Finding the Perfect Puppy

“How much is that doggie in the window?” goes the old song. “AKC
PUPS for sale” scream the ads in the paper. Rescue groups set up at
local pet supply places for adoption fairs. Breeders insist you must
go to them for the best pups. How do you know where to turn? Maybe
this can shed some light Please note: this is only a highlight and
just some information to help guide you. As a potential puppy buyer,
it is your responsibility to research dogs, breeds, breeders,
rescues, and etc. before you commit to a creature that will be in
your life for the next fifteen years or so.


I advise people to stay FAR AWAY from them. You do not know where
their puppies came from and the employees always answer the same: a
breeder. Some stores will even say they rescued the pups. You have
no way of knowing if they are telling you the truth. You have no way
of telling the conditions the pups were in prior to. You cannot see
the parents. Puppies cannot be properly socialized when spending
their formative weeks in cages in a store.

Pet Store puppies mainly come from puppy mills. However, the stores
will insist they only get their pups from caring breeders. No caring,
reputable, responsible breeder will ever sell a pup through a pet
store. Puppy mills mass produce animals for profit first and
foremost. Often, the conditions the pups are raised in are
substandard at best. Pups may be taken from the dam (mom) far too
young (8 weeks is the youngest a pup should be taken and miller will
lie about ages they take the pups). Pups do not get the
socialization they require at the mill. Often, health care is
limited to what is needed to ship the pups to the broker or to the

Puppy Mills do not screen their dogs for genetic problems that could
be passed to the pups. Millers want to get the most money with the
least amount of expenditures. There is no way to tell if the pup you
are getting will not develop a problem down the road. Many problems
do not show up when the pup is young. Some problems take years. Pet
Stores will not give you a lifetime guarantee for the health of the
pup. You will be lucky to get 72 hours. And even then, if a problem
arises, the store may insist you take the pup to their vet. Would
you trust a vet that may wok in conjunction with a store? I’d
question the validity of his diagnosis seriously.

Pet Stores are more concerned with making a sale. Think, is it
easier to sell a puppy to make $800 or sell $800 in pet products in
one day? Easier to sell the puppy. Do you think they will be
totally honest?


I cringe when I see ads in the local papers advertising puppies for
sale. Many back yard breeders just breed purebred dogs, many just
breed dogs. Some BYBs like to create breeds out of ignorance or the
desire to make money from a sucker who knows no better. They may not
know the standard for the breed and often breed dogs that are not
good breed representatives. AKC registration is NOT a Good
Housekeeping seal of approval for dogs. All the American Kennel Club
does is handle paperwork. What quality the dogs being bred are is up
to the integrity of the breeder. So do not be blinded by AKC. And
do NOT be blinded by Champions in the background. There is far more
to breeding than getting Champion dogs to mate.

Back yard breeders tend not to breed the best quality dogs. It is
questionable whether they will test the dogs before breeding for
genetic issues. I am not saying you cannot get a sweet pet from a
BYB, but do you want to support someone who is not bettering a breed
but rather putting out more dogs on the planet without serious
concern for quality? Do you want to support someone intentionally
breeding crosses? Many reputable breeders started off with a
backyard litter and probably sold the litter through an ad. However
they have educated themselves about good practices and the importance
of bettering a breed and proving they have good dogs. Almost no
reputable breeder advertises in the paper when there are pups for
sale. Good, reputable breeders go by word of mouth through club
members, being contacted after dog shows, recommended by various dog
clubs, etc. They have no need to advertise through newspapers.

There is sometimes a fine line between a BYB and a Hobby breeder;
this is where personal education as well as a bit of gut instinct is


Hobby breeders and those involved in the dog world are the safest
place to get a puppy. A good breeder will see that their dogs get
shown to prove they have good type. They may even compete in other
sports to prove their dogs have brains as well. The dogs will be
tested for everything possible prior to breeding and will require the
same of any dog they breed to. Puppies will be evaluated and
properly socialized. Puppies will get required vet care before they
go to homes. A reputable breeder will seriously interview
prospective puppy buyers. You will be told both the highlights and
concerns with the breed. Nothing will be held back. A good breeder
will know the background of the dogs in the pedigree and will have
researched the breeding long before it is done. A good breeder will
help match the best pup to your family and will not hesitate to
refuse to sell a pup to anyone they question. A good breeder will
also give you a lifetime guarantee on the pup and insist that if for
any reason you cannot keep the dog, it comes back. You should also
get a written sales contract outlining what the breeder expects (like
spay/neuter of a pet puppy). A good breeder cares about the dogs
produced and really has a strong desire to improve the breed – not
just put more dogs on the planet.

Now, not all hobby breeders are good. Some breed quantity trying for
that quality show dog. If you go to a breeder that has dozens of
puppies from multiple litters, stop and question. Use your gut
instinct. Once again, sometimes there is a fine line between a good
breeder and a not so good one. You have to educate yourself and do
research. Some breeders breed quantity for quality or breed not
necessarily to correct type but to the “flavor of the month” that
seems to be winning in the ring this year. Again, don’t be
blinded by wins and titles all the time. It is easy to get blinded
but you must look at other factors as well – such as health. But in
general, a reputable and responsible breeder is a good choice if you
must have a purebred dog and must have a puppy.

You can find out about such breeders through local kennel and dog
breed clubs. There are websites at the bottom for your further


So many unwanted critters end up here. Many dogs at shelters are
purebred. Many more are crosses. There are also many purebred
rescues associated with various dog clubs. If you just want a pet
and are not too picky about age, please go to a shelter. Granted,
you do not know the background of the animals. But these animals are
in serious need of homes. A good rescue will screen you and help
make the best match possible. There will be a spay/neuter agreement,
possibly a trial period to make sure the match works and if something
should happen and you cannot keep the dog, they will insist it comes
back to them. You may not get that little pup, but older pups and
adult dogs have so much to offer! Plus, they often sleep through the
night and have more bladder control!

Purebreds without papers can be registered for certain competitions.
Both the AKC (American Kennel Club) and UKC (United Kennel Club) have
protocols for this. The UKC will register mixed breeds for many
types of competition. The United States Dog Agility Association
(USDAA) and North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC) will register
crosses. So the excuse “I can’t do any sport with a mutt or a rescue
dog” holds no weight anymore. So please, if you are just looking for
a companion or even a competition dog (you cannot do Conformation
with a rescue but there are dozens of other canine activities),
please remember rescues!

The American Kennel Club – www.AKC.ORG

The United Kennel Club – www.UKCDOGS.COM

The American Rare Breed Association – www.ARBA.ORG

Info Dog –

Dog Breed Information Center –

Also check out

American Mixed Breed Obedience Registry –

United States Dog Agility Association –

North American Dog Agility Council –

And before you fall for that puppy in the window, please check out

No Puppy Mills –

There are literally thousands of websites devoted to dog rescues as well – many
breed clubs have rescue personnel associated with them.

From Karen Peak of West Wind Dog Training,

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