CHOOSING A BREEDER & BUYING A PUPPY
1. Please be aware of breeders who ” know what to say.” Do ask questions on type and temperment and longevity, do get referrals from other breeders or breed clubs or rescues(although not all good breeders have a local club to join), do get a health guarantee on a pup. Get referrals of happy puppy owners from the breeder. Ask for their veterinarian’s name and number. Do understand the health issues of the breed so you can ask knowledgeable questions of a breeder on the health in a line and relationship to longevity. Ask about any instance of a health problem that has cropped up in the line. Buy from a breeder who understands “putting it all together” for the breed. Your dog should not *just be* “pet quality,” a rather undefined loose term which some people refer to for pups that don’t meet a certain standard. If a Pup does not meet a standard in type, if sold by a reputable breeder, should be sold with a spay/neuter contract and without papers. Your breeder should be aiming to raise dogs that meet the standard to be good examples of wolfhounds in type and temperament and they should *only* be breeding those dogs that meet those requirements…..anything less is not acceptable for a breeder to do. *No breeder should be breeding dogs that do not meet the standard.* Not all pups can be show quality, but your breeder should be working for the good of the breed.
2. Very importantly, Visit the breeder and meet the “family” of dogs if you can. It is extremely important to visit and feel comfortable with the environment from which you get a pup. Ask to see if possible, the parents, siblings, etc. Ask lots of questions. How old is the “mom”. Ask how many times has she been bred? How old was the Mom when she was first bred? It is easy to check on the validity of the answers. Girls should not be bred before they are 3 years old. Wolfhounds mature slowly and growth plates are not closed until they are at least 3 years old. They are very slow to mature. We do not breed girls under 3 years old. Very young girls should not be bred and older girls should not be bred. It is too hard on them, and it puts them and the pups at risk. First you want to make sure that a young girl has turned out correctly to be breeding stock and has basically finished her growth before she has the burden on her development of carrying puppies. Often litters from girls bred to soon, are not nurtured properly by the mother who is more likely to be nervous and may end up rejecting her pups, and there can often be greater loss of puppies as a result. The older girls can have a much more difficult time birthing because of the past wear and tear on their bodies and the stretched out womb to grow bigger whelps(pups). This can lead to C sections which are harder on mom and pups in the beginning. All of this contributes to the soundness of your puppy’s body and mind.
3. Look at the family genealogy and ask about the inbreeding coefficient. Line breeding is acceptable, inbreeding is not. Ask the breeder to explain the difference. Ask if they do risk assessments on genetic recessives traits prior to breeding. Please do not contribute to inhumane breeders or puppy mills. And remember, You want more than just a good line of dogs, you want a good breeder as well(The early handling of your pup has a lot to do with the personality and health with which you end up. So Go for both! There are many good breeders so you don’t have to settle for anything less. You just need to do a little bit of homework.
4.Take all the information in with an open mind and digest the information you have gathered. Do your research and trust your instincts on who will be there for you after you take your pup home and your pup becomes part of the family.
5. Raising puppies correctly is a lot of very time consuming hard work to do it right. Beware of breeders who ALWAYS have pups available. We devote close to 5 months (much of it 24/7) to the constant vigilance and care and monitoring of the Dam and the subsequent pups to optimize their health on all levels to help insure an easier transition to their new homes. Beware of breeders who falsely affiliate themselves with other more reputable breeders.
6. Make sure your breeder does the appropriate testing and assessments on the individuals they are breeding. Individuals can vary greatly. No breeder can totally guarantee something will never happen, but they can certainly optimize the chances for a happy healthy individual. Make sure you get some sort of genetic guarantee in your contract and yes, reputable breeders should have contracts.
7. Even though it may not necessarily be common in a line, All pups should be tested for liver shunt BEFORE they got to their new homes
Here are the Humane Society of America’s guidelines for good breeders and a check list.