A Puppy For Christmas? Hold Off On That Hound!

A Puppy For Christmas? Hold Off On That Hound!

--AKC ® Recommends Parents Teach Responsible Dog Ownership - Put "My First AKC Puppy Kit" by Steiff Under the Tree--

New York , N.Y. - A cute, cuddly puppy is tops on many Christmas lists this year. Tempting though it may be to grant your children's holiday wish, the holidays are not the ideal time for new puppy ownership.

"The first few months of a puppy's life are extremely important-he will require your full, undivided attention and will need training, exercise, socialization, trips to the vet and lots of love and care," said AKC spokesperson Gina Lash . "With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it's difficult to set aside the time a puppy needs during this important life stage."

Yet, parents don't need to be a scrooge when it comes to puppies for the holidays. "My First AKC Puppy Kit," developed by legendary German toymaker Steiff, is the perfect precursor to real puppy love. The kit helps young children count down to the arrival of their new real-life pet, while teaching them the responsibilities of dog ownership. On "Day One," flip open a numbered tab to reveal a dog bowl. The following day, the lucky owner can unleash an adorable dog bandana. The doors to "Days Three and Four" open up to a respective "Best in Show" ribbon and doggie bone. Finally, the big day - "Day Five" -- delivers a cute plush yellow Labrador Retriever, complete with an American Kennel Club registration certificate.

"Surprise your kids by gift-wrapping pet supplies such as a leash, food bowl, training book or a dog-related toy to symbolize the new family member you will add after the holiday," added Lash. "Teach kids about responsible dog ownership as they prepare for the real thing. During any lulls in holiday celebrations, take time to research the breed that best suits your family's lifestyle, talk to your children about what doggie tasks they will own, and begin your search for a responsible breeder that produces happy, healthy puppies."

Geared toward children ages three to six, the "My First AKC Puppy Kit" (SRP: $55) is now available exclusively at FAO Schwarz locations in New York and Las Vegas or at www.faoschwarz.com.

Other options for young dog lovers on your list include:

  • Plush Pooches: Stunningly lifelike and as soft and cuddly as a real life dog or puppy, these AKC plush pooches from Steiff (SRP: $46 for dogs, $22 for puppies) are available in several different breeds. On sale now at FAO Schwarz, Macy's Herald Square and Lord & Taylor department stores nationwide or at www.akc.org.
  • "Best in Show" Board Game: With this trivia game version of a dog show from International Playthings (SRP: $19.99), players can learn 200 canine facts while competing to correctly answer multiple-choice questions. For ages 7 and up. Available at toy stories nationwide or online at www.akc.org.