you begin the search for that special puppy to share your home, there are
several issues that you must first resolve.
The most important question is whether or not you are ready to commit
yourself to being a responsible dog owner.
Is there time in your life to devote to your new companion, or will he
be left alone for long stretches of time while you are at work or school?
of your family happy about getting a puppy or do some view this as an
intrusion? Is your home dog friendly and safe?
Do you have a fenced yard? Where
will the dog sleep? Where will
the dog stay when you can’t be home with him? Do you know of a Shar-Pei
friendly veterarian? Questions such as these must
be honestly answered before you make the decision to get a puppy.
Remember this is a long-term commitment and you must do what is best
for both you and the puppy.
to buy a grown dog or a young puppy is a very important question to consider.
It is undeniably fun to watch a puppy grow in to a mature and dignified
adult. But, if you don’t have
the time required to spend on the more frequent meals, housebreaking,
veterinarian visits, training and socializing and other needs your puppy may
have to become a dog you can be proud of, then consider a partly-trained
adolescent or a grown dog. Visit
your local shelter or rescue organization they often have wonderful adults
that are suitable for adoption.
you have a small child, it is best to get a puppy big enough to defend itself,
one not less than 4 or 5 months old. Young
children must be taught that the puppy is a fragile living being, not a
stuffed toy. Children must learn how to handle and care for young animals.
should never be left unsupervised with a dog of any age.
you are considering a show dog, remember that no one, not even an expert, can
predict with one hundred percent accuracy what a puppy will be like when he
grows up. The puppy may seem to
exhibit show “potential” but realistically four to six months is the
earliest age for the would-be exhibitor to select a show prospect and know
that its future is in the show ring.
NEVER BUY ON A
DON'T BUY FROM A PET SHOP OR PUPPY MILL.
Telephone or email the breeders and ask about the breed. Most will be happy to
answer any questions you might have and will advise you of the suitability of
their breed to your situation.
Decide if you want a pet or a show quality pup. This may determine how long
you have to wait and how much you will have to pay - show or breeding quality
pups usually being fewer in number and more expensive.
Have a look at the health of the other dogs in the kennel. Are they lively
alert and friendly? (Don't forget most kenneled dogs will bark at strangers
and some breeds will very rarely look friendly but you can get a general idea
- dogs that look down right viscous might not be good parents for a pet dog).
Does the kennel look clean and sanitary? Do the dogs react happily to the
owner/handler or do they cringe, snap or growl?
Puppies should be nicely rounded in shape without being overly fat or skin and
Most healthy pups will have shiny alert eyes and healthy looking coats.
Check that the puppies are not infested with ticks and fleas. Ask to see both
parents. It is common for breeders to use a stud dog that they do not own but
they may have photos of the dog. Quite often the bitch will not look in 'show
condition' after whelping a litter. The reason for this is that feeding a
litter places huge demands on the bitch so she may be a little thin (but not
skin and bones) and may 'blow' her coat (shed)due to the hormonal changes
caused by pregnancy and milk production. She should however still appear happy
lively confident interact well with the owner/breeder and show no signs of
Ask the breeder if they have any references from people who have bought their
puppies in the past. Make sure that you see all appropriate paperwork
including parent’s pedigrees medical certificates for tests such as hip
dysplasia if this is relevant to the breed as well as the puppy’s pedigree
papers and vet certificate confirming worming and vaccinations. Be very
skeptical of any breeder who is not willing to show you paperwork - if you are
unable to see the papers the breeder may not actually have them! Many people
are not concerned about having 'papers' for their pet however you do want to
make sure that if you are paying the price for a pure bred dog then that is
what you are getting. Also if the breed that you are buying are prone to
certain medical conditions you want to make sure that the parents have been
'cleared' by a vet and the puppies checked (depending on the relevant
condition)to ensure that there is the smallest chance possible that the pup
you buy will develop the condition.
What else should I look for in a healthy puppy?
Nose should be cool and moist and not running. If there is a nasal discharge
or frequent sneezing this may be a sign of a respiratory tract infection.
Check the teeth and gums. Most breeds have a scissor bite which is when the
upper incisors tightly overlap the lower. Gums should be pink and healthy
looking. Pale gums indicate anemia. The puppy should have clean smelling
Check the back of the throat, enlarged tonsils can mean tonsillitis.
Ears and Eyes:
Eyes should look straight ahead and not deviate to the side. If tear staining
is present on the muzzle look for eyelids that are rolled in or out, extra
eyelashes or conjunctivitis. White spots on the surface of the eye could be
scars from prior injuries or infections. Ears should stand correctly for the
breed. Tips should be healthy and well furred. Crusty tips with bare spots
suggest sarcoptic mange. Ear canal should be clean, wax free and sweet
smelling. A buildup of wax or a rancid odor may be caused by ear mites. Head
shaking and tenderness about the ear indicates an infection of the ear canal.
Feel the chest to see if the heart seems especially vibrant. Puppies should
breathe in and out without effort. A flat chest, when accompanied by trouble
breathing in may indicate an airway obstruction.
Coat and Skin:
Skin and hair around the anus should be clean and healthy looking. Signs of
irritation such as redness or hair loss indicate the possibility of worms,
chronic diarrhea or digestive disorder. Coat should be bright and shiny.
Excess scale or itching in the coat suggests mites, fleas or other parasites.
Legs should be straight and well formed. Structural faults include legs that
are bowed in or out. Gait should be free and smooth. A limp or faltering gait
may be the result of a sprain or hurt pad or hip dysplasia or other joint
It is ultimately your responsibility to research the breeds you are interested
in as well as the individual breeder that you finally purchase from and while
it is your right to ask as many questions as possible it is also the breeders
right (and responsibility) to ask you questions as well so don't be offended
if the breeder gives you the third degree!