The initial cost of a dog is only a small part of what is to come. Care, feeding, training, vet's fees, medications, grooming and boarding are all factors that must be considered before the decision to purchase a dog is made. Always buy from a breeder with a good reputation.
Generally, breeders have different attitudes toward pricing. In Andrew Brace's experience, the best breeders are those who say, "My puppies cost this much and for this I am willing to sell you a typical, sound, healthy puppy with quality breeding. if the pup turns into a great show dog, that is a bonus, but I am not selling you any guarantees in that direction." Some breeders will price puppies in a litter on a sliding scale, with "show puppies" double what "pet puppies" cost, but in reality it is impossible to grade puppies like this and such breeders should be given a wide berth.
BUYING A SHOW DOG
A top show dog can command almost any price, because it will have proved itself in the ring. This is especially true of a dog that is in the hands of a very wise breeder or a knowledgeable professional handler. Anyone who wants a show dog of this caliber will have to part with a sizeable amount of money, and in all probability will be unable to take the dog home. The dog will remain with a professional to further its career, and the owner will be left with bills for its board, training, grooming, vet fees, showing and advertising. The rewards for this are the pleasure of owning a fine animal, seeing its name in print and starting a collection of ribbons and trophies. When the star is retired, it may come to live with its owner, unless it is decided that it would be better for it to remain with the person with whom it has lived for the duration of its show career.
Buying a young prospect as a companion and show dog involves an element of risk and this is where a mentor of some sort can be extremely helpful. An expert with a good reputation can generally be found to advise, provided that money and time are no object. The most useful advice is to try to buy the best dog that can be afforded and to seek the advice of the best mentor available. Showing dogs is a fascinating sport but it can also be all-consuming and its rewards are very rarely financial ones.
In Andrew Brace's opinion, when selecting a puppy as a show dog, he would want to see it at between six and eight weeks of age. This is when the puppy looks like a miniature version of the mature adult. At this stage puppies have the proportions and balance that they will show later in life. once they get beyond this age, they will grow disproportionately lengthen in the back, appear higher at the rear than at the withers and so on - only to return to their former promise with full maturity. The puppies should be seen running together because far more can be deduced than if they are seen "stacked" singly on a table.
Essentially, it is important that a puppy should look like its breed even though it is a baby. Character and a strong personality should be visible. A puppy that catches the eye because it has a certain "swagger" is the one which will develop "style" as an adult. Most importantly, the puppy should simply catch the new owner's eye. if it does that, it will also be likely to catch a judge's eye later in life.
REGISTERED PUPPIES AND DOGS
Whether a dog can be registered with a kennel club depends on the country in which it is being registered. In the United States and Canada, all purebred dogs are eligible for registration if their parents are registered with the American Kennel Club or the Canadian Kennel Club. in these countries, when a dog is purchased, the seller must provide an application for registration. The new owner must complete the form stating whether full registration or a non-breeding, non-showing application is being applied for.
If the dog has already been registered, the seller must endorse the back of the registration certificate to the new owner, who must send the form to the address indicated with the stated fee. The governing body will then register the dog in the new owner's name and send a certificate verifying this.
When the dog's name has been decided, the application has been completed and sent to the kennel club with the fee, in due course the dog will be registered in the new owner's name and a certificate will issued. A rule recently introduced in the United States requires that, in most cases, registrations must be complete by the time a dog is six months old.
Registration papers should be thoroughly discussed and explained at the time of purchase. All terms of the sale should be made clear to the new owner and proper documentation of the transaction should be provided. Any restrictions on breeding, arrangements allowing a dog to be shown, or anything that ties the purchaser and the seller to an agreement should be clearly documented. It is advisable to seek a legal opinion on the validity of t he document. Both seller and buyer should keep a copy of the agreement. The breeder should supply a pedigree, showing the dog's family tree. If this is not forthcoming, for a fee the registering kennel club will supply a copy of this interesting document.
In the United Kingdom, registration must be within twelve months of the birth. The onus of registering a dog with the Kennel Club lies with the breeder. At the time of mating the bitch, the breeder must obtain an official Kennel Club form from the owner of the stud dog, which certifies that the mating took place on a certain date. Following the birth of a litter, this form must be completed by the breeder, specifying full details about the sire and dam, and the number, color and sex of the puppies. Puppies must be named at this stage by the breeder. In the past, buyers could register puppies that they had bought unregistered. In FCI countries, registration demands vary from country to country and, under some registration bodies, certain health certificates must be held by the parents before registration is granted. These certificates document such things as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and so on - and this all varies from breed to I-)reed.
