A guide to finding the right breeder…
Having seen in the press recently so many sad stories about puppies who have come home and sadly passed away with health issues or being re-homed because people couldn’t cope with them. It seems there’s a real lack of understanding around where people should be buying puppies from and what they should be looking for. Puppies are in high demand at the moment, make sure you’ve thought it through before you get one it shouldn’t be a quick and easy decision. You have around 15 years with a dog in your life. They’re part of your family. If shouldn’t be a decision based on how much a puppy costs and how soon you can have it.
Research the breed you’re interested in
This is critical! Don’t just buy on cuteness. A good breeder will specialise in that breed and know their dogs inside out and therefore their characteristics and breed traits. Find out how big they’re expected to grow, how much exercise they’ll need, if they need to see the groomer on a regular basis. There’s no point buying a Husky and expecting it to be happy living in a flat with one walk a day, these dogs are bred to go in a sled and run for 8 hours a day. Likewise you should expect a cockapoo to be full of energy, it’s a cross of two working breeds and will need regular grooming both at home and in the salon. Its so important that you understand the emotional needs and behaviour traits of your potential new dogs.
Find a breeder that is registered
A good breeder will be registered with the Kennel Club they will have undergone a rigorous process to be affiliated with them and this is a sure sign of a good responsible breeder that is registered and licensed.
Expect an interrogation!
A good breeder will want to know everything about and your family before they let their puppy go home with you. Don’t be put off! This means that they’re passionate and care about where each puppy goes to. A good breeder will want to know if you work full time or not, if you do, what care plan is in place for the puppy? They’ll want to know if you have had this breed or if you have had a dog before (some breeds can be very hard work if you haven’t had a dog before). They’ll want to know if you have children and how old they are. It’s lovely for puppies and children to go up together but there needs to be boundaries for both! Don’t be disheartened if you’re turned down the breeder is likely doing you a favour.
Any responsible breeder will get you to sign a contract and will happily take back a puppy from you if it isn’t suited. They will make you aware of the coats associated with owning a dog, they have nothing to hide and want the perfect partnership for you. This is why they are so rigorous in making sure a puppy is placed in the right home in the first place.
A good breeder who is registered will health test their dogs, this ensures healthy and strong puppies that will hopefully avoid conformation and other health issues that can cause pain, distress and be life limiting.
It’ll be worth the wait
The chances are once you’ve found a good breeder it’ll be quite a wait before you bring your puppy home. This is a good thing! Puppies shouldn’t be a case of nipping on the internet, finding the closest puppy and having it home in your house by tea time. A good breeder will have a waiting list which ensures you’re committed to the decision. There’s no telling how many puppies there will be in a litter sometimes it can just be one or two or there can be huge litters, it completely depends! A breeder will have a rough idea when the bitch is due in season and will keep in regular contact with you.
Visiting the breeder
Expect to be invited along to meet your breeder. They will want to meet you face to face before accepting you onto their list. This is a really reassuring sign, you’ll get chance to meet the mum and sometimes dad too (though not always as stud dogs are often from different breeders). The breeder will usually take you through their bloodlines and any accolades that they have.
Seeing the puppies
This is the most exciting part, seeing your puppy for the very first time. This will just be a visit you won’t be taking your puppy home with you as they’ll be too young. You should always make sure that the mum is present and you should be able to see the whole litter with their mum, in their environment. If a puppy is bought out to you for you to see or you can’t see the whole litter together with their mum then this should start ringing alarm bells.
Pick of the litter
Chance are you won’t get pick of the litter. The breeder will have delivered these puppies, watched them grow over the last 8 weeks and see their personalities develop. Based on the information that you have given your breeder whilst you’ve been patiently waiting, they’ll have a really good idea of which puppy will be suited to your lifestyle.
A good breeder will always send you home with a puppy pack. This is usually advice about feeding/worming/injections as well as a few weeks insurance and a bag of the food that your puppy is currently eating. At 8 weeks old your puppy will be bouncing around, with very sharp teeth, fully alert, with open eyes and into everything. With the regular support and communication you have had with your breeder you should be fully set up for welcoming your new puppy home.
You’ll be in regular contact with your breeder for the first few weeks as your puppy settles. They also have a lifelong interest in your puppy and will be there to offer help and advice. It’s also a really good idea to have spoken to a few dog trainers/groomers/vets whilst you have been waiting for your puppy to arrive so that you can check them out and get on their waiting lists too so you and your puppy start a happy and healthy bond for life.
I hope this helps you in your search for the right breeder for your perfect puppy. In April 2020 Lucy’s Law came into effect, so hopefully we’ll begin to see a reduction in puppy farming and backyard breeding. Hopefully it’ll soon start to crack down on dogs being smuggled into the country from abroad too (Like Miss Prim) but that is a discussion for another day!