Getting a puppy: Questions to ask, things to look for

There are a number of details worth consideration when looking for your puppy. Your prudent research could prevent many problems.

1. Ask for American Kennel Club (and/or United Kennel Club) registrations. These organizations keep track of the number of litters bred every year , require verification of breed records, and set breed standards for type and temperament.

2. Ask to see Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) hip certifications. Do not settle for the breeder merely telling you that the dogs have good hips. Seeing the certificates is the only way you can be certain. There are other genetic tests sometimes performed at the breeder’s discretion, but the OFA hip radiograph is imperative.
Visit the OFA Online.

3. It is important to at least see the mother dog. It would be ideal to see both parents, but sometimes the bitch is sent to a stud dog at another location. Check out the general health of the female dog. Keep in mind, mother dog might be a little scruffy looking after caring for puppies. However, a clean coat and well maintained animal and premises is hard to miss. Ask how many times she has been bred: she should be at least two years old and not older than seven years old; the maximum number of times per year is one litter of puppies…she should not be bred everytime she comes into season – no exceptions!

4. Let your nose tell you if the premises are clean. There should not be much odor in a well run kennel. Also, the presence of excessive amounts of fleas indicates unclean or unhealthy conditions. Look at the condition of the other dogs on the premises.

5. Check pedigrees and health certificates. How many champions are represented? Does this breeder attend dog shows, obedience trials, field trials? While many good dogs are bred without championships, a breeder who attends dogs shows or other events for a second opinion on their foundation stock may take care to follow the breed standard with more detail.

6. Ask if the puppies have been checked by a veterinarian or if they’ve had their first shots (usually around 5 weeks).Does the contract protect both the breeder and the buyer? Make certain the important records are in writing including the immunization record.

7.Ask the breeder if they are members of the Weimaraner Club of America or other breed clubs.

8.Expect caring breeders to be nosy, asking you many questions about your lifestyle, your other pets and your intentions with the dog. They want to know you’ll be an appropriate home especially if they guarantee to take the dog back if it does not work out.

Puppy mills, brokers, backyard breeders and the neighbor down the street usually do not belong to their local breed clubs or the national clubs. They do not want to draw attention to themselves or be regulated in any way, and clubs have a tendency to ask too many questions. If they are operating within the rules of the AKC, they are not otherwise regulated and are considered lawful kennels. All too often, regulations that are in place to protect the breed and the consumer are carefully circumvented by individuals who appear to be legitimate.

Consumer education is the most important tool available to control such kennels. Much of the language used by these individuals is misleading. It is sometimes difficult to protect yourself against lies. Beware!