SELECTING A PUPPY
Buying a dog will probably affect the next ten years, so patience is well warranted. If there is any doubt about having found the right breeder or the right dog, the buyer should not feel pressured into making a purchase that feels wrong. Appointments with breeders should be made in advance and preferably limited to one a day. Buyers should not be surprised if they are asked endless questions. Any conscientious breeder will want to have a great amount of information about anyone keen to buy one of their puppies.
Young puppies are vulnerable and breeders may be reluctant to allow them to be handled out of concern for their health. It is helpful to watch the interaction between litter mates so that a puppy can I-)e measured against the others. Each puppy has its own complex genetic make-up and personality and as they play it is easy to pick out the shy one, the bully, the one who asks to I-)e looked at. Puppies should be eager, outgoing, healthy and happy. The biggest mistake a buyer can make is to feel sorry for a weak-looking or nervous puppy and take it home. This will end in misery. It is important to take the time to observe the puppies and ask questions of the breeder who has watched them since their birth. If feasible, the puppy should be seen along with its dam and its sire, though this may not be possible. It is important to check that the bitch has sound temperament and is a good looking specimen - making allowances for the inevitable loss of condition following whelping.
New owners should take the puppy to the vet as soon as possible. The puppy should he transported in a carrier. Bring all the puppy's records. While the vet carries out the examination, take details of the vet's hours, staff, who to call in emergencies, and note any differences between the vet's and the breeder's recommendations on pet care. Once home, details of the visit to the vet should be reported by telephone to the breeder. if upon examination the vet detects a defect or problem that would render the puppy unfit for sale, the usual procedure is to return the puppy. The purchase price should be refunded.
BUYING AN OLDER DOG
When a dog of six months or older is being purchased, it will need more time to become part of the family. The adjustment will he easier if the dog's accustomed routine is followed. Management is extremely important for an older dog, which should not be left unattended for long periods of time. Even though the dog may appear to have bonded, a strange voice or a frightening sound may make it take off - and most dogs can outrun their owners.
LONG DISTANCE PURCHASES
There are times when a puppy or dog cannot be purchased locally. Then it will be necessary to resort to purchasing by phone or by mail. Clearly state your needs. Keep a record of what you have requested and of anything promised. When writing, be explicit and demand the same of the breeder who is selling. Most people have a mental picture of their ideal dog but the breeder may have a completely different picture. These days, many breeders use video cassettes to show their stock. If videos are not available, ask for pictures of both the mother and father and of the other puppies in the litter.
The new pup should be taken home on a flight or in a car but the travel arrangements should be comfortable. As soon as the puppy is home, it should be taken directly to the vet. Then the seller should be given a report.
Few breeders will ship puppies to strangers. In fact, Andrew Brace feels that if a puppy buyer cannot be bothered to collect a puppy personally then the buyer cannot be that keen to own it.
A WORD OF WARNING
There are a few miscellaneous cautions about purchasing a dog. First of all, never buy a dog as a surprise gift: it may not be welcome, in which case it is likely to be given away. Even if someone would definitely welcome such a present, selecting the dog or puppy should be a joint project. The person on the receiving end should be allowed to make the final decision. When buying a dog as a child's gift, the child should be allowed to make the choice within reason. It is usually wise to wait until the child is six before taking such step. Younger children and dogs can become inseparable but supervision is needed to ensure proper care. It is advisable to wait until he child and pup have adjusted to each other and their initial excitement has calmed own before imposing any serious control.
Often a family is so taken with a puppy that they decide to own two, thinking that the pups will keep each other company. This is true to a degree but two dogs will never bond as intimately with an owner as will one dog. if two dogs sound tempting, remember that it is far better to own one well-raised dog and then to let the first dog raise the second one, acquired later, itself.
TAKING IN AN UNWANTED DOG
In modern society, many wonderful dogs end up in animal shelters. If you would like to provide a home for an unwanted dog, it is worth contacting and investigating a shelter. Good shelters will give an honest evaluation, spay or neuter dogs if required, and provide good care for animals. Few will be able to supply a complete history of each dog. Nonetheless, many truly fine pets may be found in humane shelters.
Patience, a desire to help a dreadful situation that is growing throughout the world, and a sincere love of dogs are several of the many reasons why pets might be selected from a shelter. Anyone who decides to choose a pet from a shelter should still seek the advice of a vet and abide by his or her evaluation of the chosen dog.
A DOG IS FOR LIFE
No matter how many dogs you will ever own, each is different. The choice of dog ties with you, its future owner, but once you have made the decision, it will be your friend for life. Enjoy the dog, treasure it and never let it down. It will never disappoint you. Bringing a new puppy into the home requires careful preparation. Before a purchase is made, an owner must decide what to expect from the dog and why the dog is wanted. Responsibility for feeding, exercise, training and veterinary care should also be established well in advance.