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Find the perfect puppy for you!

Updated on November 8, 2014
GollyGearHope profile image

Hope Saidel is co-owner of Golly Gear, a bricks-and-mortar and online shop featuring fun, affordable and practical small dog products

Finding the perfect puppy for you and your family!

Choosing the right puppy for your family is important, but it doesn't have to be difficult. There is a right way and it should be fun, informative, less expensive, and you'll wind up with the right dog for you and your family!

Animals really shouldn't be impulse purchases. When you consider that, with luck, your puppy will grow into a faithful companion for the next 20 years, it seems only right that some time and research is spent.

Different dog breeds were bred to perform different functions in their interactions with people. Herding dogs (Border Collies, Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs) will want to herd everything, including children, other pets, and visitors. Sporting dogs (Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels) were bred to work all day as a team with their humans - they're energetic and adore company. Most terriers (Fox Terriers, Border Terriers, Airedales) were bred to work independently - they're wonderful at solving problems. Most Toy breeds (Yorkshire Terriers, Pugs, Brussels Griffons) were bred as companions, but many still have traits inherited from their larger, working ancestors.

The more you know about the dog you select, the happier everyone will be. Get to know the right breed for you - there's one for everyone!

Follow this formula - to find the best puppy for you!

Finding your perfect puppy takes some time and a bit of effort. When you consider that your dog will be a part of your family for many, many years, it's worth it!

  • Think about your family members (any allergies? fears? preferences?), your home (owned? rented? big? little?), your yard (none? fenced?), your time (walking? grooming?), your budget (food? veterinary expenses? toys? bedding?)

  • Make a list, based on your answers, of your ideal dog's attributes - for example: a medium dog, no shedding, loves to play and is good with children.

  • Determine the breed of dog that fits your answers. The American Kennel Club, the registry of purebred dogs in the U.S., lists over 150 different breeds, all developed by people to suit their preferences and lifestyles.

Take a quiz to help you choose

After you take these short quizzes, these sites will suggest breeds of dogs for you to research further. And it's fun!

You've narrowed the list - now what?

Every AKC breed has a "parent club" devoted to breeding beautiful, healthy examples of its breed.

  • Find the national breed club for your chosen breed:


  • Contact the club and ask for breeders in your area.

  • Contact those breeders and ask all the questions you have about their breed, most should be willing to help if you explain that you're trying to find the right breed for your family. Responsible breeders are usually happy to share their knowledge.

  • Ask if there are any upcoming shows or events where you can get to see their breed, talk to more owners/breeders, and learn more about them. If not, would they be willing to let you visit?

  • See the dogs in person. You may find you've chosen wisely, and it's your perfect breed, or you may find out something that convinces you to move on to the next breed on your list.

You've made your decision - now what?

You've chosen your perfect breed and now you're ready for a puppy! What's the next step?

  • You've gotten to know at least one of the people who can help you find a puppy. Let them know you're actively looking, ask if they're planning a litter and if they keep a waiting list you may join.

  • If your contact(s) aren't planning puppies within your timetable, ask for referrals for other, responsible breeders they know. Good breeders should want to help good owners find good puppies.

You're getting the third degree - you just wanted a puppy!

  • When you contact responsible breeders about their puppies, you may be asked many, many questions about your family, your lifestyle and your plans. You shouldn't resent it - responsible breeders spend a good portion of their lives, and their incomes, caring for their dogs. They want the best possible homes for their puppies.

  • Good breeders may only sell their puppies with a "Limited Registration." This is the only way they can be certain their dogs will not go to puppy mills or irresponsible homes. A Limited Registration means that any puppies that dog produces will not be eligible for AKC registration. There's nothing wrong with the dog!

  • Good breeders will also give some kind of health assurance, guaranteeing against genetic health problems for some period of time. Most will require you to take your puppy to your veterinarian within a couple of days and guarantee the pup's health at that point.

  • Responsible breeders know where all the puppies they've produced are - always. You may be starting a lifelong relationship with your dog's breeder.

Finding a puppy should be a fun family project!

Your dog will be with your for years. Finding the right dog will help make those years happy ones.

After all - we wait nine months for a human baby and it's worth every minute!

Everyone agrees - Puppy Mills are EVIL!

Regardless of what they say, or how wholesome they appear, pet stores selling purebred puppies acquire them from puppy mills.

The real victims are not the puppies themselves - they might become healthy, happy, and well-adjusted dogs.

The victims are the parents of these dogs, who live their lives in miserable conditions, condemned to life in a cage, pumping out puppies, with no consideration given to either their physical or mental health.

Modern technology allows the puppy mills to market directly to the consumer. Generally speaking, if a website is happy to ship puppies, takes credit cards as payment, and/or has multiple breeds of puppies available - it's a puppy mill, or the outlet for a puppy mill. Avoid it like the plague.

Just don't go there

Puppies in a pet store are adorable and tempting. Avoid temptation - don't go to pet stores that sell puppies.

Slick websites selling puppies are a dime a dozen. If they sell puppies on the internet - you don't want them.

© 2008 Hope

Have you found your perfect dog? - Tell everyone about your pup!

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