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So You Want to Buy A Puppy!  

Where to buy your puppy
You are making an investment, which over the years will amount to over $3000. It will cost the same whether you buy a good dog or a poor specimen - possibly more if you purchase an animal that lacks the hardiness, or health credentials that should be behind a well-bred animal.

Commercial dealers
They handle many breeds of dogs cannot possibly be aware of the detailed characteristics, which distinguish each of them.  Not to mention the fact that they could not be aware of the hereditary defects that occur in each breed and those bloodlines where certain problems are more likely to occur. Generally they do not offer a written health guarantee against genetic health problems such as hip dysplasia, and eye problems. Nor do most of them certify their breeding dogs with the appropriate health agencies.

Private hobby breeders
They specialize in one or two breeds and has taken the time to educate himself as to the problems, which occur in his breed.  He has an intimate knowledge of his breed. He wants to know how his puppies develop as his breeding program is guided by the results of his previous successes and failures.  He wants to be sure that you and his breed are suited for each other.  He will always be there as a source of information for raising and training your puppy. Reputable breeders have their breeding dogs certified wit
h appropriate health agencies and offer a written health guarantee.

Picking a private hobby breeder
The purpose of dog shows is to select the best specimens of the breed --- to select those dogs who are most worthy of producing progeny.  Every litter, no matter how carefully planned, will contain a few puppies of outstanding quality, but the majority will be of average quality who will make wonderful pets and hunting dogs.  You will benefit from the knowledge and dedication of the "show breeder".  His pet or average pup will probably be of much better quality than the best you will ever see from a commercial dealer; and the selling price of pet puppies is competitive. Ask lots of questions of the breeder from wanting to see the parents (if both are available on premises) or pictures and health clearances of the sire. Ask about viewing a copy of certified (OFA, CERF, PRA, DM) health clearances for both parents. Ask about genetic, health problems, temperament and dog aggression the breeder has encountered. Ask about a written health guarantee. Most reputable breeders have puppy contracts, a guarantee against genetic health problems. They are not afraid to talk about their dogs, breeding program or answer your questions.

Buyer beware
AKC registration does not mean quality. Any individual with a purebred dog may breed to another purebred dog of the same breed and provide the puppies with AKC registration.  The parents may be very poor specimens of their breed, and their puppies poorer still.  The difference in price between a puppy bred by a serious breeder and another individual who has no in-depth knowledge of the breed may be very slight.  Retrievers are extremely popular breeds and many people are seeking to make a few dollars by having a litter of puppies. He may not have the knowledge or be willing to spend the money to do the right breeding and properly raise the puppies and to have the health credentials behind them. The serious breeder knows the faults and virtues of his dogs.  The perfect dog has not yet been born.  The challenge is breeding two animals and producing something that is better that either of its parents.  This is the goal of the serious breeder.  He should want to breed only the best.

If my dog is AKC Registered does that make him a quality dog?
All AKC registration means is a dog is registered with AKC in their registry.  AKC is just a registry, that’s it.  It is the breeders who have the responsibility of producing healthy, quality dogs.  AKC does some kennel checks, but considering the huge amount of kennels out there, and the small amount of people that AKC probably employees for doing these checks, it just goes to reason that they cannot keep tabs on all the people out there who are registering dogs.  AKC does not require breeders to do any health checks before breeding.  It will just record the information on AKC papers if you have secured certification numbers.  When AKC inspects a kennel they will require proper records, proper ID of each dog, reasonable cleanliness and reasonable care of the dogs.  They don't require hereditary health checks on the breeding stock or any type of socialization of the pups. Conscientious breeders, for the love of the breed, do socialization and health certifications. Reputable hobby breeders do X-rays for hip dysplasia, regular vet exams, do eye exams to screen for hereditary eye disease, Cardiac, Thyroid testing, screening for heart defects in some breeds, and many other things.  So yes, the pups might be AKC registered, but all that this tells you is that both parents were also AKC registered.  It does absolutely nothing to guarantee quality or health. It is up to you as the buyer to find a good breeder and ask questions and secure proof of health tests on the dogs.  Proof of the quality and the natural ability of a dog can be in the form of an AKC Championship in conformation, or titles in performance events or in the performance of an excellent hunting dogs and companions. I bet if you go out and ask the folks at any pet shop selling AKC pups to supply you with proof of health tests on the parents they won't have a clue what you mean. It is not acceptable to be told that "the parents are just fine and we've never had a moments sickness out of them".  You need to see proof from the registries (OFA, CERF, PRA) that certify the various health tests that the dogs were tested and certified as free of these health problems.  There are some diseases that can be DNA tested for now.  Many diseases do not show up in the dog until 1 year of age and as late as 5-8 years of age.  This is well past the age of this dog having produced pups that are now at risks of having these problems also. This is why reputable breeders test their breeding stock and do not breed a dog unless it has all the health clearances. There's just so much more involved in a quality puppy then having sent in the $36 or so to register each parent and saying, “my dog is a pedigree dog with AKC” so therefore I have a quality puppy for sale.  Being AKC registered is not a valid reason to breed a dog either.

