Where to get your puppy from
No matter what type of puppy you’re after, there are lots of places to look. Advertisements in local papers, animal shelters and charities, friends and family and pedigree breeders are all good sources. But for a pedigree breed, the specialist dog papers and pedigree breeders are your best bet.
At the breeder: You should be able to see the mother, or dam, with the whole litter. Ask if it’s possible to meet the father (the sire), too. Please don’t rush your first visit; take your time, ask questions and even take notes. Ask to see the results of screening tests if they’re required for your breed. Find out what the puppies in the litter are being fed, when they were last wormed and if they’ve been examined by a vet yet. Pay attention to the temperament of the mother of the litter, and avoid choosing a nervous puppy; this could indicate poor early socialisation. And don’t be tempted by the smallest, weakest puppy just because you feel sorry for it. Be aware of how and where the litter is being reared; it can be a good indicator of how the puppies will turn out later. For instance, if you’re taken to a shed away from the house, be very wary as the puppies might not have had any human contact. The first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life are critical in his behavioural and social development. A puppy deprived of the sights, sounds and smells of everyday life could lead to problems in the future.
Prefer a crossbreed? If a crossbreed is what you’re after, local dog charities, shelters and rescue centres are good places to begin your search. But all reputable rescue centres will want to make sure their dogs are going to good homes, so be prepared for a request for a home check.