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Making The Right Choice

Three Steps To Purchasing A Purebred Puppy

Purchasing a purebred puppy can bring joy and happiness to you and your family for many years. However, the decision to purchase a dog should not be based on impulse nor taken lightly. Taking a few minutes now to review the information provided by The Canadian Kennel Club and thinking about the issues will help you choose the purebred dog best suited for you and your family. Our organization is the primary registry for purebred dogs in Canada and our members have been providing guidance and supportive information to purebred puppy buyers since 1888.

When considering the source of your new puppy, we encourage everyone to buy from a member in good standing of The Canadian Kennel Club. Each of our members act as an independent breeder that has agreed, as part of membership, to adhere to the CKC Code of Ethics. Within this code, two aspects are important to the new buyers:

  • Our members have agreed to "provide their dogs with appropriate housing, food, and health care, as outlined in the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association's Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations".
  • Our members have agreed to "include in their programs only Canadian Kennel Club registered (or registerable) stock which will strengthen the genetic pool and thus guarantee further progression towards the ideals of the standard".

The positive outcome of good breeding practices will develop physically and mentally sound dogs. The health of an individual dog will differ from the next but, in a world where genetics are so prominent, our member breeders take the quality of their animals very seriously. As a new buyer, take advantage of the care, love, and nurturing that goes into every litter by buying from a reputable CKC member.

Step One: Deciding to own a Dog

Never buy on impulse and really think through the decision to get a dog. A dog is a lifetime commitment and will rely on its guardian for all of its needs.

The average life span of a dog is anywhere from ten to fifteen years or more and a puppy is a living creature you cannot "try on for size". Be prepared to make a commitment to the care and well being of your dog from puppyhood to old age. To help make the decision on whether you should introduce a dog to your life, consider the following points:

Does your lifestyle offer sufficient time to socialize and train your puppy?

This will be a substantial commitment on your part, particularly in the first year. Puppies do not come with an obedience guarantee, nor will they be housebroken. Puppies are like children and need the constant love and attention of their family. Your early commitment will be duly rewarded with the unqualified love and admiration of your dog through its entire life.

Will your dog be happy in your home?

Consider your own accommodation. Apartment or house, large or small, is your yard fenced? Do you live in the country or an urban area? Where will you exercise your dog? All puppies grow up and the type of accommodation you have must be appropriate for your mature dog. Each breed has different needs and characteristics. If your selected breed requires space to use up excess energy, don't fool yourself and don't expect the animal to be happy in a confined space. As much as you may like the look of a specific breed, be sure its physical environment is a comfortable setting for the animal.

Are all members of the family in favour of having a puppy join the household?

A "split family" may lead to disagreements and ultimately result in the dog being returned or left with a rescue group or humane society. In order for the dog to become a lifelong member of the family, the original decision to buy must be shared with equal enthusiasm by all members of the family.

Are there young children in the family?

One of the main reasons people purchase a puppy is "for the kids". Be sure the match between dog and children is right. Sometimes young children can seriously hurt a puppy albeit unintentional and by the same token a powerful or rambunctious puppy can easily overcome, hurt and frighten a small child. While it is ideal for both to socialize at a young age, parents must assume the responsibility of constant watchfulness so neither is harmed. This done, both puppy and child will very likely become bosom buddies to the end.

Who will feed, walk, groom and pick up after the dog?

Too often a puppy arrives without the decision makers thinking this through. If this is to be a family dog, everyone should be committed to its care. If children are involved, don't expect them to shoulder the responsibility, it's too much, but they should be expected to assume their portion of this responsibility. It often ends up with one family member attending to the dog's needs, so talk it over and come to some agreements in advance. Everyone will be happy - including the dog.

Have you prepared a budget for the cost of caring for the dog?

This will involve nutritious food, municipal licensing, regular visits to your vet, plus bedding etc. Such things as obedience training, regular grooming or pet insurance should also be considered. It won't be a huge amount but be prepared for the additional expense in your household budget.

Don't buy the dog as a surprise gift.

A purebred puppy can be a marvelous gift if the giver has thoroughly discussed the matter with the recipient in advance. All of the previous consideration must be reviewed with the recipient and they most certainly need to be the major influence in the breed of dog being obtained. Under no circumstances is the practice of giving a surprise puppy appropriate. Too often the animal is unwanted from the beginning and finds itself helplessly abandoned or if kept, ultimately neglected. Please be responsible, your dog will love you for it.

