Wednesday, December 30, 2009
By Ruthie Bently
If you’re looking for a new dog or cat and want a purebred, do you know what to look for? Do you know which questions you should ask to help you choose the right pet? If you’re not sure what breed you want, going to a dog or cat show is a great way to find out. At a show you can look at the different breeds, talk to the breeders and find out if a pet you are considering would be a good fit for you. If you have already decided on a certain breed of dog or cat, finding a reputable breeder is fairly easy. The best advice I can give you is to remember to do your homework.
Don’t buy a particular breed simply because your children are begging you for the dog they saw in a movie. You need to make sure that the breed you choose is going to fit into your family and your lifestyle. Many Dalmatians ended up in shelters after the 101 Dalmatians movie came out because people found out that they didn’t have either the patience or energy to keep up with that breed.
Go to your local library and check out a cat or dog breed book and read about the breeds that are available. A reputable cat breeder won’t let you purchase a cat if they know it will be spending its time out in the barn hunting for its food. And no reputable dog breeder is going to let you chain one of their dogs to a dog house and leave it to fend for itself. A good breeder wants their animals taken care of; you should be aware that you are bringing home an animal for their lifetime and need to provide for them in a proper manner.
If any of your friends or family members have a purebred you like, ask them where they got it, how the pet’s health is and what they think of the breeder. Check with your veterinarian and ask them if they know of any reputable breeders. CANIDAE has links to reputable breeders on their website. You can also check the American Kennel Club website for a list of dog breeders. If you are looking for a purebred cat, the Cat Fanciers’ Association website can help.
Beware of “backyard breeders” (also called puppy mills). They breed dogs and list them in newspapers and on the Internet to make an easy dollar. The problem is they are not looking to breed a quality dog; they are breeding for quantity because the more dogs they breed the more money they make. While I have not heard much about “kitty mills” I am sure they exist. These animals can have many genetic and health issues because of their breeding, and that cute bundle of fluff you bring home can cost you thousands in vet bills down the road.
Reputable breeders can be found in the classifieds of your local paper, but they will have a list of qualifications for you; they don’t sell their animals to just anyone. They want to make sure you can take care of the pet you choose in a manner that is up to the standards they themselves will approve of. They also want to make sure you can handle the dog or cat you purchase.
Once you find a prospective breeder, there are several things you should ask them. Such as, are the parents on the premises, and can you see them? How old does your pet have to be, before you can take it home? Does the pet come with a health guarantee? (See my previous article for more questions you should ask a prospective breeder.) A reputable breeder will have requirements for you as well. Will the breeder want you to show this dog or cat? If the answer is yes, and the dog or cat becomes a champion, will the breeder want to breed the pet you have chosen?
I have had American Staffordshire Terriers since 1981. I had a personal relationship with the breeder before I ever considered getting one, and though I enjoyed all the dogs she and her husband brought into my store to socialize, I never thought I would give my life to this breed. Once I had my first one, however, I couldn’t imagine sharing my life with any other breed.
Read more articles by Ruthie Bently