Before Buying A Puppy
WHEN APPROACHING A BREEDER ABOUT BUYING A PUPPY:
An important fact to consider when buying a puppy. TIME. Puppies do not grow on trees. Most hobby breeders do not have puppies available year round. It is a process. It is making sure your girl is mature enough to have a litter of puppies. It is ensuring your girl is mature enough to evaluate to determine if she is an asset to the breed. It is making sure the appropriate health testing has been completed after 2 years of age (for certain tests), to decrease the chances of producing offspring with hereditary issues and faults. This does not guarantee they will not occur, but it decreases the risk. In my breed, I believe it is showing your dog in conformation in the AKC and/or CKC, and obtaining their championship. After all of this, it is choosing the male whose owner has also done all of the aforementioned evaluations, testing and showing, and who best compliments your girl and who is an asset to the breed. It is looking at pedigrees, and evaluating whether this pairing will move the breed forward. Most of all, I believe in transparency. If you test for something, prove it. Don’t make people go on a treasure hunt to find information that should be at their fingertips, especially when charging the amount we do for our puppies.
This brings me back to my main point, TIME. When looking for a breeder, understand that the chances of you getting a puppy from an occasional hobby breeder within the next 6-12 months are slim, but possible. Usually, breeders have waiting lists. They are screening potential homes for future puppies year round. Some people have particular wants or needs with a puppy, and matching the temperament and needs, with as many ‘wants’ as possible, may not be available in the next planned litter. As breeders, we are not producing puppies in a factory like setting, just because there is a demand. There will always be a demand. We are breeding puppies to continue the breed, to allow others to enjoy the breed as we do. Many times, we are keeping a puppy from the litters we produce, to again further the development and maintain the breed that we so love.
Here is how it works for some of you who want a puppy in 3 months. Guess what, it’s most likely not going to happen. Here is why. A typical female dog (known as a ‘bitch’) comes in season on average, every 6-8 months (sometimes up to 12+ months). Gestation time in a canine is 63 days from ovulation. Puppies do not leave for their new homes until at least 8 weeks of age. There is 4 months of TIME gone, right there.
You and your family have decided that the time is right to introduce a new puppy into your home. The date is JANUARY 1st. Let’s say a bitch had her last season 2 months ago, and she wasn’t old enough, nor had she had her health testing completed to breed her. Or, she had a litter her season before, and this was a ‘skipped heat’. Plus, the right stud dog wasn’t available anyhow. You contact a breeder and say you are ready for a puppy. This breeder already has a waiting list of potential homes for the litter, and asks if you would be interested in waiting to see how many puppies their bitch has, what the split in sexes is, and what their temperament is like, to best match the puppies up with their families. You’ve researched this breeder, have a good line of communication started with them, which is great since you’ll be in contact for the next 12-14 years, so you say ok (great job by the way).
This bitch happens to go 8 months between her heats. Everything is good to go, she comes back in season 6 months from now, on July 1st. Let us say she ovulates on day 10 of her season. On September 10th (63 days from ovulation), a beautiful litter of puppies is born! The day you’ve been waiting for! Now is the hard part of waiting to make sure everyone is healthy, and no problems arise. Since this is a best case scenario, and no issues crop up, I’ll continue. Everything goes well for the next 8 weeks. The puppies have all been checked by the vet, they’ve all been permanently identified, they’re good to go. You are finally ready to get your puppy, because more puppies were born than we had on a waiting list, and we’ve got the PERFECT match to add to your family. So....when do you get to pick up your new puppy? NOVEMBER 5th. 10 months from when you said you wanted a puppy in, say 3 months time.
Most people do not realize how much TIME it actually takes to get a puppy from a reputable breeder. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Sometimes you will get lucky, and more puppies are born, or other events happen and people are taken off or leave a waiting list or choose to wait for the next litter. Some breeders will take deposits once pregnancies are confirmed, others wait until puppies are born.
This is an absolute best case scenario. Pregnancies are lost, puppies are stillborn. Very small litters (1 or 2) happen. Some puppies die in the first few days/weeks after birth. Infections come up, illness is brought into the home. Temperaments don’t match the families who have been waiting. There are many things that can go wrong, sometimes moreso than what goes right.
We do this because we love it. We love the breed, we love bringing joy to others’ lives through our selective breeding of good representatives of our breed. Please don’t get upset if you have to wait for one of our puppies, whether it be 6 months or 2 years. I promise you, they’re worth it.