Pet Shop Puppies...


The Challenge

If you're still not sure about buying a pet shop puppy, print out this page and bring it with you. Ask these questions:

Have both parents tested for hip and elbow dysplasia? (It's been found in every breed except greyhounds, so don't let them tell you it's not a problem.)
What specific health problems are in the pedigree of each puppy?
What's the personality of the mother and father like? A responsible breeder provides copies of all health tests -- can the pet shop do that?

How do I find a responsible breeder?
Finding a responsible breeder is not difficult for most breeds, and the reward -- a healthy, well-adjusted, well-bred puppy -- is worth it. Here are some ways to get started:
Call the CKC or visit their Web page of breed referral contacts at
Use the Internet to look up the breed you're interested in. You'll find a wealth of information.
Go to shows, fun matches or any kind of dog event -- there will be plenty of people there to offer suggestions and advice. Be extremely careful when evaluating breeders who run ads in the newspaper.

How do I avoid "backyard breeders"?
Backyard breeders operate in much the same way pet shops do. Money is the bottom line. Watch out for any breeder who:

Usually breeds the same pair they own to each other over and over again.

Will sell a whole litter as show puppies.
Talks about money before anything else.
Doesn't ask you questions about yourself and why you want a puppy.
Says the parents "don't need tests." All purebred breeds suffer from genetic diseases, including cancer.
Can't provide a good answer to the question: "Why did you decide to breed these two dogs"?
Can't provide copies of OFA, GDC or OVC results (hip and elbow), CERF exams (eyes) or other tests along with the pedigree.
Breeds dogs younger than two years of age (two is the minimum age for hip certification by OFA).
Has puppies always available. Responsible breeders have smaller numbers of carefully-planned litters.