Choosing a Puppy
So the whole family has decided to get a puppy? Owning a puppy comes with great responsibility and commitment. Your relationship after choosing the right puppy will last for many years and following simple tips and advice will make owning a puppy a pleasure for all the family.
There are many personal factors to consider when choosing which breed of puppy will best suit you and your family. For instance, if you live on your own and are not able bodied, it may not be wise to choose a breed which requires plenty of exercise, such as Husky, Malamute, Boxer or a German Shepherd. You may love the breed very much but it is important to meet the needs of his or her life.
Some more factors to consider are:
- Sex: Male or Female? There are different characteristics in both sexes and it is important to research the traits in the breed.
- The size of breed: A little puppy is very cute when it is, well, little. Some dogs grow to be very large within a short period of time. The expense of feeding a large breed of dog can often be overlooked.
- The puppies coat: Maybe long haired, short haired or something in between? A dog with a long coat may need regular maintenance such as grooming and clipping.
- Your work regime: Do you work 9 to 5? Consider how long your puppy or adult dog will be left alone. Maybe there is a family member who can watch him or you may consider employing a dog walker. Some breeds don’t like isolation and become bored very quickly. Most dogs need a lot of stimulation to keep their minds active or behaviour problems can start to occur very quickly.
- Puppy Training: Do you and your family have the time to commit to his education? It's important to start the training from just a few days after your puppy arrives. It may be difficult to dedicate the time if you work long hours?
- Illness: Some breeds are prone to certain problems. For instance, a Dalmatian should be given a particular type of diet because they are prone to urinary stones. Consider pet insurance just in case there are any problems in later life.A good source of information on different types of breed can be found on the Kennel Club website.
Pedigree or Cross Breed?
Weigh up the pros and cons of choosing a pedigree or a cross breed. For instance, you have a good guide as to what size your puppy may grow to be, from the background of the breed. With a cross breed you may need to make allowances as there is the element of the unknown. Many vets however believe that cross breeds can be healthier dogs because they are not prone to problems caused by interbreeding.
Meet the parents as well as the breeders.
It is important to meet both the mother and the father of the litter. Meeting both parents could give you a feel of the personality of the puppies when they grow. For instance, if you find that the father has had little training and is aggressive to people or seems frightened to meet you then this trait may be passed on to the puppies.
Here are some considerations when seeing the breeder.
- Ask to see both of the parents.
- How many litters has the mother had?
- Have both parents been checked and certified by a vet to be free of health problems?
- Are the puppies kept in the house or in kennels?
- Are the puppies socialised and toilet trained prior to homing?
- Does the breeder give written advice on how to best care and feed your puppy or breed?
- Is the breeder on hand for support just in case there are problems?
We recommend never taking a puppy before 8 weeks old. It’s an important time for the puppy as the puppy is still learning from its parents and siblings.
Beware of Puppy Farms: Over breeding is common place in puppy farms, which leads to problems with the health of the puppy. You will have little or no recourse should problems arise.
You’ve chosen the perfect puppy
About a week prior to taking the puppy home give the breeder a blanket or towel to place with the puppy and mother. Then when it comes time to collect your new puppy, you can collect the blanket also and this gives a familiar scent for your puppy when you get him into his new home.