Dog Buying Guide
When You're Ready For a Furry Friend

This dog buying guide covers the "need to know" information once you have decided you are ready to provide a home to a pet and before you set out to find your ideal dog.

Dogs are waiting in many places for pet parents and good homes.

dog sitting in grass

So assuming, you and your family have gone over all the things to consider about the responsibilities of dog ownership as discussed on my dog selection page... the votes are in and everyone definitely wants a dog, it's time to move on.

The next big decision to make, and it's an important one to mull over, is where is the best place to obtain your dog? If you have a minute, this guide will help weigh the pros and cons of various sources.

But before I get to that, I just want to mention one important dog buying guide tip:

Once you have zeroed in on a potential pet, try to get as much information over the phone before you go to visit.

Otherwise you many find it hard to be objective once you've met the dog and he's won you over!

Dog Buying Guide to Casual Breeding

When it comes to "casual" situations, you may be acquiring a dog from someone who did not "intentionally" breed their dog, but now finds themselves with a litter of pups needing good homes!

Perhaps some of your neighbors or a vet's office may have told you about these opportunities. Some will be posted on public bulletin boards, or advertised in the local paper.

Most likely this person won't know a lot about breeding, so the dog buying guide recommends a degree of caution in that you become a sleuth and prepare some good questions to help you size up the situation.

At the very least, find out as much as you can about the history and health of the sire and of the mother (dam) before breeding and what additional care was given during the gestation period.

If the sire is unknown and you become seriously interested in the puppies, a DNA test would provide you with more information.  Also, take note of the size of the mother dog to give you some idea of how big the pups may become.

Semi-Pro Private Dog Breeders

On the other hand, if an individual is breeding dogs for sale (most likely purebreds), it is wise to learn a lot more about the lineage and genetics of the dog, as well as the potential health disorders that may affect the breed.

If you are seeking a particular breed, no doubt you have already done some research and will have many questions in mind including whether the dog has been registered with the AKC. The answers you get should tell you a lot about the breeder!

Some semi-professional breeders may be very conscientious and reliable sources, but the dog buying guide recommends you take your time and try to verify the credentials of the breeder.

It will also be up to you to ask good questions, so have your check list prepared before you visit.

Responsible Breeders Look For Responsible Owners

It works both ways when your are meeting with a responsible breeder so expect her/him to really quiz you too! A good breeder will be selective in choosing suitable owners for their dogs.

TIP: Not all individuals who present themselves as breeders are ethical. The AKC, national dog breed associations, rescue organizations and vet offices are the safest places to find names of responsible breeders.

Whatever the case, when visiting a private facility it is a good idea to be very observant regarding the welfare of the dog(s) as well as the sanitary conditions of the environment. Look, listen and ask questions to help you decide if you are dealing with a knowledgeable, caring and responsible breeder.

Also, use this opportunity to interact with the dog you are considering, watch their behavior, get a sense of the chemistry between the two of you. Try to visualize loving and living with this dog for many years.

illustration of lady kneeling down to pet a dog

Dog Breed Adoption Shelters

If you have a particular dog breed in mind, it is very worthwhile to make contact with dog adoption shelters of the breed you have in mind.

These folks can give you a lot of information about dogs they have available for adoption including their background and temperament. They also are good judges when matching dogs to suitable homes.

This is a great way to obtain a dog, because you are giving the dog an opportunity to have a new home. Some of these dogs have been abandoned by thoughtless people who didn't live up to their promises.

While others may be handed over to rescue for valid reasons such as the owner died or could no longer physically take care of the dog, etc.

Whatever the case, the dog breed rescue shelter is often the first choice among dog lovers when seeking to add a new pet to the family and you may decide it is your preferred way too!.

One of the advantages to consider is that the dog may already be house-trained, leash trained or even more. Plus a mature dog is not usually as demanding of your time as a puppy!

The best reason of all is that you are rescuing a dog and bringing him into a loving family which gets a very high endorsement from the dog buying guide.

Do be prepared if you go this route, to be thoroughly interviewed by the shelter, because they are very dedicated to finding just the right owners.

You can find out the location of breed shelters through the national breed organizations.

Puppies From Pet Stores!!

I won't linger on this one too much, because I believe this is the worst place to look for a dog.  Likewise, puppy mills that sell dogs online fall into this category.

One simple deterrent is that it is very difficult to determine the origin of the dog or anything about the parents or whether it came from a puppy mill. And if you know anything about puppy mills, you know they are not nice places!!

For these reasons, the dog buying guide gives pet stores and puppy mills a score of several thumbs down!

There is only one exception and that is the major big box pet chain PETCO that hosts pet adoption days in their stores on a fairly regular basis. They do not "sell" dogs, they only "host" adoption days by providing a venue.  At these stores you should expect to learn much more about the pets.

City And County Dog Shelters

Very often you can find a great dog or puppy at the local animal control facility. This is a wonderfully humane way to save a dog's life. You are to be commended if you are an individual who can extend this gift of life without expecting anything in return. If you do, I honestly think you'll be rewarded.

The pounds may not always have a lot of background information on the dogs they shelter, so you may have to rely on your own instincts.But they will usually have completed a health and vaccination check and be able to tell you something about the dog's temperament.

While you are there, please don't overlook the mixed breeds or the ones who have retreated to the back of their pens. Many are unique, as well as smart, and I'm convinced they know they need to have someone rescue them soon. Also it is worth noting that mixed breed dogs are quite often healthier that purebreds.

So there you have it. The next move is for you to carefully weigh the options presented in the dog buying guide and get ready for your adventure.

Wrapping It Up

On a final note, the dog buying guide is just that - a guide. When you finally set off on your search for Rover, it will probably all come down to a matter of chemistry.

Not male or female, not this breed or that, nor purebred or mutt, but simple chemistry.

It's a kind of magic you will feel when you see a certain dog and know that this is the one - and there will be no doubt left in your mind.

ASPCA adoptable dogs in your local area. As of this update, there were over 400 dogs seeking homes in my local shelter. Food for thought.

  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Dog Buying Guide

Share this page:
Solo Build It!