For a newcomer in any breed, knowing where to start can be a daunting task. No matter what breed you eventually decide on, there are a few basic do's and don'ts:
- Research the breed thoroughly & find out what health checks are needed before breeding is started.
- Go to a reputable breeder - start your search via the Kennel Club and breed clubs.
- Find out the average price charged for puppies - anything much cheaper is probably suspect (either not KC Reg., not health checked or from poor stock). More expensive does not necessarily mean better either.
- Only buy from a home where you can see Mum with the pups. The fact that Dad is also present is not necessarily a good thing - he may have been used because he was close (and cheap) rather than because he was the best dog to improve the breed.
- Ask plenty of questions - find out if the breeder would be prepared to take the puppy back at any stage in its life, find out how experienced the breeder is & how much help they are prepared to give should you have problems.
- Be prepared to be questioned to within an inch of your life - a good breeder won't let their puppies go to just anyone.
- Make sure you are given all the necessary documentation when you hand over your money. If it is not available at the time, make sure you get the facts IN WRITING before parting with your money
- Buy on impulse or assume everyone is honest - just as in buying anything, it's up to you to take sensible precautions.
- Buying from an advert in a local paper is not usually a good idea if you don't know what you are looking for.
- Buy from a third party - this usually mean a market, pet shop or pet supermarket. Buying from such places means you are supporting puppy farmers and condemning bitches to a lifetime of misery.
- Buy a puppy because you feel sorry for it - hard but necessary if you don't want a lifetime of problems.
- Buy from a breeder you don't trust - your instincts are probably right!
- Be embarrassed to ask or question anything you're not sure of. Good breeders will want you to be entirely happy.
- Buy a dog which is registered with any registration scheme other than the Kennel Club - any such registration is not worth the paper it is written on - don't be fooled!