You’ve finally convinced everyone at home, and are excitedly looking up dog breeds to pick the greatest friend you’ll ever have. Before you leap into it, make sure you do the right preparation to welcome a dog into your family, and this includes looking up reputable breeders.
First, the main question some of you may have wondered:
Rest assured that it is quite alright to contact a breeder for a dog, as long as they are reputable. Looking into the legitimacy of a breeder is extremely important as there are several breeders who are in it for the money, with little regard for the dogs or their care. Not only is this a way to scam people into paying more, but it is also cruel behaviour towards the dogs.
And naturally, onto the second question that has popped up...
Often, running this through Google will give you a string of names and people to contact. However, beware of breeders selling dogs online. Visit the veterinarians in your area to ask them for references to good breeders, ideally who come to the vet for the care of their puppies. If you happen to see a nice dog in your apartment complex, or a friend has a dog you like, ask them how they got the dog and whether they would recommend the breeders. Finally, look into any local dog clubs or shows as those are places that breeders will frequent.
Knowledgeable: Any good breeder will have the answers to any and all questions you may have about the breed. Make sure you yourself read up a lot about the breed you have in mind, so that you can tell when the breeder is unsure about the answers he is giving. Make sure you ask questions about the temperament of the breed; some breeds are known for shyness or being prone to aggression or possessiveness. Your breeder should be honest about the dogs and their temperament; sugar-coating and making it a sales pitch is suspicious.
Will Ask You Questions: A breeder that cares about the welfare of the pups will ask you loads of questions, about yourself, your lifestyle and family. They may even ask to meet your entire family, or pay a visit to your home. A good breeder will do everything to ensure the dogs are going to loving homes that are equipped to deal with a puppy, while rogue breeders won’t care as long as they get paid.
May Not Have A Litter Available: Ask the breeders how often they breed their dogs. Good dog breeders will give the females a rest between each breeding season, which means you may not see any puppies running around up until even a year. Your names will be put onto a waiting list in this case.
Keeps The Puppies For 8 Weeks: If you find breeders offering to give you puppies that are only upto 2 to 3 weeks old, step away. They may be tiny and cute but these puppies will grow to be weak. Puppies need to be weaned for at least 6 weeks, and 8 to 12 weeks is the ideal time for them to be kept before given away.
Won’t Have A Hoard Of Dogs: Does it seem like 101 Dalmatians to you? Then you are probably looking at a puppy mill; mass bred dogs, churning out puppies just so that the breeders have more to sell and make money.
Lets You See The Parents: When picking from a litter of pups, the breeder will agree to show you at least one, if not both the parents of the puppies. Any vague explanations as to why the parents aren’t around is a red flag.
Provides References: Any good breeder will easily provide references, whether it is to families that have previously taken puppies from them or vets in the area.
Takes Long Term Precautions: A good breeder will want to make sure you can look after the dog for a lifetime, and not just for a few years. They may ask you to sign a contract that specifies your responsibility in caring for the dog, and giving them the right to reclaim the dog if you fail to adequately look after it. Don’t be surprised if they keep following up occasionally even after you’ve taken the dog home.
Always insist on meeting at the breeder’s home or kennel to check in on all these things yourself. Observe the environment around you: is it cluttered, dirty, smelly and unkempt? Are the dogs cowering from or getting scared of the breeder? Are they unkempt, with runny noses and eyes, or lethargic? All of these are warning signs that the breeder doesn't care for the dogs like they need to.
Their History And Experience: Question the breeders on how they got into breeding, and how long they’ve been breeding for.
The Breed: As mentioned, read up a bit about the breed you’re interested in. Even if you don’t, make sure you ask the breeder plenty of questions about the breed to see how familiar he is with them. Also ask about the frequency of breeding: breeding each year is a bad sign.
Health History Of The Puppies: Enquire whether the dogs have been screened for diseases, particularly genetic ones that can only affect certain breeds like hip dysplasia and eye conditions. In some cases, the breeders may even have documentation of the puppies’ parents and grandparents having been screened for inherent genetic problems.
Teacup Breeds: Teacup breeds are bred in such a way that they turn out to face a load of health problems, and are almost always bred for the high price they fetch. As tempting as the tiny size is, steer clear of breeders that breed teacup puppies.
If you’re looking to be as proper as possible with your new dog, look into the Kennel Club of India (KCI), which is the official body to register litters and for effecting transfers of registered dogs to buyers in India. A breeder that has his dogs registered with the KCI is the biggest green flag you could look for, as their governing principle is to promote the welfare of dogs.
If a breeder claims to be registered with the KCI:
1. Ask to see the registration certificate. If they claim to have applied for a registration and that it will “take a few months”, be warned, as the KCI takes a maximum of 30 days to complete the registration process and dispatch certificates.
2. Scan the microchip. You may need the assistance of a vet for this, but do not skip this step if you want to ensure that the KCI registration claim is true. Absence of a microchip despite stating that they are registered with the KCI is a sign of foul play.
There aren’t many people who would think about adopting a dog, as the temptation to create memories with a puppy who will live its entire life with you is hard to resist. However, adopting dogs has so many benefits, and can be just as fulfilling as purchasing a puppy.
A simple Facebook or Instagram post can get you in touch with people who have dogs to be adopted. When adopting, you will likely be asked questions about your home and your ability to care for the dog. Answer these with honesty. Make sure you enquire about whether or not the dog has been vaccinated, and if there’s any illness you need to be aware of to provide extra care.
There’s always a dog in need of a loving home. Many of them have been orphaned at birth, injured, or given away by previous owners due to being unable to care for them. Not many of these will be of reputed breeds, and many will be of Indian breed. But take it from us, dogs all have the same caring hearts no matter the breed or appearance. Give young orphaned pups the joy of a caring family, and older dogs the chance of living out their remaining years being loved and cared for.