Where to find the right breeder?
After deciding what breed is right for you, you need to start to look for the right breeder.
To ensure that you will be getting a puppy that has been reared correctly and will be a healthy happy puppy it is always essential to do a lot of research on breeders. Choose one who has a waiting list. A good breeder will send you registration forms, and will want to know information about your family and home to ensure that your situation is suited to the breed.
The breeder has a duty to ensure that the dog and bitch are fit and healthy and will be suited to having a litter of puppies. They should provide proof of all health testing that has been carried out from both parents. The parents should have excellent temperaments and physically they should be of breed type and have the characteristics that is required for the breed.
Health tests will include hip and elbow scores. Eye testing is also an important test. Other tests may also have been carried out for specific breeds. All test results should be clear.
The information about which tests have been undertaken will be available on the Kennel Club website. You can also ask the breeder to show you documentation.
Champdogs is a good website for looking for reputable breeders. They will list what health tests have been done on the breeding parents.
Now that you have found a breeder for your future pup. It’s a great idea to make contact with them to talk to them.
Find out lots of information about the sire and dam.
Go and visit them. Meet the dam. See what her temperament is like. If you have children it is a great idea if the breeder has children or grandchildren that the puppies can be exposed to from a young age as this will make the transition from the breeders home into yours much easier. Take your children with you. Don’t just go on what the breeder says. See how the bitch interacts with you and the children.
If they don’t have the sire ask lots of questions about him. The same health tests should apply to the sire. The breeder should provide details of the owner of the sire.
Some behaviour traits can be passed down from the parents. It is essential that they are not aggressive or fearful as this trait can be passed to the puppies.
Find out if the puppies will be reared in the home or outside in a kennel.
If your puppy is going to live in your home it is better if you have a puppy that has been reared in the breeders home rather than in a kennel. This can affect many things including sensitivities to noises in the home and toilet training.
Your breeder has a duty to do as much as possible with the litter to give them the best possible start. Regularly handling the puppies and habituating correctly to the home environment is essential.
The more your breeder has done with the puppies to help them to adapt to living in a home the easier it will be for your puppy to adjust to living with you.
This habituation must then continue when you have your puppy home.
A good breeder won’t sell two or more puppies from the same litter to one family. This can be really difficult for the puppies when they are rehomed together and can cause multiple problems for the new owner. See our blog about sibling puppies.
The breeder should provide you with a contract.
This is really important. Some breeders will put endorsements and conditions in the contract.
The endorsements may prevent you from breeding your puppy, these can be lifted but only on agreement with your pups breeder.
They will provide you with a puppy pack that will contain lots of useful information to help you on the start of your journey with your puppy.
The conditions could include if you are unable to keep the puppy at any point during the dog’s life that you must make contact with the breeder before rehoming.
A good breeder will be happy to take the puppy back no matter what the circumstances are and to find them another suitable home.
It is a good sign if the breeder has a waiting list for their puppies. It is a great sign if they have homes ready for the puppies rather than having to advertise.
They will have a good understanding of their puppies and will be able to match the puppy to you to help ensure that you are a good match.
When the bitch has had her pups. You will be notified by the breeder if there is a puppy available for you. You will be invited to go and visit the puppies with the mother. You should see them together. Try and visit a few times before you are going to bring your puppy home.
Leave something with the breeder that has your scent on. A t-shirt or teddy. The breeder will give this back to you when you collect your puppy, It will help the transition of your puppy settle into their new home a little easier.
The puppies will be a minimum of 8 weeks when they can join your family.
By this time they will have had their microchip and usually their 1st vaccination. Your breeder will provide you with the information within your puppy pack of how you can change the ownership on the microchip and will also give you your puppy’s vaccination card. You will need to give this to your vet when you take your puppy for their 2nd vaccination.
Puppy Farms and Irresponsible Breeders
How to tell if you are buying from a puppy farm or an irresponsible breeder?
A puppy farm isn’t a “farm”. It is a term that is used for when puppies aren’t bred from responsible breeders. Some people will buy litters of puppies and sell them on to people who aren’t aware of the risks. The bitch often isn’t present. The seller will make an excuse, for example, “she’s been taken for a walk as she needs a break from the puppies”. “She’s at the vets or groomers”.
The bitch MUST always be present when you are buying a puppy. You should see her with the pups. You should see the puppies together. There are times when this may not be possible if there is a puppy that is last to go in the litter. However if you have been in contact with the breeder before the litter has been born you should be able to see all the siblings.
Puppies should be 8 weeks old when they go to their new home.