So, you want a puppy? Congratulations, you’re about to step into a fun new relationship with a four legged pal. Before you get carried away and get the first puppy that you find though, there’s a few things you need to consider…
Being picky about which breeder or breed you go with is important for everyone. Even if you just want a dog as a pet, ensuring the dog will be a good fit for you and making sure the dog’s breeder has set the pup up for success is VITAL. You could easily get stuck with a behavioural disaster of a dog with severe health issues that will cost you a small fortune to remedy.
Picking which breed of dog is not as simple as going with what you might find aesthetically pleasing. You also shouldn’t get a dog based on how a friend’s dog behaves or how a dog you met one time acted or looked. There are anomalies in every breed, and you have no idea how much training someone might have put in to make that dog the way they are.
First, decide what you actually want out of your relationship with a dog. Do you want a running or hiking buddy? Do you just want a couch potato? How many hours a day are you willing to devote to a dog? These are just a few examples of questions you need to answer before choosing a breed.
Next, decide if you’d rather vacuum every few days or pay to get that dog groomed every 6-8 weeks. Getting a non-shedding dog doesn’t absolve you of work or effort. Most often, a non-shedding dog’s coat maintenance will actually end up taking up more time and costing more than a shedding dog’s will. Both types of coats need to be brushed often, but non-shedders are typically more prone to matting and should be brushed daily. Also keep in mind that any mixed breed dog will not have a predictable coat. All dogs shed a bit, just like humans do. The only way to guarantee a coat type is with a pure bred dog.
Now that you’ve narrowed your breed choices down a bit, research what these dogs are bred for. If you want a dog that won’t be territorial, don’t get a Pyrenees or a Mini Schnauzer. If you want a calm dog that you don’t need to put a lot of work into, don’t get a border collie or a golden retriever. You can’t train away breeding.
On that note, if you know what kind of dog you want, you need to find a reputable breeder to make sure that your new family member is as well rounded as possible before they even come home. Good breeding will result in healthier better behaved dogs. A well bred dog, contrary to popular belief, has a better chance of not having health issues than a mutt does.
Finding a good breeder seems like a daunting task. Where do you even start to look? Luckily, there are tons of resources available now through Facebook. There are tons of helpful groups that are dedicated to transparent breeder information. I would never suggest narrowing your breeder search to your province, state or even your country. Your perfect match might be far away and that’s okay! Here are some things to look for to determine if the breeder you’re looking for is reputable and ethical.
- Ask for both parent’s OFA certificates. OFA rates a dog’s hips, elbows, shoulders, and more based on x rays of the dog. Both parents should have passing scores for all tests.
- Ask to see the genetic screening panels for both parents. If both parents haven’t been screened, they could potentially pass on life altering/threatening genetic disorders to their offspring.
- Ask how they are raising the pups. You want to look for a breeder that follows “puppy culture” protocols or an equivalent and does ENS (early neurological stimulation) with them. This ensures a well rounded confident puppy that shouldn’t have any issues with things like kennel training, separation anxiety and random fears.
- Titles on breeding dogs are ideal, but not necessary. An ethical breeder will want to make sure that their breeding dogs are worthy of breeding. Titling them in sports and/or confirmation is how one proves their dogs are capable. Titling is extremely costly and takes a lot of time. It isn’t the most important thing to look for, but it definitely should be taken into consideration.
For mixed breed/Doodle breeders specifically, ask for the following information:
- You need to make sure the pups won’t be spayed or neutered before they come home. Paediatric spay and neuters can cause lots of health issues. Ovary saving spays and/or vasectomies are not a safe alternative. Ethical breeders often require that their pups stay intact till 2 years of age to ensure proper development.
- Ask to talk to owners of dogs from previous litters to find out how their dog’s are temperament and size wise. Ask how big they grew to be, and compare with what the breeder promised you.
- Ask how often the pups will need to get groomed. Doodles need to be groomed once every 6-8 weeks and should get in for their first groom around 3-4 months. If they aren’t honest with you and don’t give you similar answers to those listed, walk away.
These requirements are the absolute bare minimum a breeder needs to be doing. If a breeder tries to make excuses as to why these criteria aren’t being met, walk away immediately. Keep in mind, “health tested” or “vet checked” isn’t the same thing as OFA passed and genetically screened. Make sure you actually see the certificates, don’t just take their word for it!
If you have any questions about breeding or finding a good breeder, please feel free to reach out to me. I’m more than happy to help you find the pup of your dreams!