Tima Lund BSc, BEng and PGCE is a breeder,
trainer and Fish4Dogs ambassador. She gives us her tips on what to think about
before you pick a puppy and how to go about finding the right one.
type of life you can give a dog?
Are you an active family who spend all
daylight hours outside, in the woods, on the beach? Are you a family who like
walks, but also spend time curled up on a sofa? Do you want to get involved in
one of the many dog sports; agility, heelwork to music, etc? How much time have
you got to put into training this dog?
breed is best for you?
Gundogs are the most popular group, as they
are bred to be placid in nature and full of fun. However; take care, as many of
the ones bred to be good working gundogs; make very poor pets as they have too
high drive to be happy with 3 walks a day and sofa time.
The guarding breeds, they do that…guard….and
you need to be good at looking at choosing the blood lines to get one that is
going to co-operate with you easily, and not feel the need to take charge. I
breed German Shepherds and will not sell a German Shepherd to a first time dog
owner, as I do not consider them a dog for beginners. This includes
Rottweilers, Belgian Shepherds and most of the herding dogs.
Please be very careful if you go for a
cross breed; the very popular poodle crosses of all sorts; they are not a
breed; so you can not be sure of size/ coat type and temperament of the adult
dog. They are not 50:50 mix of mum and dad. If you decide on a ‘oodle’ dog be
sure both parents have had all the health test needed for their respective
breeds, including if the parents are first generation crosses themselves.
The other group I advise against is all the
pug faced dogs; they are also popular; however, come with serious health
issues; the squashed faces means they can’t breathe properly; so can’t run or
pant etc, and overheat easily. Their eyes are also very prone to injure and
issues. So avoid the cute look and go
for healthy dog instead.
Once you have narrowed the list down to
three breeds; then find the breed clubs online. These can be contacted via the
Kennel Club website which has a lot of information about each breed, health
tests needed for them and contact details for breed clubs.
Then arrange to visit a few breeders. Please
stick to times arranged, and let them know if you’re stuck in traffic etc. We
have a lot of demands on our time, and if you waste an hour of our time, where
we could have walked some dogs, or done some shopping, we may not be quite as
cheerful giving our time to you if you waste ours.
Be very clear about how much experience you
have, and accept if the breeder thinks their lines are a bit lively or
demanding for first time owners, ask what to look for.
Take a photo of the pedigree of both
parents; and then look them up on the kennel club website; check that the
health test they have told you have been done are showing on the KC website.
Go along with a list of questions; clearly
showing you have done your homework. Be aware if there are a working variety
and a show variety in the breed and ask which they breed and take it from
there. Be clear about the health tests required, and if you don’t quite
understand the diseases mentioned, ask them to explain it to you.
Do not ever leave a deposit. If the breeder
is in a rush to get their hands on your money; walk away and ask yourself why.
Good breeders have waiting lists, and are
calmly secure they will easily find homes for their pups, and will treat you a
bit like the Spanish Inquisition to find out if your family will give a good
home to one of their precious pups.
Visit at least twice, once before there are
pups, and at least once after they are about 4 weeks old. Some breeders allow
as many visits as you can fit in, to give you lots of time to ask lots of
questions. Remember if there are 8 pups, there are 8 families who all want to
visit. Be courteous. Raising a litter is exhausting (and fun) but very, very
Once there is a puppy for you to choose
from, ask to meet it with the mum present. Do not accept any excuse for this
not to happen. If the mum does not like people near her pups you do not want
that pup in your life. Walk away.
Good breeders allow you (most encourage
you) to walk away and discuss what you have seen and once more think about if
this is right for you at this time.
Ask what you need to get yourselves before
taking pup home and what they come away with. Ask for bank details and say once
you have chatted you will get back in touch and confirm and then pay the
deposit into their bank account (any other methods is fine too; you just need
proof you have paid and what is left to pay).
Do not pay all the money until you have the
puppy and all its paperwork securely in your hands. If the paperwork is coming later;
then keep back 25% of the money until you have that.
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