As with any expensive purchase, buying a purebred puppy requires a great deal of planning before any definitive moves are made. Along with the purchase of the dog itself, you must also consider cost of medical care, dog food, dog toys, miscellaneous necessities and the time and attention that must be required for a healthy dog. It is important to make a checklist of the responsibilities that must be executed. These responsibilities include delegating walks, dog training, cost/bills anddog clean-up; you must also think about whom will watch the dog while you’re on vacation and whether your house will accommodate a pet. Most importantly, are you prepared for a commitment of 10 to 15 years?
Once you have decided that you are prepared to accept all of the entailed responsibilities, you now need to decide which dog breed best suits your lifestyle and home layout.
A large breed is obviously not ideal if you live in a small condo or apartment. They may also not be a good choice if your furnishings are delicate, expensive and can be easily knocked over. Take shedding into consideration. Some breeds shed constantly, while others tend to part with the bulk of their loose hair in the spring and fall. Family allergies also may play a part in this decision. Dog grooming requirements and attached fees also may be something that you want to think about when deciding on a breed. Each breed has its own characteristics and temperaments; you should do some research on how your desired breed acts before committing to a purchase.
The advantage of going with a purebred is that they are bred to meet certain criteria, such as size and temperament. Make sure that the breed you choose is actually a recognized breed; there are many popular cross-breeds on the market which are often sold with the implication that they are a purebred.
Impulse buying is not helpful when looking for a quality pet, especially a purebred. It is important to shop around and assess all available options. The condition of the dogs and the kennel will be an indication of the quality of the breeder; avoid pet shops entirely.
In addition to the puppy, there is a list of other things you should be receiving from your breeder including:
- A breed standard – Every breeder should have a breed standard on hand and should be able to indicate major, minor and disqualifying faults.
- Major breed problems – Breeders should be aware of major breed problems; every breed has a few. Some occur with less frequency than others and are attempted to be bred out by the breeder. Some of these problems include Hip Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and heart disease.
- Pedigree specific faults – The breeder should know their own pedigrees well and should know of faults which their own lines may carry. They should be willing to put this information into writing, as well as any action they will take if said faults are displayed by the puppy.
- Proof of testing – Ask to see the OFA papers to prove that their dogs have been x-rayed and are free of hip and elbow dysplasia. If these papers cannot be produced for both parents, do not purchase the puppy. Also ask to see all certification that the parents have been checked for PRA within the last 12 months. Proof of vaccinations should be included, as well.
- References – These can be obtained from previous customers, other breeders, trainers, veterinarians and breed club affiliations.
- Care instructions – Breeders should provide some sort of written instruction on how to properly care for your new puppy. Most will give you a window of 48 to 72 hours to have the puppy checked with your own veterinarian for reassurance.
- Sales contract – For your protection, ensure that the sales contract indicates the breed of dog, proof that it is in fact a purebred and eligible for registration by the American Kennel Club. The contract should be read thoroughly!