Are you ready for a dog in your life?

Shilo Urban over at Diva Village wrote an eight point check list to consider if you’re thinking of adding a dog to your family. It covers all the basics–do you have the time & engery? The money? Landlord’s permission? Have you thoroughly researched the breed you’re interested it?

It’s a good list and it’s great to see it appear on a consumer/lifestyle website, a place where most readers are thinking about shoe fashion, eye shadow colors or whether or not their man is cheating.  Educational forays into non-pet related websites and magazines are critical to getting the genpop more savvy about their pet choices.

The one topic that is sorely missing from this list is KNOW YOUR BREEDER. It’s not just a matter of researching energy levels and temperaments of breeds. Consumers need to be aware of breed-specific health issues and they need to know how to choose an honest, high quality breeder.

A high quality breeder will:

  • turn you away despite a fistful of cash if you, your family or your home are not right for their breed or breed lines
  • breed only dogs that are OUTSTANDING representations of their breed and have accomplished something, anything–even canine good citizen status
  • fully disclose known health issues with their breed and will explain how those problems have been avoided in their lines with genetic test results on-hand as applicable
  • have very few litters per year, which may mean waiting months for the right puppy to come along
  • have had the puppies to the vet (not a low cost shot clinic) for an evaluation, shots, deworming and microhipping
  • have a spay/neuter contract for their pet-quality pups
  • not hesitate in the least to let you meet and interact with the parents and siblings of your pup. Their home/kennel and dogs should be open and available to you. If you can’t meet the dam, can’t see where the puppies have been living or can’t figure out just how many dogs they breed a year, run, don’t walk, away

If people kept all that in mind when buying living, breathing critters, there would be fewer puppy mills, fewer dogs dropped off at shelters and a lot more happy families and happy dogs in the world.

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