A good place to start your research is on the American Kennel Club Web site, www.akc.org, or with The Complete Dog Book, available at most bookstores. The web site and book describe all breeds currently recognized by the American Kennel Club. These descriptions, or standards, include information on the size, weight, accepted colors, and other physical characteristics and temperaments of the individual breeds. There is information on each breed's origins as well. Because so much is known about every breed's ancestry, we are able to predict how your puppy will grow to look and act.
Local veterinarians are also helpful. They may be familiar with many different breeds and may be able to answer questions you have regarding the suitability of a particular breed to your lifestyle and environment. They may also be able to answer questions relating to health concerns of a particular breed you are considering.
Asking the Right Questions
It is important to ask questions before you choose a dog. What kind of temperament is the dog likely to have? Temperament is a primary concern. Most breeds were developed with specific functions in mind. Some were bred to hunt at the side of their master, while others were left to guard herds of sheep. The job your prospective pet was bred to perform may provide insight into how well he will accept visitors into your home or how he will behave around children.
What size will your dog be when it is full grown? Size is especially a concern if you live in an apartment or a planned community. How much exercise will your dog require? Some dogs are very athletic by nature and are happiest with a good deal of exercise. While all dogs need regular exercise, some breeds are happy with frequent walks. Others need room to run.
How much coat care will your dog need? While all dogs need care, some breeds require frequent grooming to continue to look their best. Long-coated dogs are beautiful, but keeping their coats in good condition requires work or regular visits to a groomer.
Will you have time for training your dog? Basis obedience training is essential for all dogs. While some breeds are better suited for more specific types of training, a well-mannered dog makes the best companion.
What health issues exist in the breed?
Once you have identified the breed that suits you and your lifestyle best, review your choice. Be certain your chosen breed will suit your environment and way of life. It's a choice you will live with for years.
The Right Way to Buy
The breeder of the pure bred puppy must be willing to furnish you with one of the three following items, or you should consider finding another breeder:
A properly completed AKC registration application.
The pup's AKC registration certificate, properly completed, transferring ownership to you.
A bill of sale listing the sire and dam of your puppy and their AKC registration numbers, the date the puppy was born, the puppy's sex and color, the name and address of the breeder, and the name and address of the buyer. If the seller won't furnish the properly completed AKC forms or a bill of sale, don't buy the dog.
Whether you are buying a pure bred puppy or a mixed breed, keep in mind......
The Right Way to Choose a Puppy
Look for healthy, outgoing puppies that are in good condition. Are they clean, bright-eyed, and full of energy? Are the breeder's facilities clean, secure, and well maintained?
Ask to see the dam (mother) of the puppies. If she is not available, ask why not.
Ask about the health issues that concern the breed (your homework will have made you aware of these. Ask if the sire (father) and dam have been screened for these problems.
Ask about spaying or neutering and what guidance the breeder can give you on these important considerations.
Inquire about inoculations and how often the pup should be fed and exercised.
Make sure everyone in the family takes part in the decision-making process. Mom and dad will ultimately be responsible for the pet, so they should be as happy about owning a dog as the kids are!
Information adapted from the American Kennel Club
Feel free to pass along this information to those wanting the facts about buying a new puppy.