A Dog in Your Life?

The Capital Kennel Club of Juneau offers this information to help you make a good decisions in getting the right dog for you. By a "quality" puppy or dog we do not mean one who will necessarily be a show-ring winner == or even a purebred -- we mean one that is of sound structure, health and temperament who will give you the same years of enjoyment that we have had with our dogs.

Things to consider before getting a dog:

Do not buy a puppy because:


Mixed breed or purebred?

There are exceptions to the advantages and disadvantages listed below. But they are true oftener than not.

 

Advantages

Disadvantages

Mixed

  • less initial cost
  • less likely to have genetic defects
  • probably little knowledge of history
  • little knowledge of heritage
  • probably poor pre and post-natal care

Pure

  • probable knowledge of history
  • knowledge of heritage
  • probably good pre- and post-natal care
  • pride of ownership
  • some activities are open only to purebreds
  • more initial cost
  • possibility of genetic defects

Adult or puppy?

Not all adult dogs available for adoption are unwanted cast-offs. Some well-loved dogs must be -homed of if the owner dies, or a family member becomes allergic, or for other reasons that do not reflect on the dog. Show or working dogs may "retire" from their careers at young ages and be available to go to good caring homes.

 

Advantages

Disadvantages

Adult

  • See finished product
  • No puppy problems
  • Better choice for absentee family (one where everyone is gone all day)
  • Lose best training opportunity
  • May inherit otherís problems

Puppy

  • Cute
  • Best training opportunity
  • Canít see finished product
  • Puppy problems (housebreaking, chewing, etc.)
  • Puppies must be constantly supervised
  • They are a poor choice for absentee family

Choosing a Breed

Whether you want a purebred or mixed breed you will want to choose a dog that fits your lifestyle. Make a list of breeds or characteristics you particularly like. Use the library and Internet to find out about breeds that interest you. Research the breeds thoroughly to make sure that you are choosing the right breed for you and your family. Subscribe to an email list for the breed that you are interested in. Ask questions to find out what the breed is really like.

Coat: If you are allergic, can't stand dog hair in the house, or you don't have the time to brush the dog regularly, look for a breed with a smooth or wire coat. (Note: if someone in the family is allergic, be sure that having a dog at all will be possible.)

Size: If you have limited space, look for smaller or less active breeds.

Temperament/activity level: Various breeds were developed for different purposes, and their temperaments reflect this. In general, you can predict how your dog will react by looking at what the breed was created to do. You can determine trainability by the amount of training that was necessary for that task.

Even mixed breeds will share the characteristics of their several ancestors -- if you donít know, your best guess is based on what breed the dog looks like.

You will probably be happiest with a dog whose temperament fits your lifestyle.


Where to Find Your Dog

WARNING! Pet stores and other sources that sell dogs they did not breed themselves buy their stock from puppy mills, farms that mass produce puppies as a commodity. These farms use poor quality breeding stock and the animals are kept in cages all their lives. As a result, puppies from this type of environment are plagued with health problems, and many of them never adapt to life among people. Even if the shops describe their source as a "broker," the broker bought from a puppy mill. Some will tell you that they bought from "hobby" breeders or other individuals. However, no reputable breeder sells to anyone except the person who will actually own the dog.

Sources for Finding Good Dogs


Evaluating a Breeder

If it is possible to visit the breeder, you can learn a lot. The kennel may consist of outside runs and exercise yards or it may simply be their home, but it should be clean. Puppies should be clean and their area should be free of excrement.

Puppies - Are the puppies kept in the house near people and everyday activities or in a kennel? Human contact is very important in the first few weeks of life in order for the dog to bond to humans. You want puppies that have been raised in constant contact with people and household events and sounds.

Other dogs - Observe the other dogs on the premises.

If you cannot visit the kennel you will have to evaluate the breeder by telephone. The first sign of a good breeder is their desire to place the dog appropriately. A good breeder will probably appear at first reluctant to sell to you. Good breeders want to know if you will be a good placement for their breed.

A responsible breeder should discuss with you:

The breeder should give you:


Choosing a Puppy

Observe the litter and look for the puppy who:

Take the time to find the right dog for you; after all you will be together a long time!

Do not bring home a puppy unless:

 


To contact the Capital Kennel Club of Juneau or to find out about canine training and competition opportunities in Juneau visit our web site at http://www.ckcoj.org