Looking for a breeder(12 Posts)
We're about to start looking for a dog so looking around at breeders.
Any tips what we should be looking for? I'm thinking meeting Mum ( and Dad ideally) and pup not being taken away from mum until 12 weeks old?
Yes to meeting Mum - Dad, not so much, as many breeders will travel miles, or even across countries/continents to use the RIGHT dog, rather than what is nearby.
12 weeks - not unless you are buying a toy breed. Most pups would leave at 8 weeks, and this is perfectly appropriate. I would prefer that they have NOT had a first innoculation, as many vets will not use the same drug protocol and will want to start again.
Look for a breeder who can demonstrate their quality - showring or working. Yes, this does matter even if it's not what you want, as it gives you a far better likelihood that the pup you buy will look and behave as the breed you chose.
Look at the appropriate breed club's website to see what health tests are applicable, and ask for evidence of them. This will not be a general vet test, it will be official health test certificates.
A good breeder will ask you at least as many questions as you ask them, and having a pup for you will not be a given if they don't think you're the best home.
Try and make sure that any puppy you get is not inbred - read up a little on COI (co-efficient of inbreeding). The more inbred a dog (or any animal) is, the likelier it is to have genetic defects leading to illness or infirmity.
If the breeder you speak to doesn't understand COI or says it doesn't matter, I'd not buy a puppy from them.
Definitely meet their mother. I would also ask to meet the father. If it's a decent breeder, they would know the father well - decent breeders wouldn't use a male dog it doesn't see often or doesn't know much about.
It's 8 weeks not 12.
I personally would rather they didn't have their first vaccinations, but a lot of breeders do. It wouldn't be a deal breaker if they did.
They of course have to be microchipped now before leaving the breeders.
It's a really good sign if the breeders ask you lots of questions about housing situation/knowledge of the breed etc. Not a good sign if they're willing to let them go to just anybody!
Ask about the mothers history - any female that has been made to have several litters is cruel.
Health history. Hip and elbow scores etc if you have a breed well known for joint problems.
Look up what health tests the parents should have as depending on the breed of dog you want there may be recommended tests. You'll need proof of these tests. Champdogs is a good resource of breeders if you're after a pedigree dog. I would also get in touch with a breeder before they have a litter as many have a waiting list. I have found that breeders are a bit of a clique and they all know each other, get in with one and they'll often help you out with other breeders. Likewise if they don't like the sound of you you'll draw a blank from others.You'll need to demonstrate you're worthy and serious about their puppies in many cases.
When we got our terrier we went out to visit twice - as much so the breeder could check us out as we could look at the pups. Our one was one of a litter of 5 - we met parents and grandparents. We did not take her until early January so she was 13 weeks, well socialised, fully weaned from her mother and almost fully house trained. She was also chipped, had full course of vaccinations and had a bloodtest to rule out a very breed specific issue (we were given the blood test result).
Which breeds are you looking at? exciting times :D
Some breeds do not leave Mum until they are 12 weeks old, some other breeds do well leaving at 8 weeks onwards but this will be advised by the breeder.
In the first instance I would contact the breed secretary to ask advice of breeders that may (or may not) be local to you and will be able to give you some contact details. Be prepared for a wait list but also do some homework about the breed before you call.
You can also have a google to see if there are any dog shows near you although don't expect them to be chatty with you until after they have shown their dog!
We chose breeders who had similar life style to us - so lots of children/noise/coming and going. I think this early socialisation helped - though obviously the window of opportunity goes beyond the time you generally pick them up. If, for instance, a bit does not like children, I think it more likely the pups will pick up on that before they leave her.
The breeder should be able to tell you why they chose that dog for that bitch. That it was convenient/they owned it/their friend owns the dog isn't good. It should be 'he's very unrelated/ has a strong top line I wanted to bring in' type things - very specific reasons.
A puppy should not be immediately available. You should expect to wait months or more for a litter.
If you want a cross breed, you need to be very, very, very careful as these are the most puppy farmed. Also, if you got all the characteristics of either breed, would you be happy?
Lastly, are you sure you are ready for a puppy? They are hard, hard work and consume a huge amount of your time and energy.
Thanks everyone, really interesting!
I think we're looking for a Labrador, but we're in no rush ( aiming for Aug time) so we've got a bit of time planning!
We're a quietish family, youngest is 8, eldest 13. I don't work but may be looking for something small eventually but that is very flexible. School walk is a mile each way so ideally I'd like a dog that would enjoy coming with me! Other than that we like going for walks through woods etc at weekends and we always holiday in this country.
Make sure the mother has been vaccinated within the last year and that mother and pups have been wormed with an effective product. (pup vacc isn't as important as they will have antibodies from mum to last until you get them to the vet - usually people get them at 8 weeks and take to the vets a week after that to start vacc course). Only buy a pup that looks healthy and lively. Make sure you see the house and it looks like dogs actually live there. Make sure the pups have been socialised (living within the family environment and used to people and noises) as the first 8 weeks is a vital socialising period and if it isn't started by then it's too late and the pup will probably always be nervous.
Temperament is hereditary so look for a mother that is friendly and confident. You might not be able to see the father.
You may well need to reserve a pup in advance for popular breeders.
The hip scoring scheme doesn't necessarily translate well to actual hip problems, but try and go for a working type lab rather than a show type to minimise problems (working type usually smaller, slimmer and shorter legs).
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