So you have made the decision to purchase a puppy, you have decided how things will work at home and if you have the time to dedicate to settling your new addition in, but how do you cope with a cuteness overload when choosing your new puppy, and not just take them all home?

Firstly, you must be able to dedicate several years to your new dog – remember they aren’t going to be this cute little ball of fluff for ever. Yes, they may remain cute, but generally not little – definitely not as little as when you first get them!

What breed do you want to go for? This choice can depend on a number of factors;

  • Do you want a lap dog or guard dog?
  • Do you have your own garden or live in a flat?
  • Do you want a working breed, or a more chilled out breed?
  • Can you afford the grooming for the breed you have chosen?

Do your research on different breeds and their characteristics and choose (honestly) the one that will best fit your lifestyle. I could go into more detail here, however there are so many breeds to look at, keep your eyes peeled for my blog posts on breeds as weeks go by.

Once you have made the decision, now is the time to search for the breeder. If you can, go by recommendations – word of mouth counts for a lot in the world of breeding, you are looking for a reputable breeder and knowing someone who has bred before and having positive feedback on previous litters will go a long way to helping you make your choice.

This isn’t always possible though, so speak to breeders of your choice, ask lots of questions. You want a breeder who is honest – how can you tell? They will tell you the good and the bad for the breed, because lets face it, everyone has some bad points. A good breeder will ask YOU questions. You want a breeder that cares where their litter is going, what family home they are going to, whether there are dogs already, whether the dog will be left alone for any periods of time during the day, whether you have had the breed previously or it is your first time, the list is endless.

Once confident in the breeder you have chosen – time to arrange to meet the litter. You must remember, do NOT view any puppies until they are at least 4 weeks of age. Any breeder that will allow you prior to this – walk away now!

You always want to meet mum with her puppies. The only time this is acceptable to not meet mum is if they have unfortunately passed away during the birth (unfortunately, this can happen). You are looking for mum who is calm and happy with her puppies, friendly with you and who looks like she is still feeding her puppies.

You have several bundles of fluff in front of you, that are the cutest things you have ever set eyes on, how do you choose your puppy to be with you?

  • Talk to the breeder – they will have spent day and night over the last 4 weeks with all the puppies, they will have seen first steps, eyes opening for the first time, first time they pooed on their own (yes, they do need help to begin with), part of this they will have seen characters start to develop
  • Watch the puppies – watch how they play together, how they interact with their siblings and mum
  • Take some items with you, drop keys on the floor – it is fine if a puppy initially jumps and moves away, but you want an inquisitive sole who will go back to investigate what made the noise.
  • You want a puppy that will interact with you too – they will be inquisitive as to who you are and investigate, have a cuddle etc.
  • Puppies need to be calm when handled, paws touched, stroked from top to bottom, including their tail and around their back.
  • Their environment should be clean (now we all know puppies wee and poo where they like, but it should only be recent accidents with the breeder cleaning and sterilising straight away), with plenty of stimulus around, toys of different textures, those that will make a noise, those to cuddle up to etc a bed or bedding area. Fresh water should be available.
  • Ask to see any of the parents test results, this can vary from breed to breed as to what is required and what is recommended – a good breeder will have completed the tests and have results for you to see.
  • You want a breeder who will provide first injections and microchip – it is now law for all puppies to be microchipped prior to leaving their breeder – this is a big red flag if the breeders will not offer this.

If looking for a pedigree dog, ask to see the pedigree certificates, you want to see the parents heritage if paying pedigree prices.

Do NOT be afraid to say you will go away and think about it, sometimes when you take a bit of time to reflect on the puppies you have just seen you may choose another one, or even decide none from that litter are suitable. A good breeder will not mind and will encourage you to take your time and think about it.

When you have decided on the one you want and paid your deposit, ask to be kept updated on how they are progressing in the remaining 4 weeks until you can collect them. You can also ask to visit again, as often as you like leading up to the date where you can bring your new addition home.