhere.
What if I can’t find a good breeder within striking distance?
If you can’t find a good breeder near you, then don’t despair! There are many other options that you can pursue instead.
There are many advantages to getting your dog from a pet shop. The first one is obvious: convenience. You won’t have to travel anywhere or deal with any dodgy back-alley breeders. Instead, you can just go down to your local pet store and pick out the cutest puppy in the shop. The second advantage is price.
Most good breeders will charge an arm and a leg just for the pup alone, but pet shops have pups for relatively cheap – cheap enough for you to get two!
There are some things to watch out for, though. Make sure you always ask for paperwork showing that the puppy has been vaccinated and had it’s health checked by a vet before it was put up for sale. If you can’t get this, then you might want to think twice about buying the pup.
These are people who breed dogs in their backyards or in small holding pens. They often don’t have the right attitude to breeding – they’re in it for the money. This means that they will mate any two dogs and try to sell their puppies for as much money as possible, without regard for the health or quality of life of the puppies themselves or their parents.
You should always avoid these people like the plague. If you have a problem with the pet store your pup came from, then don’t buy it.
Rescue centres and charities:
It is very likely that even if you search high and low you will not be able to find a perfect puppy. This might sound strange coming from a book which is supposed to be about buying the perfect puppy, but it’s the truth. Sometimes you just won’t be able to find a puppy with all the qualities you desire. If this is the case, then your next best option is to go for a rescue dog or a charity puppy.
Rescue centres and charities often get dogs or puppies in from terrible situations. These pups will have been abused, neglected or just found themselves in bad circumstances through no fault of their own. The rescue centre will look after them until a new owner can be found. They also often have fully checked out and healthy dogs which have been abandoned or given up by their owners for one reason or another. If you want a dog but can’t find or don’t want a perfect puppy, then a rescue dog is the next best option.
Once again, there are unscrupulous people out there who put profit before the welfare of the dogs. Never, ever, buy a dog from a back-street breeder. There are many horror stories of the puppies these people sell often being very unhealthy or even being blind or deaf. If you do buy a dog, make sure you see it’s parents and that they are healthy and happy.
There are other options if you don’t want to buy a dog from a pet shop, back-street breeder, rescue centre or charity. These are less common and in some cases, very difficult to find. These are family friends or looking after strays.
Friends and Family:
If you have a family friend or know someone who has a dog and is moving away or just can’t keep it for whatever reason then you could ask if you could have the dog. This is assuming, of course, that the person is happy for you to have the dog and that the dog is healthy and happy.
This is the option which will need the most effort from you. You need to be able to tell the difference between a stray and a dog who has been abandoned. If you get it wrong and take home a dog which has been abandoned then you have to be able to look after it for life.
There are a number of ways to tell if a dog is a stray or not. One of the main ones is to offer it some food. Pick up a piece of bread or other food that can be easily carried and offered and slowly approach the dog with it. Most dogs will be wary of humans and will move away. A dog which is owned will either eat the food or at least take it from you.
A stray dog will be more wary and may move away, but more likely is that it will just watch you as it would a stranger.
Sources & references used in this article:
Pup production and distribution of breeding Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) at South Georgia by IL Boyd – Antarctic Science, 1993 – cambridge.org
Who cares? Individual contributions to pup care by breeders vs non-breeders in the cooperatively breeding banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) by JS Gilchrist, AF Russell – Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2007 – Springer
Cancer incidence in pet dogs: findings of the Animal Tumor Registry of Genoa, Italy by DF Merlo, L Rossi, C Pellegrino… – Journal of veterinary …, 2008 – Wiley Online Library
Helper effects on pup lifetime fitness in the cooperatively breeding red wolf (Canis rufus) by AM Sparkman, J Adams, A Beyer… – … of the Royal …, 2011 – royalsocietypublishing.org
Distribution, abundance and breeding cycle of the Australian sea lion Neophoca cinerea (Mammalia: Pinnipedia) by NJ Gales, PD Shaughnessy, TE Dennis – Journal of Zoology, 1994 – Wiley Online Library
Efficacy of drug detection by fully-trained police dogs varies by breed, training level, type of drug and search environment by T Jezierski, E Adamkiewicz, M Walczak… – Forensic Science …, 2014 – Elsevier
Mother‐young behaviour at Grey seal breeding beaches by SCL Fogden – Journal of Zoology, 1971 – Wiley Online Library