One of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration, is which dog you want to bring into your home. This dog will share your home, share your bed and will be around your friends, family and children. Many people decide to find a dog through a rescue organization or shelter, but others want to get a puppy and raise them from the beginning. There are arguments to be made for both.
But if you decide to get a puppy from a breeder, it is important you find one that is reputable. There are “puppy mills” trying to pass themselves off as legitimate breeders and you need to be aware of how to tell the difference. It could mean the difference between having a well-socialized, healthy dog and one that is emotionally and physically unhealthy. Here are some things to consider:
- Always meet at the facility where the dogs are bred and housed. Reputable breeders will have clean facilities that are not overcrowded. Do the dogs seem comfortable around you and the breeder?
- Ask your veterinarian for a referral. If you have a trusted family vet, ask them if they know any good breeders for the breed you are interested in. They also can be a good source of information for finding which breed would be good for you regarding energy, space, etc.
- Remember the American Kennel Club. Breeders who are registered with the AKC have to go through extensive regulations to make sure their dogs are pedigree and their facilities meet high standards. Check AKC’s marketplace or directory for local dog breeders they recommend.
- Does the breeder ask you questions? You should have questions to ask about the dogs and the breeder, but also take note of how interested they are in you. If they seem genuinely concerned about making sure you will provide a good home, they’ll ask you just as many questions. Important questions include whether you will sign a spay/neuter contract and what kind of home environment you are bringing the dog into.
- Is the breeder open to a long-term relationship after you take the dog? Reputable breeders will make sure you know you can call anytime with questions as the dog matures. Many will also take the dog back if your life circumstances change.
- Meet the parents. If the breeder does not offer to have you meet the puppy’s mother, bring up the topic. You want to spend some time with the mother to see what kind of temperament you can expect later in life from your pet. Also, if the mother seems tired, take note and ask how many litters she is having a year. It should be no more than one.
Come see us with questions or comments at our Chapel Hill location near Pittsboro and Chatham County in central North Carolina!