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Choosing the perfect puppy for you

When you have decided that you want a puppy, it is a very exciting time. The first thing you must do is decide what breed you want. This choice will be influenced by many factors including, size of the home, time available to spend with the dog, level of knowledge and experience, other pets and whether you have children.

Once decided upon a breed, you can then start looking for breeders. Search our Dog Breeders Association site in order to find a breeder in your area. Some breeds will require you to wait for a new litter whereas more popular breeds will most probably yield more litters to meet demand.

When you locate a breeder that you are interested in, arrange to go and visit.

When you go and visit the litter, make sure you use this opportunity to ask the owner plenty of questions. Make sure that you are happy with the environment, breeder and parents of the litter before seriously considering purchasing.

There are several questions that you should ask:

• Can I see the parents – if they say no, be very wary as the pups should still be with their mother at this age
• Ask to see the medical scores of the parents, especially hip and eye tests. Problems are hereditary so the answer is crucial.
• Have you socialised and started training the puppies?
• Can you provide me with information on rearing the puppy including feeding, grooming and training advice? The breeder should not hesitate to offer their help.

Choosing your puppy out of the litter:

This very much depends on personal preference. However, it is recommended that you do not choose the puppy that is cowering in the corner. Sometimes the puppy seems to choose you. Some puppies will pick you out, jumping up at your legs, making a real fuss of you. It goes without saying but a good temperament is vital in your puppy. Try and take as many family members as possible so that the puppies can meet everyone.

You may be asked to leave a deposit once you have decided on a puppy. This is normally around 20%. Do not pay in full for the puppy as you will not be able to collect it until it is 8 weeks old. Most people pay on collection.

The majority of breeders will let you come back and visit as many times as you wish before you can take your puppy home. Some people name their pup so that the breeder can start using their name and getting them used to it.

See ‘Bringing your Puppy Home’ to read hints and tips on how to go about settling them into their new home.