Buying a puppy can be one of the most rewarding things people can do, whether they are a family, a young couple, or even just a solitary owner-to-be. Dogs can light up a home and become a true member of the family.
Choosing a puppy
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and therefore you have big choices to make. Check below for some things to consider when choosing your new family member.
Male or female?
The gender of the dog is a decision that needs to be made when buying a puppy, but what difference does the gender of a dog make?
In a lot of cases, the tendency is that male dogs will be a bit more problematic in terms of being aggressive, disobedient, and with mounting behaviour. This isn't necessarily true, however, just the tendency.
On the other hand, bitches can respond better to training, focus more on the owner and are more tolerant of children. However, they can be more grumpy, and female dogs who live together can become very aggressive towards one another if they disagree over something.
However, these patterns are by no means set in stone. Males can be trained to be the best behaved and female dogs may not get on well with children.
Some of these tendencies can be negated by spaying and neutering, but not necessarily all of them, and the health implications of leaving your dog un-sterilised compared to having the operation are complicated and hazy. Speak to your vet about it to reach the best decision for your dog.
A puppy is a growing animal, and therefore can suffer if taken from the mother before it is fully developed. A puppy should stay with its mother until it is at least seven or eight weeks old, and can be weaned.
Where to buy a puppy
A lot of the time, people get their puppies from breeders. In the UK, a breeder should have a license to breed and sell dogs. Try and find a reputable breeder so you know that they are trustworthy and have looked after the puppies correctly.
Alternatively, you could look into re-homing a dog. There are many stray and homeless dogs in the UK, kept in places like Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. This charity deals with thousands of homeless animals every year.
The Dogs Trust carried out a survey that found in 2014, local authorities across the UK dealt with 110,000 stray dogs. These animals all need places to live and families to love. Animal shelter charities will greatly appreciate anyone eager to re-home a dog.
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The breed of the dog makes a huge difference. Pastoral dogs, for example, tend to need a lot of exercise. Toy dogs will need a lot less room in the house.
See the breed guide for details on a large number of dog breeds, or the dog guide for a more general look at the different types of dog.
Questions to ask the breeder
When buying a puppy, you should make sure the breeder knows what they are doing and that the puppy has been bred and raised well. Here are some questions to consider asking the breeder to keep yourself informed.
- Can I see the mother of the puppies? - See if the mother is well behaved and has a nice temperament
- How old is the mother? - She should be older than a year, but not elderly
- How old are the puppies?
- Have the puppies been weaned? - They should be old enough to be removed from the mother (at least seven weeks old)
- Have the puppies had any vaccinations? - Ask to see the certificate of vaccination
- When are the next ones due?