Archive for Finding the right Breeder
The first step in buying the right puppy is finding the right breeder. As with any other major purchase, you need to research, evaluate and plan. When it comes time to meet potential breeders, it’s important to not be swept away by puppy cuteness. The best breeders will hold up well under close inspection, here are some tips on what to look for.
The biologists have also found that when one looks at a relationship tree of modern and ancient dog breeds, there is surprising structure to it, and the structure mimics the classifications of dogs by breeders into herding dogs, retrievers, sight hounds, small terriers and others.
There is a surprising genetic structure that accords with functional classifications — suggesting that new breeds are developed from crosses within specific breed groups that share particular traits. If they want a new sight hound, they tend to cross sight hounds with each other, and the same with herding dogs and retrieving dogs. That may not seem so surprising, but we had no reason to think beforehand that these groups would be strongly genealogical.
There are some notable exceptions, such as ‘toy dogs.’ In this grouping, there are many different kinds of lineages represented, including traces of herding dogs and retrievers. When it comes to miniaturizing a dog, breeders start with a larger breed and cross that with a miniature dog to make a dwarfed breed on a new genetic background, causing the mixing of various lineages. It’s a mix-and-match approach for some of these breed groupings. But in other cases, new breeds have been based on combinations of breeds that have specific traits.
A happy home
If possible, arrange a home visit. Make sure you are comfortable with the environment where the puppies are being raised. Some breeders will have a puppy area set up in their kitchen or family room, others will utilize a more traditional kennel environment. In any case, the puppies should have daily interaction with people and they should look clean and well cared for. Within reason, the breeder should allow you access to areas where the dogs are kept. If you get a bad feeling, odds are this is not the breeder for you. Be wary of a breeder who wants you to take home a puppy on the first visit.
Puppies should appear healthy and happy. The breeder should be knowledgeable about any health problems affecting the breed, and be able to show you health-clearance documentation for both parents. Discharge coming from the eyes or nose is a red flag; beware of anyone who seems apathetic about a potential illness.
Though your instinct may be to save an unhealthy puppy, you will experience much more heartache down the road, and worse, you will have financially supported a bad breeder. Good breeders know what you need to do to keep your puppy healthy.
A typical temperament
Do your homework on the breed’s temperament. While some breeds will approach you willingly, other breeds are more apt to watch from afar. Odds are, the temperament displayed by the breeder’s adult dogs will be the one your puppy will inherit. If they seem overly skittish or aggressive, take note. The exception is the puppies’ mother; her main priority is protecting her young, so don’t take it personally if she doesn’t seem thrilled to see you.
An in-depth interview
To buy from a good breeder, you have to find one who is looking for good owners. Breeders determine suitability by asking you a lot of questions about your life and family. It may seem invasive, but they have your best interests at heart. A good breeder will want you to ask a lot of questions as well, so don’t be shy. Beware of a breeder whose only question is, “Will you be paying with cash or a cheque?”
A clear understanding
For many good breeders, the puppy heading home with you is just the start of your relationship. Some will want a lot of contact, others are happy with the occasional update. Always choose a breeder that you would be comfortable asking for advice, as they are an invaluable source of information on the breed.
Make sure you are given all the required paperwork, and are clear about the breeder’s expectations. You may be required to sign a non-breeding agreement. Many breeders will want the dog returned to them if you are unable to keep it. If you have everything in writing you can avoid nasty surprises down the road.