AKC Registration
As a pure bred dog, both the parents of this puppy are registered with the American Kennel Club. Please register your dog. Years of study, care, training and expense have been spent to insure that your puppy is sound, as healthy as possible and of good temperament. When I sell a puppy for a pet, it is my understanding that you do not wish to show in conformation or breed him. He/she will therefore be placed on limited registration and is to be spayed or neutered.  By registering, you and he can still compete in any field test, hunting competition or performance event, just not in the show ring.

Limited Registration and Breeding
If at some future date, you decide you would like to maybe show or breed, please contact me and I will be glad to evaluate the puppy. I can reverse the limited registration to full registration thereby making him eligible to be shown and bred if I feel that he has grown into a quality specimen for the breed. Certainly never breed to the cute dog down the street, or to educate the children, or to the free dog next door or to just make money. When one breeds, it is to always improve the breed and to keep the required Breed Standard and health clearances. Be very sure you even wish to undertake breeding. Raising a litter can be a rewarding experience for all concerned, but as any serious breeder with experience knows, the hours are long; the tasks of breeding, whelping and raising the puppies are not for the squeamish and costs are invariably higher than you had planned. You must be able to place all the puppies in good homes, so they don't end up in shelters or rescue. You also have to be in a position to guarantee the quality of the puppies should they ever have a problem when with the new owner. You are basically “on call” 24 hours a day as you have to watch over the about to whelp bitch or meet feeding schedules of month old puppies. I will do my best to help you find a mate that is of equal quality so that you will be proud of you pups. Per my breeding/show contract, all breeding dogs must have hips OFA certified, eye clearances by CERF and must be PRA and DM tested, unless the dog is PRA and DM clear by parentage, before any breeding is ever considered.

Picking out your Puppy from the Litter
Dogs do not pick owners! They don't think or reason as humans and have no way of doing so. Having been a breeder for 40 years I can tell you that the way I place the dogs with the owners is the best guarantee that you can get the dog you are looking for. I help pick the puppy for the new owner. I know their personalities, which you cannot see in 15 minutes of looking at them. I know the breeding behind them, as I have several generations of my own dogs behind these puppies. I know the faults, abilities and the quality of the parents, which is one of the most important things. I see the puppies all day for 8 weeks, and know what they are all about and their individual traits. You would not be able to know that, nor could the dog himself show you that when you walk up to it. The puppy you think or see as quiet might be the Alpha in the litter, it's just that he has ran and wore himself out by the time you see him. The biggest is not the best hunter necessarily, nor is the runt of the litter the quietest! Most people are not qualified enough on breed structure to be able to find the best dog for show and breeding. Sorry, but I've had many people pick the wrong dog, so I help pick the puppy for the new owner, for your safety and the dog’s. Any questions, any concerns you can always contact me by email or by phone.

Always consult with your Veterinarian for treatment or before treating your dog with any medication

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