This is a very tough question because I’m personally involved in rescue but my love of dogs and the individual breeds makes me also a prime candidate for a pure bred. The truth is I have both. My two pure breeds (a lab and a vizsla) are rescues of a sort as the families that owned them couldn’t deal with or handle them. So Lesson One is that there are sometimes pure breed dogs available at your rescue. At Mostly Mutts, we’ve had Shelties, Boxers, Pomeranians, Great Danes, English Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Pugs, Shih Tzus, Beagles, Lhasa Apsos, Poodles, Miniature Pinschers and the list goes on.
But most of those dogs were not puppies so what do you do when you want to get your pure breed puppy? Lesson Two is that if you want a pure breed, do your homework and find a reputable breeder. So today, I’d like to talk about what to look for in a reputable breeder. In my profession, I see a lot of puppies that are in homes because someone walked by a pet store window and knowing nothing about the breed but spying this little package of puppy goodness, they had to have it. Getting a puppy is not an impulse buy! Here are the Kritter Keeper’s rules for getting the right puppy for your family.
- Research the breeds and what the right fit is for you and your lifestyle. If you like to lie on the couch all day then you should not an Australian Shepherd as Aussies like to work all day running around and herding everything! Maybe look at one of the less active companion breeds like a Chihuahua or Brussels Griffon. If you are looking for a larger dog, believe it or not Greyhounds are big couch potatoes or something giant like a Great Dane or Mastiff.
- Research the breeder. I would prefer to work with a breeder that is acknowledged by the AKC and fits their standards. There is a laundry list of things I want from the breeder.
- Certificate of Health — I want to know that some of the genetic things that a breed is prone to are not in the genes of her line. For instance, hip dysplasia in a German Shepherd or blindness in a Dalmation. To know what health risks a breed is known for see #1 on this list.
- Home visit with at least Mom if not Mom and Dad on site. I want to make sure I am not supporting puppy mills so I’m going to want to see what environment my puppy is growing up in and I want to check the temperament of Mom and Dad. I want to see the puppies before I choose and how they interact with the rest of the litter and the parents. I also want to make sure that the breeder is providing an interactive experience for the puppies to help them with their cognitive functions.
- Understand the genetic lines of the dog — maybe the breeder has more of a show dog line versus a pet dog line. If you aren’t going to show then perhaps you would be better suited to a pet dog line.
Whether you get your new puppy from a rescue or from a reputable breeder, enjoy all the puppy kisses!