Finding a breeder from which to purchase your new puppy is a daunting task, and it certainly should be a decision made through a lot of careful consideration and research. Before you begin, get to know the breed of dog you are bringing home a little better. Learn about the standard set by your country's kennel club, research any diseases or conditions prevalent in your breed, figure out what they were originally bred for and what makes the breed what it is.
Once you have a good understanding of the breed itself, your first step to take is to decide whether you want to purchase from a local breeder, or whether or not you are willing to have a puppy shipped to you. You may also need to drive a distance to pick a puppy up if you are not concerned about the breeder's location. Searching all across your country will open you up to many, many possibilities!
There are many ways you can search for a breeder. You can begin by plugging their kennel names or even the name of the dog breed into a search engine on the internet, asking your local breed or kennel clubs, asking family and friends, getting involved in communities devoted to your chosen breed of dog or simply attending dog shows and dog events near you!
Health testing and titling are extremely important in stud dogs and breeding females. You will want to see health testing done on all of a breeder's dogs and you should be able to see the documentation to prove the results they claim. For example, the German Shepherd dog is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. When I went about choosing a breeder from which to get my puppy (vom Geistwasser), I made sure the breeder provided health testing for hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, and looked up the results with the OFA to confirm the scores. The parents, grandparents and dogs even farther back in their pedigree are documented with good hip and elbows, which is very important in determining the future hip and elbow health of your puppy. By purchasing a puppy from dogs that are not producing hip and elbow dysplasia, you significantly reduce the chances of your puppy developing this very serious and often deadly condition.
A reputable breeder will title their stud dogs and breeding females, simply because official titles will prove how worthy they are of being bred. Whether they are shown in the ring, compete in obedience or breed-specific sports, you will want to see that the breeder has proven the worth of it's breeding dogs by evaluating their temperament and capabilities - this ensures that they will produce those same great qualities you want to see in your puppy. If you are purchasing a dog from the herding breed group for example, by buying a puppy born of parents that were titled in herding and shown in the ring, you ensure that your puppy is capable of what it was originally bred for, whether or not you want to train your dog to herd. The point is that it CAN do the work if that is what you want it to do, All of that training and competing with the breeding dogs in the sport proves that they have the correct temperament and genetic traits for the breed... which will all be passed down to a their offspring when they produce a litter.
I love to see various accomplishments to a breeding dog's name. Simple temperament tests such as the Canine Good Citizen / Canine Good Neighbour certification and the Temperament Test are wonderful in conjunction with titles in sports like obedience, agility, Schutzhund, herding and other official venues of dog training. When a breeder tests their dogs in a variety of things you can get a good idea of the temperament they will pass on to their puppies. Titles and accomplishments show that effort and thought was put into these dogs, and thus they are worthy of being bred and carrying on their genetics to future generations of dogs. Any dog that is bred should be an ideal representation of their breed, otherwise there is no point to carry on their genes. The purpose of breeding is to improve the breed and uphold the breed standard, any dog that cannot do this may be a magnificent pet... but they should not be bred.
Temperament is the next important factor to consider when looking at a breeder's dogs. You want to either meet the parents and grandparents (or any related dogs, if possible), or speak directly to those who have met them or own dogs from those pedigrees themselves. Knowing the temperament of the dogs in your potential puppy's pedigree will give you a good idea of what your puppy's temperament will be like. In general you will want to see dogs that are friendly, have solid nerves, social and biddable. No dog is perfect, but a breeder should strive to match one dog with another to improve any potential faults one may pass on to a litter. For example, if the breeding female is a little fearful when highly stressed, the breeder should find a dog that has solid nerves and will not be afraid when in the same situation.
Do not be afraid to ask for health testing documentation, see certification of accomplishments and titles, and ask for references from past puppy buyers. Doing all of this will tell you what they will be producing in their puppies. You want a healthy, stable-minded dog suited to your lifestyle... so make sure the dogs that are producing your puppy meet your criteria too!
Allow a breeder to choose the puppy for you. It is vital that you tell a breeder exactly what you want in your future dog, and give them the opportunity to match a puppy to you. If they are reputable and knowledgeable, they have the experience to determine which puppy best matches what you are looking for in a dog. Feel free to tell them your preferred gender or colour, but understand that the puppy that best matches you and your family may not be exactly what you were looking for in terms of appearance. Try not to be too disappointed, because the puppy will likely grow up to be what you wanted in every other way.
Remember, no puppy or dog is perfect. Ending up with the ideal family member is a combination of several things: good breeding practises, knowledge, socialization and training!
Diet is an important factor of health and well being in your new puppy, and one should not forget how important imprinting obedience and respect in puppies is. Learn how to raise the ultimate dog with K9 Instinct.