Chapter 5
How To Know The Best Source For Your Dog
How are the Puppies Raised? When you get a dog from a breeder, you won't be able to bring it home until the puppy is old enough to be safely separated from his mother and littermates. Different breeders may require different waiting periods, but you'll never be able to bring a puppy home before 6 weeks, and most breeders wait until 8 to 10 or even 15 weeks to send a new dog home. That's a lot of time - and an important time - in the puppy's life. You should find out how the breeder raises the puppies while he has them. Do they live in a cage? Do they have a room in the breeder's house? Ask to see where the puppies are raised. Ideally, puppies will be raised in a semi-isolated area away from other litters. Housing many litters in cages close together can foster contagious diseases. Litters raised in a semi-isolated area are far better from a health and socialization standpoint. Find out what a breeder does to socialize his puppies. Are the puppies exposed to cats, small animals, and children during their time with the breeder? Does the breeder leave them alone, locked in the backyard, or do they get exposure to a broad range of people and experiences? Dogs that don't have exposure to a variety of surroundings and circumstances as puppies may develop problems with fear or shyness as an adult. The longer the puppies stay with the breeders past eight weeks of age, the more you miss out on the opportunity to manage your puppy's socialization yourself, so it's essential to know how the breeder manages this critical period in the puppy’s lives. What Registry does the Breeder Use? Reputable breeders may register their puppies with the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club or Canadian Kennel Club with many believing the United Kennel Club to be less prestigious than the American Kennel Club. Rare breeds that don't yet qualify for registration with the AKC, UKC or CKC may be registered with the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA). Beware of breed registries other than these reputable registries. Some breeders advertise that their dogs are registered with the ACA, ARU, APRI, CKC or other registry organizations. These registry organizations don't have the same quality control standards that the AKC, UKC and CKC offer. Note that the CKC is in both the reputable and non-reputable lists; clarify whether CKC certification is with the Canadian Kennel Club (reputable) or Continental Kennel Club (not as reputable). The main problem with getting a puppy registered by some of these less-reputable breed registries is that they don't use as strong a criteria to ensure purebreds are actually purebreds. While being purebred doesn't make a dog 'better' than a non-purebred dog, breeders who utilize these registries may be more tempted to try and sell a non-purebred dog as a purebred using the less stringent registration requirements of these registries to their advantage. In other words, some breeders may try to use the more relaxed registration standards of some of these registries for the purpose of convincing the buyer to purchase a potentially non-purebred puppy for more money than the breeder would otherwise be able to sell them. Breeders who use these registries may sometimes be trying to sell their non-AKC puppies for a higher price than they'd be able to charge without having 'registered' dogs.