by Barry B. Burtis D.V.M.
Shopping for a new canine companion is quite a unique experience. It's not like a routine trip to the mall nor even like buying a new car. It's something you may only do a few times in your life. It should not be done on an impulse or be rushed or hurried. It's always a good idea to seek some advice on the matter.
Fortunately, there are usually a number of sources where a 'best friend' can be found. Humane societies and animal welfare organizations care for large numbers of dogs, anxiously awaiting the chance to share life with a loving owner. Virtually every breed of dog has a rescue organization devoted to finding homes for individuals that for some reason have had a failed family situation. Despite frequently cited comments to the contrary, by some, in my opinion, wonderful puppies can come from pet stores. Nevertheless, when it comes to locating a new pup, at least if it's a purebred being sought, most veterinarians advise trying to buy it from a breeder.
There are a number of reasons for this. It is usually best if a puppy at a very fragile stage of its life can go directly from one home to the next. The less disruption in diet, handling and exposure to new environments and other animals, the better. Also, who better than the breeder to offer advice and guidance, related to breed and family history, to the new pet owner. Well, if this is the case, how can you tell if the breeder you're consulting is a good one? How do you rate a breeder?
A good dog breeder should want to provide a healthy, happy pup and a good customer experience in the process. A good breeder also should want to ensure that the new puppy owner will be able to supply a lifetime of care for this little creature being turned over to them. Here are some points to think about when selecting a dog breeder as a source for your dog.
A good breeder should be happy to tell you about their experience with the breed. They should be proud of their dogs and the puppies they are offering for sale. Take the opportunity to meet the parents and other relatives of the pup, if possible. Learn about the pup's pedigree.
Make note of the kennel facilities. A good breeder will provide comfortable, clean housing and there should be evidence of good care being given to their dogs. They should be very willing to give a tour of the property.
It is always a positive if the breeder belongs to the Canadian Kennel Club as well as regional breed specific clubs. A good reputation with their peers is important.
A good breeder will show an interest in you and your ability to be a good dog owner.
Medical information relating to the parents of a pup, as well as the puppy itself, should be made available. A good breeder will be willing for a veterinarian of the purchaser's choice to examine the puppy within a few days of its acquisition to assure its good health.
A good breeder should show a genuine interest in the breed and demonstrate good knowledge and understanding of it. Expertise in handling, training, showing and participating in other breed related activities is desirable.
A good breeder should happily provide references of satisfied customers and give assurances of a desire to maintain a relationship with the puppy and its new owner.