Step Two: Selecting a Breed

The most exciting step in selecting a new puppy is choosing the breed best suited to your interest. The CKC registers over 160 uniquely different breeds in Canada, each with their own natural instincts, characteristics and appearance. Some large, some small, some high maintenance, while others are not. Some can be docile and others full of energy with long coats or short. The list of differences goes on and on.

Research

Do your research and take time to consider all aspects of the breed you select. Narrow your choices down to two or three breeds suited to your lifestyle, then get as much information as you can before making a final choice. Review our on-line Breed Standards or visit your local library for more detailed information.

Experience the Breed

Research will lead you to your preferences but most of all, you need to experience your selected breeds first hand in order to reach your final decision. Visit one of the many CKC events held throughout Canada each year to experience the breeds and talk to the owner or breeder about the breed. People are generally willing to provide information and provide first hand experience. Look for events in your area via the on-line search, or contact CKC Client Services at (416) 674-3699.

Why Purebred?

One advantage of purebred dogs is that the qualities of each generation (size, coat, temperament etc.) are passed on to the next. All breeds are different however, so consider the following from the point of view of a mature dog when developing your short list:

Size Determines space requirement
Coat Type Determines grooming time needed
Energy Level Determines space requirement and exercise needs
Original Purpose Indicates instinctive activity (i.e. barking, protecting, retrieving, etc.)
Temperament Determines obedience needs, level of independence or attachment, aggressive/passive nature, etc.
Allergies Some breeds cause less suffering for allergy patients

Step Three: Finding a Reputable Breeder

When you have narrowed your breed choices to a short list and are about to move to the next and most important step - the actual purchase of the dog - you must locate a reputable breeder.

Purebred dogs are sold through various channels but the only source we recommend is from a knowledgeable breeder who specializes in your breed of choice. Visit a number of breeders and compare the dogs, the facilities and the breeders. Make your final purchase from someone you are comfortable with and who you feel you can trust beyond the day of purchase to be as concerned about your puppy's future as you are.

To locate breeders in your area, we suggest you obtain a copy of the current Dogs in Canada Annual. It contains a major listing of breeders from across Canada and is available from the CKC Order Desk at 1-800-250-8040, bookstores, or most libraries. The CKC does not recommend individual breeders but can refer you to accredited Breed Clubs who in turn refer potential buyers to breeders of their organization.

To assist you in selecting your breeder we strongly recommend that you follow the "Golden Rules" for purchasing a purebred dog. No responsible breeder should have difficulty complying with the following so use them as your yardstick in finding the right breeder with the right dog.

The Golden Rules: Finding a Reputable Breeder

  • Always visit the kennel.
  • Make certain the dam (mother) is on the premises and available for you to see.
  • Ask to see health certificates and records of visits to the veterinarian.
  • Insist upon being provided with a signed bill of sale stating the puppy is being sold as a purebred.
  • Insist upon being provided with a written guarantee.
  • Confirm that the dog has been permanently and uniquely identified.
  • Confirm CKC registration of the parents, the litter and the puppy you are about to purchase.
  • Ask if the breeder is a member of the CKC.

What's Next?

You have taken the plunge. You are now the proud owner of a CKC registered purebred dog. To assist you in being a great dog owner and to help your new puppy grow into a good neighbour, may we suggest the following:

Ensure that you comply with the local by-laws regarding leashing, noise and number of dogs allowed on your premises.

Whether there is a by-law existing or not, religiously adhere to the "poop and scoop" principle.

Never allow your dog to run loose in a park where children are playing, even if it is designated as a "leash-free park"

Enroll your dog in obedience classes. A well-trained dog makes a great neighbour. You can start with Puppy Kindergarten or if that is not available in you area, the Beginners or Novice Class.

Visit the CKC website's "Join the Club" section (http://www.ckc.ca) and sign up for a membership that works for you. Take a look at the many benefits such as CKC co-op benefits and learn about purebred dogs and the many activities and events supported by CKC.

Last, but by no means least, have fun with your new dog.

We hope that this wonderful new addition to your household will bring great joy and happiness to you and all of the members of your family for many years to come.