Spring Fever Brings Puppy Fever
Spring has arrived and you have succumbed to your children’s endless requests for a puppy! The warmer weather seems like a good time to get a puppy and dog breeders often plan litters for the spring.
So, now what?
Decide on the Right Breed
Firstly, you need to decide on what breed of dog is going to be best fit for you and your family. Below are a few suggestions to help guide you in your decision-making process:
- Visit a Dog Show in your area with your children. Get there early so you can see all the breeds being shown. Talk to the breeders AFTER they have shown their dogs. Ask questions about their breeds’ personality, health issues, grooming and exercise requirements and ease of training.
- Get some practical advice on choosing the right dog for you: Use this page on the AKC website, “What Dog is Right For Me?,” to help guide you in your decision-making process.
- Visit the Parent Club websites for the breed(s) you are considering. Every AKC recognized breed has a Parent Club which is responsible for the health and well-being of their breed. These websites are a wealth of information about the breed as well as a source of experienced breeders.
Every Parent Club requires that certain health tests be passed by prospective breeding dogs. These requirements will be posted on the website.
- Make sure the breed you choose is a breed that is known to be a good dog for children. Not all breeds are recommended for young children.
You’ve Chosen Your Breed, Now Choose Your Breeder
Once you have chosen your breed, contact breeders and ask them questions about their breeding programs. You are looking for a breeder who breeds for temperament and health FIRST. You want a puppy whose parents and grandparents had outstanding health and temperament and were good pets for children.
- Visit the breeder BEFORE the litter is born. See their kennel set-up and where the puppies are born and raised—and most important— meet the parents of the prospective litter. If the breeder doesn’t live nearby, ask for videos and verbal descriptions.
- Ask to see a pedigree of the litter. Notice how many AKC Champions are in the pedigree. A dog who earns an AKC Championship is more likely to have good health and good temperament than a dog who is not an AKC Champion.
- Ask how the puppies are raised and trained before they go into new homes. You are looking for a breeder who match the temperament of the puppy to the requirements of the new home.
- Make sure the breeder is willing to be available to you for the life of the puppy if you have questions about the puppy’s care.
- Many breeders have waiting lists for their litters—which is a GOOD sign!
- It is very expensive to breed outstanding dogs—dogs with required health clearances and AKC Championships. Therefore, the puppies from such dogs will be expensive too. Healthy puppies raised by experienced breeders are more expensive to buy but LESS expensive to raise than “cheaper” puppies raised by breeders who do not show or health test the parents.