Picking a Pup (spaniel)Picking a pup is easy! First you have to decide what you want out of a dog. Will this dog be mostly a hunting dog? Will this dog be a family dog and hunt only once in a while? Will this dog only be a family dog that goes for walks and maybe jogging.
If a family dog is all then most any dog from the news paper will do. If the dog is to hunt only once in a while then a out going pup from a local breeder will probably do. But if a top gundog is what you are after then bloodlines is the key. Look for lines that mother and father are both field titled. Next the parents should both be hunted. Most of the dogs in the bloodlines should be field titled. The parents should should be healthy with no genetic problems.
In any area there are local dogs that are titled but unknown. These dogs are the best value because they are tested titled but don't have the big name to get the big money. A person can find these breeders by looking up the parent clubs, training clubs and breeding clubs. Any person looking to by a pup should go and see the breeder before they commit to a pup. Look at the living conditions for the dogs. Is it clean and are the dogs healthy and happy. Are the dogs just dogs or are they a part of the breeders family. Talk to the neighbours and ask what they think of the dogs.
Questions? Ask WHY the breeder is mating these dogs and what is the goal of the breeding. Ask for references from people that have hunted with the dogs. Also ask for names of people that have bought pups from them before. Ask to Look at both the mother and the father if present. Ask about any Guarantees that the breeder might have. Ask if the pup will have breeding restrictions.
Look for red flags like. If a breeder won't let you see the mother. They say the parents don't hunt but they like birds! The place is dumpy and unclean. The dogs are dirty and skittish or jumpy. And shy away if they have no good answers to your questions.
But lets say you have met the perfect breeder to get a pup. Most breeders will interview you as well. Tell them exactly what you require of the pup and as a dog. If the breeder is honest and believes that he has pups that will fit your need ask them if they know enough about each pup to pick a couple that will "fit" your needs. Like "I would like to field trial this pup I need a pup that is real outgoing but social". Any good breeder will place a couple of pups in front of you to pick from. Now the easy part. You have made sure all the bases are covered and now you pick. Sit with the pups with a open mind forget the color and just watch. Then pick the one that just catches your "eye" then leave. Think about it it is a big decision. You will have this dog for many years. What about the other one the tugged on your shoe? Then if you are still sure go for it and pick up your pup.
But remember the asking price is the cheap part. Training birds, food, vet bills, yard repair replacing chewed stuff this is the big $ money items. Most people buy the dog with good ideas about a gundog. But in reality most dogs never get a chance to be half the dog they could be. Forget about breeding the dog to get your money back. Train the dog to do what you want and reap the rewards. And last, READ, READ, READ. The more you know the better the chances you will have of getting the pup of your dreams. Good Hunting, Ron
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