Want a Purebreed Puppy? 4 Things You Need to Know

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You’ve fallen hopelessly in love with Newfoundlands, or Corgis, or Boxers, or Dachshunds, or Border Collies, or some other dog breed, and you want a purebred puppy. Here’s what you need to know before you purchase or adopt a purebred dog.

1. Learn about the breed.

Different breeds don’t just look different from each other – they are different. Research the breed’s history, original purpose, breed characteristics, and common health issues. Some breeds are motivated by treats and praise and are easier to train, some are high energy while others are calm, some breeds shed more or drool more, and some require major grooming. Does the breed fit your lifestyle? Don’t select a breed because you like its looks without knowing more.

If you don’t already know dogs of your preferred breed, get to know them. Contact rescue groups or breeders and tell them you’re interested in learning more about their breed. Consider fostering for real-life experience with the breed.

2. DO NOT buy a dog from a pet store, puppy mill, or backyard breeder.

Puppy mills breed large numbers of dogs in deplorable conditions. Their sole motivation is profit. Dogs are bred many times with no consideration of their health or the health of their puppies, who often have medical conditions and behavioral issues from lack of proper care and socialization. When the dogs can no longer breed (or when the puppy mill owners are charged with cruelty or neglect), the dogs end up in shelters and rescues. Pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills. Purchasing a pet store or puppy mill puppy supports these practices. If a breeder won’t let you meet the parents or see their facility and if they have large numbers of dogs, it may be a puppy mill.

Backyard breeders may love and care for their dogs, but they don’t realize the time, expense, and knowledge required to breed and raise healthy puppies. They don’t screen the parents for common genetic conditions, and they may breed dogs with poor temperaments or other undesirable traits.

3. Consider adopting from a rescue or shelter.

Shelters often have pure breeds available for adoption, and there are breed-specific rescues for most breeds. Puppies are sometimes available, but there are many advantages to adopting an older dog. Expect rescues to require an adoption fee and application, ask you many questions about where and how you plan to keep and care for your dog, and possibly even perform a home study.

4. Find a responsible, reputable breeder.

If you can’t find the right rescue dog, you want a puppy, or for whatever reason you want to purchase from a breeder, find a responsible, caring breeder who screens the parents for genetic disorders and only breeds dogs that have health clearances and sound temperaments. A responsible breeder raises puppies in a home or a home-like setting, properly socializes the puppies, and will allow you meet the parents (if on premises) and see their facility (unless they have unimmunized puppies, then you may have to wait). Responsible breeders often have waiting lists and require that you return the dog if you can’t keep him, ensuring that their dogs never end up in a shelter. Such breeders often require extensive applications and/or interviews and they select the puppy that is best for you based upon their observations and temperament testing of the puppies. Responsible breeders care deeply about the breed and stand behind their dogs, often offering ongoing support to new parents.

It’s easy to fall in love with a puppy, but make sure your decision about the dog who will be in your life for the next 10-15 years is a well-informed one.

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