How To Select The Right Puppy

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How To Select The Right Puppy

by Charles Christian

Bringing a puppy into your home can be an extremely rewarding experience, but is something that should not be done on the spur of the moment. Choosing the appropriate puppy will best be accomplished by taking your time to research your breed of interest as well as the breeder or individual of whom you are considering a purchase. Before making a decision, be certain that you are committed to the lifetime care and ownership of the puppy.

During the research phase, some of your questions can be answered as you consult with other owners of your breed of choice. Their experience and knowledge of the breed will help you in making a more informed decision. Most dog breeds were developed for specific functions, and as a result, have their own defining characteristics. Consider a breed?s personality and traits, level of activity, and space requirements in determining how easily (or difficult) it will be for them to adapt to your environment and lifestyle.

Once you have made a decision on your breed choice, you should begin looking for a responsible breeder. Since they can be found in both small and large kennel settings, you should look for someone who consistently produces healthy dogs. One way to find out more about a breeder is by asking for references from their customers. Most individuals are happy to share their positive or negative experiences concerning the selection and purchase of their canine, especially with someone of like interest. Another source of reference would be the breeder?s veterinarian. They might be able to offer some good information about the history and practices of the breeder. Remember, a responsible breeder is someone who cares about each of their puppies (even after they are placed into new homes) and should be willing to offer advice and support throughout the lifetime of the dog.

Another important factor to evaluate is the breeder?s kennel (or home if that?s where the puppies are kept). If the environment is not clean, go no further. Also, human contact is very important in the first few weeks of a puppy?s life, as it establishes the human-to-puppy bond. Find out if the puppies have had some contact and interaction with people. When examining the puppy(ies), check to see if they are healthy looking and energetic, or shy and afraid. Look for any sign of discharge coming from the puppy(ies) nose or eyes. Make sure that they are up to date on all vaccinations and have been de-wormed.

If possible, ask to look at the parent dogs as well, making sure they appear healthy, move freely, and have sound temperaments. Sometimes, in the interest of producing an exceptional litter of puppies, a breeder will go outside of his own kennel in search of a suitable stud. If that?s the case, you might want to request pictures of the male and obtain the owner?s contact information for future reference or questions.

Consider your comfort level with the breeder as you communicate with them. You should be able to express your thoughts and ask questions easily. And they should be able to answer all questions, including those related to training, grooming, and general health care.

A good breeder will be just as curious about you as you are of them, asking questions about your interests as a prospective owner of one of their puppies. Find out if they are active in a breed club or if they participate in dog shows or any type of canine sporting events. If so, it would be a good indication that they are keeping up with changing views on health concerns and staying informed about their specific breeds.

Last, but not least, a good breeder should provide you with all of the appropriate documentation, including a contract, registration application, vet health certificate, and a health guarantee. Continental Kennel Club offers puppy registration and many other products and services that will be highly useful for new dog owners.

Choosing the right breed of dog and finding a good, reputable breeder may seem like a lot of unnecessary work, but if you take the time to make cautious, informed choices before you purchase a puppy, you will have a more satisfying experience in your search for a new canine companion.

This article was featured in the Continental Kennel Club quarterly magazine. For more information please go to

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