a guide to choosing a dog breederYou’ve decided to take a big step and acquire a dog. Congratulations! If you have your heart set on a specific breed of dog – or mix – you’ll need to find a reputable breeder to provide you with that cute furry friend.

If you aren’t fussed about pedigree or age, of course, the right thing to do is to adopt your perfect pooch from a rescue charity.

Search for your nearest Dog Rescue centre on dentons.net.

You’ll pay an adoption fee but will have the assurance that the dog is spayed or neutered, has been tested for sociability and behaviour, and is healthy and free of disease.

If you plan to buy a puppy from a breeder it is crucial to check very carefully that you are not buying a bundle of trouble. At the very least you could unwittingly be encouraging the proliferation of unscrupulous cruel “puppy farms”, and at worst you could be buying a pitiful pup with all sorts of health issues, behavioural problems or genetic defects which will only become apparent later.

Pedigree pups are expensive, which is why the business of breeding them is open to abuse. Be sure you buy from the best – for the sake of yourself and the puppy. As of October 1st 2018, new legislation comes into place for dog breeders. Make sure you’re clued up on the law.


How to decide which breed of dog is for you?

a guide to choosing a dog breederWhether you decide to adopt a fully grown dog or buy a puppy from a breeder it is vital to know as much as you can about the characteristics of the different dog breeds.

Many breeds may surprise you! Chihuahuas, for example, are not always the cute, cuddly little toy dogs they appear to be. They are fierce and can be quite scary, in defence of their owner. They have extremely big barks which they use frequently and don’t like to be around other, especially bigger, breeds of dogs.

It’s a case of matching your personality and lifestyle to the right breed – or a mix of breeds – to ensure that you and your four-footed friend will make each other happy.

Here is a table showing some of the more popular breeds, and what to expect from them. For full breed details see the Breeds Information page on the Kennel Club Website.

Afghan Hound Finicky eaters, high maintenance grooming, energetic, highly strung, good with children.
Airedale Terrier Intelligent and very active, fun-loving, good family pets.
Bassett Hound Tend to be lazy, but need their exercise! Sociable, playful, calm and love children.
Beagle Needs a great deal of exercise, a firm hand with training, monitoring of food intake because of a tendency to overeat. Good-natured and great with children.
Border Collie Fiercely loyal, lively, agile and alert working dog requiring plenty of attention, engagement and exercise. Thrives on training. Not for young children.
Boxer Can be stubborn so need a firm hand. Love to be in the centre of the action. Loyal, lively, strong and very active they need a lot of exercise. Good family pet.
Bulldog Prone to many health problems, and obesity. Intelligent, good-natured and clownish, requiring short walks at a slow pace. They love children.
Daschund (smooth haired) Greedy, prone to spinal problems and skin ailments. Intelligent but difficult to train. Wary of strangers and don’t take easily to children.
Dalmatian Willing and eager to please, outgoing and friendly. Great with children. Their exercise needs are great and can be challenging for owners.
English Cocker Spaniel Quick and keen to learn, they are easy to train. Enjoy swimming and plenty of exercise, great family pet. Prone to eye problems.
Great Dane Affectionate, active, and intelligent they make great family pets. First class watchdogs.
Greyhound Athletic, but short endurance so frequent short runs are best. Calm and social indoors, and good with children, but not cats!
Irish Red Setter Easy to train, needs plenty of exercise, gentle and affectionate with children. Tend to bark incessantly when bored. Daily grooming essential.
Labrador Intelligent companion and assistance dogs, enjoy long walks and retrieving. Good natured, friendly, loving. Perfect family dogs.
Poodle (standard) Curly coats and noble bearing make great show dogs. Lively, affectionate happy family dogs, need plenty of exercise and professional grooming.
Rottweiler Protective, good guard dogs. Require a great deal of exercise. Can be jealous and dominant by nature.
Welsh Corgi (Cardigan) Tendency to become overweight, intelligent and active. Like to nip heels. Suited to an active family.
Yorkshire Terrier Small, but a big attitude. Not just a lap dog but likes to run, chase, fetch. Not good with children.


Where to find a good breeder

Once you have decided which breed, or mixed breed, of dog you would like it’s time to seek one out.

A good place to start is at local dog shows, particularly if you want a pedigreed animal. Ask around among the owners, and find out about breed clubs. If you see a prime example of your chosen breed, ask the owner where he/she came from and contact the breeder.

Word of mouth is the best way to find a reputable, responsible breeder. Advertisements or listings on pet websites are not reliable.

The best breeder to deal with is one that is part of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, which lays down guidelines for health screening and all sorts of other issues related to breeding. Be aware that a responsible dog breeder will NEVER sell puppies through a pet shop, on the internet or from a car boot!

You can find listings for dog breeders and dog breed clubs in your area on dentons.net.


Choosing a dog breeder

Alarm bells should ring if:

These could all be indicators of puppy farming, which in many instances is illegal. By buying a puppy from such a breeder you will be contributing to the practice of puppy farming, in which dogs are often kept in appalling conditions and bred continuously. A puppy from such a background will usually be unhealthy, unsocialised, frightened and stressed – possibly leading to aggression and other behavioural problems in the future.

If you suspect a person of being a puppy farmer walk away and call the RSPCA or the police.

A good breeder will:

When you have chosen your puppy it’s a good idea not to buy him/her immediately. Wait a few weeks, prepare your home for the new arrival and pay visits to the puppy to get to know him/her before you ultimately commit to ownership. Remember a dog is for life – in the case of most dogs, this will be 15 years or more.

What your new addition expects and requires from you:


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