The most important decision you'll make
in getting a dog is the choice of breed.
Many dogs end up returned to the breeder
or dropped at a shelter simply because
not enough thought was put into whether
the breed was suitable for the home.
Try Purina's online Dog Breed Finder
The second most important decision
is your choice of breeder. Whether your
dog is healthy, has a sound temperament,
has been started in housetraining, are
all dependent on the breeder. A good
one will be there for backup whenever
you need it, and will welcome the dog
back if at any time you cannot keep
Thirdly, purchasing a dog is no time
for indulging in "instant gratification".
Do your research, talk to other dog
owners at local shows, trials and pet
Make sure you
are comfortable with where your dog
has come from. For every puppy bought
in a pet store or at a flea market,
another litter is bred, and the more
clever salespeople encourage you to
feel sorry for the puppies so you will
"rescue" them. This is by
no means "Rescue" - this is
supporting the cycle that keeps pet
shops selling puppies. Don't contribute
to this cycle.
A good breeder will make sure you know
the breed's drawbacks and any special
All breeds have some drawbacks. If
the breed you're considering drools
a lot, is hard to housebreak, does not
live long, or may instinctively chase
and kill small animals, or (fill in
the blank!) a good breeder makes sure
you understand those characteristics.
If your dog must be kept as an indoor
dog, must always be leashed or fenced,
requires lots of grooming, or is subject
to heatstroke, a responsible breeder
tells you these things upfront. If a
breeder starts to sound like a used-car
salesman, telling you only the good
things and she refuses to talk about
the bad ones, find another breeder.
Again, do your research. Your future
dog is counting on it.