So you want a dog?

Have you thought about what size or breed? Have you researched the breed characteristics? Are you willing to provide any special grooming or care needs specific to the breed?

Large dog breeds are pretty hearty in general but some can be susceptible to hip-dysplasia, a degenerative disease of the hip joint. When a dog with hip-dysplasia matures, the hip joint and socket loose their ability to bear the animal’s bodyweight. They will have a hard time standing, running or walking. You may have to submit your dog to surgery for this.

Small breeds are cute and cuddly but are prone to genetic problems (some more so than others). Toy dogs like Pugs, Pekinese and Lassa Apsos or other breeds with a very short muzzle are susceptible to breathing problems. Small dogs very often have problems with their teeth that might require extra dental care and many lose their teeth all together, but this doesn’t really seem to phase them and, with proper care, should not pose a health problem.

Once you’ve chosen the breed that is perfect for your family, what do you look for when buying from a breeder?

Once you decide what type of dog is best for you, get in contact with people who already own one of this type of breed. Maybe somebody you know already owns one? Find out as much information about the breed as you can. If you go to a pet store, talk with people. Pet owners love to talk about their pets.

Research the internet about your dog breed and print out whatever information you can find. Buy books and read about the bread you are interested in. Know that it is extremely important to become an educated consumer BEFORE you buy your dog from a breeder.

Finally, when you talk with dog breeders, ask any questions that come to mind. Honest dog breeders will be more than happy to talk with you and answer every question. Note the condition of dog’s environment. Are the dogs pens clean? Are the puppies well cared for? Can you see the mother and father? What type of puppy food are they being feed? Have the puppies had their shots? Reputable breeders love their animals and go to great lengths to provide a proper “home like” environment. Puppies are products of their surroundings. A good, clean environment will surely be reflected in a dog’s playfulness.

Beware of breeders who are interested only in making money. They generally don’t pay much attention to their dog’s emotional needs and health concerns. Also, they may in-breed their dogs and this can trigger severe health issues. AVOID THESE BREEDERS!

Some breeders may offer a 72 hour guarantee. This allows time to take your puppy to a vet for inspection. If any health issues are identified, contact the breeder and get your questions answered.

Good, honest breeders care for their dogs and it shows in their surroundings. There are no guarantees that you will always have a normal, perfect puppy, but you greatly increase the odds when you do your homework first!