Author Topic: Buying a new puppy - what to ask  (Read 7436 times)

Offline apple25

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Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« on: December 30, 2007, 11:00:48 pm »
hi all,

I have been browsing all the posts here, as research for what dog I want to get.  I have fallen hard for the Bernese Mountain dog, and now am looking to see if there are breeders in my area (Atlantic Canada).  I want to be very careful who I buy my puppy from - no pet stores, etc.

Anyways, I found one person over the internet who is having puppies in the spring.  I looked over the website, and it really didn't have a lot of information on it.  I asked about health clearances, and the response was that all the puppies would be vaccinated and healthy.  There is a contract focusing on placing puppies in good homes, etc., but no background on the mom or dad, or specific health clearances.

Any advice for a newbie like me??  Should I continue to look for other breeders that have info/guarantees??  many thanks!

Offline jagersmom

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Re: Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2007, 11:14:31 pm »
My biggest suggestion would be if your not comfortable with the breeder, keep looking. Might take longer than you want but you will find one that you are comfortable with. I would say with a big dog, you'd probably want to make sure that you have a hip guarantee. Try searching for the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada or of Ontario. They should have a list of breeders as well as what they require in order to be certified. You can also try the Canadian Kennel Club.

I live in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida and found the breeder that I love in Arkansas. It took me about 2 months longer than I wanted but I could call up anytime and ask for pictures, ask questions, anything. They wree very accomodating. At 8 weeks old, Jager had a hip and overall health guarantee AND had an 8-hour flight (including a layover) to get home to Mommy.  ;)
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Offline GoldenPyrs

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Re: Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2007, 12:06:03 am »
We've bought 2 puppies from breeders over the years and I'd like to second Annette's suggestion to keep looking unless you are completely comfortable with your breeder.  Another thing that I found out (the hard way) was that you can contact your local BMD Club's rescue coordinator to find out who they recommend.  The rescue people generally know which breeders *really* care for the health & well being of their puppies.  To me that is the real defination of a reputable breeder.  One of our puppies came from a well known breeder (and in "good standing" with the breed club), with health checks, guarantees, champion blood lines, etc. but we found out later from rescue that this breeder couldn't even be bothered to pull her own puppies out of rescue.  :o  >:(  Once she sold the puppies, she was done with them.  All she cared about was how her show-quality pups fared in the show rings.  If you can contact your local breed club, I think that they will be able to give you some helpful (local) advice.  BMD's are such beautiful dogs, I can't wait to see pics when you find your perfect pup!   :)
Marie

And my pups:
Daisy a 9 y/o Golden/Lab mix
Sammy a 6-7(?) y/o Great Pyrenees adopted 3/07
Cassie a 3 y/o Pyr/Mystery Snuggle Bunny mix adopted 2/07

My angel girls waiting at the Bridge:
Cara 1989-2001 Great Pyrenees
Sally ? - 1993 Dobie(rescued '92)
Halley 2002-2006 Great Pyrenees

Offline FXgirl

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Re: Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2007, 02:28:21 am »
Hello!

I wouldn't dismiss a breeder because their website is lacking in detailed info.  I would call or email to ask specific questions.
This site, although Leonberger specific, has LOTS of info for puppy buyers which I highly recommend http://www.leonberger-hunde.org/puppysearch.html.   Good luck in your puppy search!  I know of a Bernese breeder on the East Coast who is also part of the Leo community.  Find someone who can be there for you when you have concerns or questions AFTER you get your pup and for many years thereafter. 

