Choosing a puppy dilemma

Gone are the days when a puppy should be choosen because it has a cute spot over one eye; at least for me that is. Having been a dog trainer for 10 years now, a professional dog photographer, writer and been involved with dogs for over 33 years; I've learned a few things. I just said to my husband the other day "it was easier when I didn't know." That meaning that before I knew what to look for and look out for I could pick anything.

Now when searching for a puppy; there is a huge list of criteria. Genetic health testing being the first and most important things. If you have not tested the breeding parents then how can you possibly offer people healthy puppies? You can't; because you don't know yourself if your dogs are healthy. And I have met far too many people who got puppies that got sick or died and suffered through the heartache that comes with that whole scenario.

After having the health tests done; what are the results? Following pedigrees and genetic disorders is alot of work. Does the breeder do temperament testing? Not all do; some still resort to letting people pick their dogs. This is what happens exclusively on online puppy selling businesses. All you have are pictures, no telling what that puppy is like; not a good way to choose. Each puppy is very individual; it is amazing how different puppies are even within a litter. So picking a puppy from looks entirely is not the way to go.

As a standard poodle person myself I often tell people to go in color blind. Having a set color in mind may eliminate the best puppy from a litter; and that puppy may have been the one for you. Having an idea of how a puppy will adapt to certain environments and happenings really helps to place them in the best suited home for them.

Once you have choosen your breeder; what do they charge? The sky is the limit really. I have seen puppies from free all the way up to 7500.00. To make it simple; I would say that the average price range for a good puppy; which means from a reputible, ethical breeder costs somewhere around 1,500.00. I am a non believer of charging different prices for sex or color. I frown bigtime on people who charge 500.00 or more for rare colors or markings. That puppy cost no more to raise than the others and it is all a money making process.

Will the breeder that you choose your dog from take back your puppy should it not work out? What if something happens in your life and you cannot keep your dog; will they take it back and rehome it? These are the important things to consider. Many great breeders are also involved with breed rescue; this is where you can find wonderful dogs as well.

Bad things to watch for when choosing a puppy:

A breeder who wants to deliver a pup; sight unseen

Mom cannot be viewed or they don't want you to come to their home

They try to talk you into buying two puppies

The breeder has several litters at one time to choose from (more than two or three)

They have no proof of health testing (genetic testing like hips, thyroid, eyes etc)

A cash only deal (hmmmmmm)

Charging over 500.00 for a rescue (this is not a rescue but a money making business)

You must buy food or products from this puppy seller for the life of the dog (this I heard of recently which is highly suspicious)

The seller doesn't care if you breed the dog or not; this is a biggy as most good breeder puppies come with spay/neuter contracts.

Hope this helps in your search; I'm on my own search and will share as soon as I find her.


  1. Sherri,

    I agree completely with ALL of your points, except the cost of a rescue.

    Case in point: a Standard girl comes into rescue at 18 months old. She is matted, has never been vaccinated or spayed, she is undernourished and completely unsocialized. She also has never been potty trained.

    The Vet costs alone add up to over 400 dollars. To get her housetrained and socialized after recovery from her vetting takes almost 3 months in rescue. The cost of food and care during those 3 months is incalculable. Loose estimate for her complete care - 800 dollars. That is equal to the low end cost for a Poodle from a pet store with NONE of those things done.

    The rescue asks 350 dollars for her adoption fee. I think that is a great deal for a trained, medically up-to-date Poodle.

    And her case has become the norm in rescue.

  2. I agree completely; I was talking about the money making so called "rescues" I have heard of lately. Alot of bad people out there.


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