Educate yourself. If you are looking for a purebred puppy, the American Kennel Club site provides information about each breed. There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing a pure bred dog. Years of specific breeding have often created genetic health issues, so be sure to find out what problems are common in your desired breed, and what health testing you should expect a good breeder to do. For more on education and breed selection see Should we get the kids a puppy for Christmas?
Choose a breeder wisely. They are not all created equal, and finding a good match can really help you. A good breeder will want to interview you to ensure that their dog will be going to a good home. They will put the dog’s welfare ahead of their own monetary benefit. They will expect you to sign a contract of some sort. They will require you to return the puppy to them if you are unable to care for it at any point in time. They will be willing to answer your questions, offer advice on raising your puppy and serve as a great support system. I have pretty high standards these days and generally suggest Natural Rearing breeders. (more…)