What to consider when choosing a puppy

Posted on April 9, 2018

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.

What 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?

What breed is best for you?

what breed is best for youGundogs 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.

Finding a breeder

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.

Visiting a breeder

Visiting the breederBe 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 busy.

Meeting your puppy

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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