Finding a breeder:
The best place to contact breeders is at a dog show, but many of minority breeds are quite scarce and you may have to go on a waiting list for a puppy. The choice of breeder is really important, so if you don’t like him or her do not buy a puppy from them. The ideal breeder has a policy of breeding sound dogs, both mentally and physically, will take advantage of all the veterinary technology as far as genetic test are concerned, and will be interested in the puppy’s future life. Be prepared for some searching questions about your lifestyle, and, in return, a good breeder will not be offended if you ask leading questions about their breeding history.
From your research, you will know which, if any, genetic anomalies affect your favorite breeds. One of the most frequent in the larger dogs is hip dysplasia. The best breeders have been working on this problem for many years and are succeeding in reducing incidence in most breeds. You should have found out the average score for the breed and the breeder will show you either the parents’ scores or the mother’s British Veterinary Association/ Kennel Club score sheet. If the score is very much higher than the norm, you would be advised not to buy one of the puppies, however cute. There are other genetic tests, particularly for eye conditions that affect some breeds. The Kennel Club will be happy to advise you about any genetic abnormalities that may be present in different breeds.
Choosing a puppy:
Take your family to see the puppies, which should be over eight weeks old when they leave their mother, but make sure that the children are under control. If the puppies have not encountered children before, they might be disturbed by them. Always ask to view the puppy’s mother. This will enable you not only to see the fully grown dog but also, and more importantly, to judge her temperament.
Whichever sex you have decided upon, ask the breeder to remove the others and examine the puppies individually. Look for any sort of discharge from the eyes, the mouth, the anus or the vulva; if any is present, don’t take that puppy. The runt of the litter should also be counted. On no account, be persuaded to buy a puppy at a lower price because ‘there is something minor wrong with it’. Therein lies trouble. If everything looks good, then watch for the most extrovert puppy: the one that approaches to you boldly, full of curiosity and happiness. Harden your heart and ignore any puppies that creep about apprehensively.