Five Questions To Ask A Potential Dog Breeder

A reputable dog breeder can be your best friend if you're looking to purchase a purebred puppy. You can find such a breeder by asking your local veterinarian or animal shelter, or by looking for a dog breeder directory recommended by the Humane Society of the United States. Once you've found a dog breeder, there are some questions you'll need to ask.

1) Are the Puppy's Parents Healthy?

Any good dog breeder should be able to tell you that the puppy's parents, and even grandparents, are healthy, and he should have documentation to back this up. Do your research before you visit the breeder; know which breed-specific illnesses your prospective puppy could be prone to. Make sure your puppy's mother and father have been screened and declared free of these illnesses.

2) For What Purpose Were These Dogs Bred?

Many dogs end up in animal shelters because their owners couldn't tolerate the very behaviors that these dogs were bred to display. A sheepdog will still want to herd, even if you don't have any sheep; instead, he might heard cats, children, or other dogs. A retriever will still love to fetch, and a dog with high stamina, such as a Dalmatian, will need a lot of exercise.

Make sure that your tastes and lifestyle will mesh well with the inbred needs of the dog you're about to buy. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, consider a lapdog; if you live in the country or would like a working dog, choose a breed appropriate to these situations.

3) How Much Grooming Will These Dogs Require?

Some dogs are easier to groom than others. Here are some of the things that can make a dog more difficult to groom:

* Some breeds have long hair that continues to grow. * Some breeds have fur that mats easily. * Breeds with floppy ears can suffer from frequent yeast infections inside the ear, and you'll need to take care to keep their ears dry.

Many people buy dogs based on love at first sight, only to discover later that they are unable or unwilling to give their new dog the care and grooming it needs.

4) Can I Afford This Puppy?

When buying a dog, you don't want to skimp. If you start bargain hunting, you'll likely wind up with a poorly-bred dog that suffers a lot of health problems. Also, remember that the costs of purchasing a puppy don't end when you get him home. Here are some additional costs you're going to have to consider:

  • Vaccinations, check-ups and dental cleanings
  • Puppy food
  • Toys and other dog accessories
  • Emergency medical care
  • Treatment for chronic illness

5) How Easy Will This Dog Be To Train?

A poorly trained, disobedient dog gets on everyone's nerves. Obedience school can be expensive, so you might prefer to train the dog at home yourself. Some breed are easier to train than others, because they are more intelligent, more focused and take instruction better. You can make things easier on yourself by choosing an easy to train breed, such as:

  • A Welsh Corgi
  • A German Shepherd
  • A Golden Retriever
  • A Boxer
  • A Plotthound