"Over three million dogs are put to death each year in this country" according to statistics from the Humane Society of the United States. Tens of thousands others are dumped and never get to a humane shelter. Some studies indicate that as much as 25 % of these dogs are purebreds. A large number of these dogs could have been spared this fate if their owners had simply thought before they bought.
If you want a purebred, do some research on the breeds. Ask yourself a few questions like "Do I have enough room for this puppy when it's grown?" and "Am I prepared to care for this dog for the next 10-15 years?". These are simple questions that MUST be answered. If your answer is "no", then buy a stuffed animal. If your answer is "yes", then go to your local library, bookstore, or do a search on the internet for breeds. Make sure you pick a breed that will fit your lifestyle.
Not all people want a purebred. To these folks I say "Save a life." Go to your local humane society. The people there will help you in your search to find the right mixed breed puppy for you.
To the people who decide they want a purebred, have done their research, and have chosen their breed: Please contact a the national breed clubs! They can put you in contact with breeders close to you that will be reputable. Please do not buy a puppy from a pet store! You have no way of knowing the backgrounds of those puppies. Most reputable breeders can help make sure you have picked the right breed for you. Be prepared to be interviewed by the breeder. That's okay. You should have some questions for the breeder too. Most breeders will not sell a puppy before it's weaned, usually at 6 weeks of age or older.
Things to consider when choosing your puppy;
Are the puppies clean and healthy?
Are you allowed to meet the parents?
If it's a large-breed, have the parents been x-rayed for hip dysplasia?
Have the puppies been vet-checked and started on vaccinations & wormings?
Will the breeder take this puppy back if things don't work? Even as an adult dog?
Is this breeder helpful or in a hurry to get you to write out your check?
Once you've picked out your new family member, remember this is all new to the puppy. Be patient. The puppy will have to be potty-trained, taught the basic manners, and it MUST be socialized. A puppy that grows up fearful is a danger to everyone. Even if it is a 3 pound Yorkshire Terrier.
A pet should be a joy to have. There are so many books and web sites out there, I can only list a few. I hope this has given you something to think on. Good luck. Love and hug those puppies!
AKC Dog Care And Training, by AKC, Howell Book House
You & Your Dog, by David Taylor, Alfred A. Knopf Inc.
Civilizing Your Puppy, by Barbara J. Wrede, Barron's Publishing
How To Raise A Puppy You Can Live With, by Rutherford & Neil, Alpine Publications
We now have a third dog, a rescued dalmatian, that shares our bed. She's just not in this photo ;)
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