YOU INCREASE YOUR ODDS WHEN YOU BUY FROM A REPUTABLE BREEDER.
1. Don’t buy on impulse. Be sure you understand the breed, it’s personality, and the demands it will make. Read books, magazines, attend a dog show, seek advice from veterinarians, dog clubs, trainers and breeders. Try to find someone with the type of breed you are thinking about and ask them questions.
2. Contact breeders through magazine ads, vets, and dog clubs. Look for someone who looks to improve the line of dogs they own. That person should interview you as carefully as you are them. Look for honest answers, caring advice, open invitations to visit, and a helpful attitude. Also look for someone who isn’t afraid to have a veterinarian of your choice look over the pup you are thinking of buying.
3. Can you meet the sire and dam? Other puppies from the same parents, or closely related? Are these relatives intelligent, energetic, friendly, gorgeous, or whatever matters to you. Is the mother at least two years old or older? Has it been more than one heat in between the litters? Are the pups raised from birth with plenty of handling for socialization? Are they raised with children or other animals? Are they still with their mother (if under 6 weeks)? Are there other references they can give you?
4. Does the breeder show dogs, or compete with their dogs in some way (obedience, weight pull, etc)? Do they participate in dog clubs or perhaps judge dog shows. The more they do the more knowledgeable they will be.
5. A good pedigree does not guarantee a good puppy, but a good variety of show ribbons, obedience titles or working titles of the parents and relatives improve the odds of a well rounded puppy.
6. Has the breeder prepared a contract? Are the puppies guaranteed? What if you can’t keep the dog? Good hobby breeders stand by their dogs with health and temperament guarantees. If something goes wrong these people will want their dog back. Look at the contract carefully.
7. Trust your intuition. Does the breeder offer excuses instead of straight answer? Do you dislike the sire or dam? If there is anything you don’t like about the breeder, the puppies, the parents, or anything else walk away. All of the breeders I’ve talked to agreed with this. Never buy a puppy on impulse. Do not buy a puppy because you feel sorry for it, there are plenty of puppies, be sure before you buy.