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Here are a few things to think about before acquiring a puppy.

  • It is important before you go and buy a puppy to think about the level of activity you are prepared to give your pup and the dog it will become.
  • Some breeds of dog need more exercise than others.
  • How much space do you have in your home and garden?
  • Does your choice of dog, in relation to its size, suit your home, car, children and exercise plans, and suit friends or family that might look after it during the holidays?
  • The sex of the dog may be another thing you will want to decide on.
  • If you are going to buy a cross breed it can be interesting to have a look at any information about the breeds involved in the cross (if you know what the crosses are).
  • If the dog is purebred then you want to think about what breed of dog you are interested in and find out everything you can about the breed. The Kennel Club can be helpful with telling you just what the breed should look like (the breed standard).
  • Think about the type of coat the dog may have. Will it shed, will it require a lot of grooming, and will it require professional clipping and/or grooming?
  • Find out about the health issues related to the breed you are interested in. For example is this type of dog prone to skin disease or eye problems. There are no naturally unhealthy pedigree dog breeds - but there are breeds in which certain conditions tend to surface more. Tests such as hip and elbow scoring enable potential owners to have a good idea about the future health of their puppy.

Breeders and the puppy’s parents

With information you have gained about the breed of your choice you should now be prepared to go and visit the breeder’s home and to ask questions. A good breeder will also want to ask you questions so that they can decide if you are suitable for their pups.

Breeders should be approachable, willing and able to give you the information you require about the puppies and their parenting. They should also be able to supply you with information on worming, inoculations and feeding.

If they are Kennel Club registered obtain a certificate or a written document that says they will forward it to you as soon as it is received from the Kennel Club.

Always visit the breeder’s home. Do not to have the puppy delivered because you will never really know what the mother is like in temperament nor will you know what type of environment the pup was brought up in. It is important to meet the mother of the pups and if possible the father. Visiting also means you have a chance to talk with the breeder, look at any paperwork, see how the mother is with you and the pups, how the pups are with each other and their environment.

It is not always possible to see the father because they don’t always belong to the owner of the mother. However, it is necessary to see how sociable they or at least the mother is with people. Does the mother look like the breed? Are the parents clean, healthy and happy? Do the parents have any obvious physical, temperament or behaviour problems? Are the parents cowering away from you, are they aggressive or do they run away from you? Are the parents barking at you? Puppies can grow up to be like their parents so if you see any of the above problems it is possible that the puppies will grow up with the same problem.

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