So you’ve been thinking about getting a new puppy or adult dog to add to your family. It can be an exciting time but a bit overwhelming as well. You’re probably asking yourself what breed is suitable for my lifestyle? Should I buy a registered dog? From a rescue or a breeder? Puppy or adult? These are some common questions that most potential new dog owners face. In this blog, we’ll help you find some answers.
First, there’s the question of puppy versus adult. Both have pros and cons. If you’re considering an adult dog, it’ll probably come from either a rescue organization, retired show/breeding program, or an owner re-home. The good news is that the dog is probably already housetrained, spayed/neutered and more mature so you won’t have to go through the puppy housebreaking or chewing stage. But, sometimes there’s a reason why an older dog needs a new home – perhaps there are some behavioral and/or health issues. If you decide to adopt an older dog, make sure to meet it in person and visit its current home environment. Also ask as many questions as possible about its temperament and health. If there are any behavioral issues be realistic about whether or not you’re prepared to put the time, effort and resources into rehabbing the dog. Depending on the issue this could be a much longer and more difficult process that training a young puppy. If you decide to adopt an adult dog, do ask for a 1-2 week trial period to make sure it’s a good fit for you and the dog.
If you decide to get a puppy, you’re in for a lot of training along with loads of puppy kisses and cuteness! Yes, prepare yourself for housetraining, chewing, mouthing and jumping. You’ll have to make sure the puppy is dewormed, microchipped (in case it ever gets lost or stolen, it can be traced back to you as its owner), and vaccinated (puppies need 3 sets of vaccinations, about a month apart). If you’re getting a puppy from a reputable breeder or rescue, chances are it’ll be up to date on all of these things.
A reputable breeder is one where you can meet both parents. The parents will have been health tested prior to breeding and they may have some work and/or show titles as well. Generally, a reputable breeder will insist on a sales contract, which will probably include a non-breeding clause, health guarantee and lifetime breeder support. They won’t just sell you a puppy and disappear; they’ll be happy to get updates from you and answer any health or training questions you may have in the future. A reputable breeder typically sells registered puppies. Buying a registered puppy means that it’s purebred and you can trace its lineage; whereas with an unregistered puppy, you don’t really know what you’re getting. Even if advertised as “purebred” there’s no guarantee that it really is. By the way, sometimes you can find purebred puppies at a rescue or adoption center so a breeder is not the only way to go if you’re looking for a purebred puppy.
Sometimes breed selection can be daunting as there are literally hundreds of dog breeds out there. First figure out what your lifestyle is, i.e. are you active, do you have kids, do you live in the city or on a farm etc.? Pick a breed that will match your lifestyle. So, for example, if you live in an apartment, it’s probably best to get a small or medium sized dog. If you don’t have time to do a lot of grooming yourself or don’t want to spend money on a groomer, then choose a short-haired dog. If you’re not that active, don’t get a working breed. Now with a mixed breed or “mutt,” be prepared for anything! Temperament, looks and size will be more unpredictable compared to getting a purebred but the unconditional love and devotion will be the same. Good luck with your search and hopefully you’ll find that new best friend soon!