So You Want To Buy A Puppy
Congratulations, you have decided to add a Shih Tzu puppy to your family. Hopefully your puppy will grow up to be a much loved member of your family for the next 15 years or so. All you need to do now is find that puppy. But wait, just before you go off looking for your ideal puppy are you sure a Shih Tzu is the breed for you. They can be very independent and they require a lot of attention.
Pet Shops - Some Pet Shops sell puppies. This is a really bad way to buy your puppy. The puppies will probably have been bred on a puppy farm and will certainly have been bred by an uncaring breeder. Nobody who cares at all about the dogs that they breed would ever sell them via a Pet Shop. If you buy a puppy from a Pet Shop you may very well have temperament or health problems. You won't have any support, help or advice from the breeder. Remember, Pet Shop puppies have usually been bred on a puppy farm, if you buy one because you feel sorry for it another one will be bred to take it's place.
Casual Breeder - On the face of it the casual breeder who has had a litter of cute puppies from their pet bitch would appear to be a good place to purchase your new family member. Their dogs will be clean and well cared for and they obviously love them. But beware, these people lack knowledge. They know very little about the breed and won't be able to offer much help to a first time Shih Tzu owner. Their motivation for breeding is usually money. If you buy a puppy here you take a chance, it may be a nice puppy, it may be a problem puppy. If it's a problem puppy you are unlikely to get any help.
Responsible Breeder - A responsible breeder will be trying to breed the best puppies they possibly can. Not just puppies that look good but puppies that are also sound, healthy and have good temperaments. They obviously love their dogs but they also love the breed. They will have spent a considerable amount of time learning about the breed and dogs in general. They will be a member of a breed club and probably show their dogs. If you buy a puppy from a responsible breeder you will have the very best chance of buying a carefully bred and reared puppy that will be a joy to own.
How To Spot A Responsible Breeder
Don't be afraid to ask questions, a responsible breeder will be glad that you care.
1. Did the person selling you the puppy breed it themselves. Only buy a puppy from the breeder and make sure you see the mother.
2. Is the breeder a member of a breed club? In the UK the breed clubs are The Shih Tzu Club, The Manchu Shih Tzu Society, The Shih Tzu Club of Wales and the West, The Scottish Shih Tzu Club and The Northern Cos. Shih Tzu Club. Club membership does not guarantee that you have found a good breeder but be suspicious of a breeder that is not a member of any breed club.
3. Is the breeder actively involved in any canine activities such as exhibiting at, organising or judging dog shows, obedience trials etc. Responsible breeders are usually actively involved with dogs.
4. Is the breeder prepared to take the puppy/dog back if at any time you are unable to keep it. Responsible breeders care about the puppies they produce and will always want to ensure the wellbeing of any dogs that they have bred.
5. A responsible breeder won't part with a puppy under the age of 8 weeks minimum, possibly older. If you are offered a puppy younger than 8 weeks look for another breeder.
6. Does the breeder give you detailed care instructions for your new puppy. You should have a diet sheet and details of when your puppy was last wormed as the bare minimum. Shih Tzus grow a big coat so look for some advice on coat care and grooming. Ideally you should receive printed/written instructions on feeding, grooming, worming, day to day care and house training. The breeder should also encourage you to keep in touch and ask for help.
7. Does the breeder ask you a lot of
questions. Responsible breeders want to find the best homes for their puppies
and they will want to be sure you will look after their carefully reared puppy.
How To Spot A Puppy Farm Puppy
1. Remember, nobody is going to tell you that this puppy was bred on a puppy farm. It's up to you to find out.
2. Ask if the person selling you the puppy bred it and if the mother of the puppies is registered in their name. Always see the puppies with their mother except in exceptional circumstances.
3. If you can see puppies of more than 2 or 3 breeds you may be at a puppy farm.
4. If the puppy is in a Pet Shop it has come from a puppy farm.
How To Spot A Casual Breeder
It can be hard to differentiate between a casual breeder and a responsible breeder. The responsible breeder will have spent many hours and much effort learning about the breed. The casual breeder will lack in-depth knowledge. Ask as many questions as you can, find out why they are breeding, what their goals are and how much support they will give you. Ask if they are a member of a breed club and if they are actively involved in any canine activities such as showing. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Beware of being asked to take a pet bitch on breeding terms. It usually ends in tears. Responsible breeders will usually want to ensure that only the best are bred from and pet puppies often have their Kennel Club registration documents endorsed "progeny not eligible for registration" & "not for export".
Sue Thatcher email@example.com
Sue Thatcher Copyright © 1998,99,2000,01,02 Bakalo. All rights reserved. Revised: 02/12/05