If you’re in the market for a purebred dog, you’ll need to find a good dog breeder from which to purchase the animal. This can often be as easy as opening the classified advertising section of your local newspaper, but you’ll want to be sure that the breeder you’ve chosen is reputable. There are several ways to help ensure that the breeder you’ve found knows his stuff and is reliable, professional, and trustworthy.
Ask for References
Any good breeder will be able to provide you references of clients he has worked with in the past. These will be people who have purchased a puppy or utilized stud services and will be happy to share their experiences with you. Choosing a breeder that was used by someone you know is a good choice as well. If your friend or family member was happy with the service and treatment he or she received from the breeder, the odds are good that you will be as well.
Prepare to Answer Questions
A good dog breeder will have as many questions for you as you have for him, perhaps more. Good breeders work to ensure that the dogs they breed are placed with the correct people. They may ask whether you have children, what size home or yard you have, and numerous other questions to help them let you know whether the dog you’re seeking is right for you and your family. A breeder that doesn’t ask these types of questions may be looking just for the money from the sale of the dog and is probably not the sort of breeder you want to do business with. A good breeder always has the best interest of both the dog and the clients in mind.
A good dog breeder will have had the puppies checked for potential health risks before ever selling the animal. Some problems, however, simply are not detectable until later in life. If you purchase a golden retriever pup, for example, and six months later discover that it has hip dysplasia (a genetic defect in the animals hip joints, it is often nearly undetectable until the animal is several months old), a good breeder will issue a refund to you, no questions asked. Genetic defects like this are avoided by the use of selective breeding (hip dysplasia in dogs has between a 25% and 85% chance that it is genetic in origin), but sometimes a pup will display the disorder even if there is no trace of it in either parent’s history.
Each breed of dog has genetic disorders that are more common that others, such as cataracts or hip dysplasia. In the case these disorders can be screened for in the parents, that should be done before the breeding happens. For this reason, dogs should not be bred before 2 years of age as that is the youngest age many health checks can be performed. Hip dysplasia is a good example of this as hip x-rays can be taken at 2 years old and sent for certification. This does not guarantee against health problems but definitely helps to encourage good breeding.
Whenever possible you should be able to meet both parents of the litter. Often the sire of the litter will belong to a different owner and will not be on site, but should you wish to meet the father the owners should be able to arrange this. If the owners are hesitant to allow this then that should raise red flags.
Sources for Finding a Good Dog Breeder
Aside from looking in the newspaper or on the internet for a dog breeder, breeders can be found through veterinarian’s offices, pet supply stores, and at dog shows. Dog shows are a very good choice since the breeders that attend these events are often showing one of their dogs or are there to see the performance of one that they bred and sold in the past. These days you can also join the nation breed club or join social media groups for the breed. You will get to know quite a bit about the breed as well as become familiar with breeders across the country. They often make announcements when they have a litter on the way!
The moral of the story is that you are adding a new member to your family. Don’t rush the process and do lots of research before acquiring a puppy. Then you can enjoy your new best friend knowing you made a great decision!