Recently the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a health alert reporting an increasing number of dogs shipped to the United States with questionable documentation of prior rabies vaccination. The state of Wisconsin passed along the warning and reminded consumers how to best go about getting a new puppy from local breeders. AKC agrees that working with responsible breeders and checking everything from puppies to paperwork is the best way to add a new purebred puppy to your family and offers the following tips:
- How to find a responsible breeder. The best source of information to find responsible breeders is www.akc.org. There you can use the Find a Puppy tool, which allows AKC breeders in good standing to list their litters by state. There are also tools to find national breed club breeder referrals by breed and state.
- A dog breeder can become an invaluable friend and advisor. In addition to striving to improve and preserve the integrity of their breed, many breeders will make themselves available throughout a pet’s life to answer questions and even, if need be, take the pet back if the owner is unable to care for the dog. A responsible breeder carefully matches pet owners with their dogs.
- Visit the breeder’s home or kennel. A breeder will introduce you to the mother (and father if available) to get an idea of what the future holds for your dog in terms of temperament and appearance.
- Observe the premises. Is the house/kennel clean? Odor-free? Dogs and puppies should be clean, well fed, lively and friendly.
- Find out about the health of your puppy and its parents. Responsible breeders will willingly show you proof of health tests, such as OFA and CERF certificates, on the parents.
- Breeders should be willing to answer any questions you have and should ask many of you as well. Breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes, with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations.