Picking a puppy isn’t all plain sailing – once you’ve decided which breed or rescue dog you want, you still need to make preparations. We deliver four essential do’s and don’ts that will help you on your way.
Do: choose a breeder wisely
Breeders are not all created equal, and as with anything, you need to do your research. A reputable breeder will consider the puppy's welfare, and will want to interview you to make sure that he will be going to a good home. You should expect to sign a contract, which would specify that if you are unable to care for the puppy properly, you must return it. A good breeder will be friendly, passionate, knowledgeable, and if chosen wisely will be willing to offer you support and advice throughout the lifetime of your pet.
"Of course it's a cuteness competition Maggie!"
Do: consider adopting from a shelter
There is a lot to love about a mixed breed dog, and shelters are the place to find them. Mixed breed dogs are often healthier than pure breeds. But you can still find a pure breed in a shelter - according to the RSPCA, one-third of shelter dogs are pure breeds. There are also specific breed rescue groups across the country. The Kennel Club's UK website includes a great inventory and breed finder. In addition to offering an abandoned dog a happy home, choosing a shelter pet is a less expensive proposition, as adoption fees are generally reasonable.
"I've lived in a few places, but I'd be quite up for a semi-detached at this point."
Don’t: buy from the internet
By all means find a breeder and do your research on the web, but don’t ever buy directly from an online store or person. You’ll have no way of knowing who you are dealing with and what the puppy is like, and so it’s easy for dog thieves, puppy mills and other unsavoury people to make false claims and take your money. Reputable breeders will have their own websites, as will shelters.
Don’t: pay extra for designer breeds
So-called designer breeds are simply a marketing gimmick, according to the UK's Kennel Club. In fact, many of these 'designer breeds' that command a premium price are simply mixed breeds that you are likely to find in a shelter - so look there first, and don't fall prey to any breeder that is commanding a premium for a 'rare' or 'unique' mix.
The Labradoodle is among the most famous of these breeds, but the Labradoodle has now been in existence for enough generations to justifiably be considered unique, according to the UK's Kennel Club. A lot of designer breeds are actually genetic accidents and consequently they tend to be less healthy (physically and mentally) than their more purebred counterparts. So get out there, meet some breeders, visit some shelters, and get ready to welcome a new member to your family.
"It would be rude not to say hello. I'll come back and sit I promise."