Offline People Whisperer

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Re: Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2007, 02:37:07 am »
Hi there! Bernese Mountain Dogs are wonderful companions BUT they have major genetic issues these days and many dogs die very young  :-[ It is very important that the breeder gives you 3 years health guarantee. Just because puppy is vaccinated and healthy when you buy doesn't mean the dog will not develop major issues later on. Find out what genetic disorders berners have and make sure that the breeder had both parents and hopefully grandparents tested for that. Hips, patellas, elbows, thyroid, heard, and eyes HAVE to be checked and the last three rechecked annually!
It is better to spend plenty of time searching for a healthy pup from a great breeder than be very sorry later  ;)
Good luck and keep us posted!
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Offline Ali

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Re: Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2007, 06:09:24 am »
I am a big fan of rescue, and would respectfully suggest considering a Berner mix either from your local Berner rescue or SPCA type place. Another good thing about mixes is that you tend to have way less of the genetic disorders that are characteristic to a single breed once you "dilute" it.If you find a Berner/Saint mix or a Berner/Rott mix, for example, you could still have a Berner looking dog and definately will have the big paw feature! Just a thought...
Not a valid thought if you are looking to breed and or show, though! Good luck!
Ali
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Tani (TAH-nee or rhymes with "Bonnie")- Aussie/Pittie?Boxer?Mutt!
Kai - Aussie/Dobie
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Offline GoldenPyrs

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Re: Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2007, 06:29:32 am »
I am a big fan of rescue, and would respectfully suggest considering a Berner mix either from your local Berner rescue or SPCA type place. Another good thing about mixes is that you tend to have way less of the genetic disorders that are characteristic to a single breed once you "dilute" it.If you find a Berner/Saint mix or a Berner/Rott mix, for example, you could still have a Berner looking dog and definately will have the big paw feature! Just a thought...
Not a valid thought if you are looking to breed and or show, though! Good luck!

I so agree!!  Though our first 2 pyrs came from breeders, Cassie was given to us by an elderly couple that couldn't care for her any longer & Sammy came from Pyr Rescue.  Both are absolutely amazing furry people and I couldn't love them more.  They both seem so grateful to be loved and the sense of satisfaction that we gain from seeing them so happy can't be measured.  Plus Cass is a Pyr mix and Daisy is a Golden mix and both are strong, healthy, smart (almost too smart sometimes  ;)  ;D) and beautiful, too!   :-*
Marie

And my pups:
Daisy a 9 y/o Golden/Lab mix
Sammy a 6-7(?) y/o Great Pyrenees adopted 3/07
Cassie a 3 y/o Pyr/Mystery Snuggle Bunny mix adopted 2/07

My angel girls waiting at the Bridge:
Cara 1989-2001 Great Pyrenees
Sally ? - 1993 Dobie(rescued '92)
Halley 2002-2006 Great Pyrenees

Offline apple25

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Re: Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2007, 07:00:09 pm »
Many thanks to all these great, detailed replies.  I much appreciate it.  I am going to go with my initial gut feeling, and your responses, and continue searching.  I don't mind how long it takes, as long as I made the right decision in the end.  I do like the idea of rescue also, and will keep my eyes open at the shelters too. 

Thanks so much everyone - I will be visiting this site and keeping you updated on my progress.  Thanks!!! :)

Offline maxsmom

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Re: Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2007, 07:06:29 pm »
Welcome to BPO.  I second most of the info you have already recieved.  You should feel as if you are being interviewed as much as you are interviewing them.  They should give you the impression that you are being interrogated thoroughly as to why you want their puppy, what qualifies you to raise it, own it, what your expectations of the pup are, what you intend to do with it, what dogs you have had in the past, who your vet is, references for you, etc.  You should be even more careful of them.  How long have they been breeding this breed, why they chose this breed, what are the negatives and positives, how are the dogs raised, who handles the pups, etc.  A spay/neuter contract is not always required, nor is a championship for the parents required.  Some people buy their breeding stock from other breeders who do show and don't show themselves.  That doesn't mean they are bad breeders, just that they don't show.  Your local rescue group is the best place to start.  They will not only know if they take responsibility for their pups in the future, but usually what if any health issues the breeder has with their puppies.  Even if the breeder does take the pup back, a lot of the times a rescue will take the dogs until arrangements can be made to return them to the breeder.  Another thing to ask for is references from past buyers and present owners of their dogs.  You can also ask for their vet's name and number.  That way you get a good cross section of references to speak to and question.  Good luck with your search and take your time.  You are going to have a lifetime to love your pet and want to make absolutely sure that you have prevented as much heartache as possible in the upfront work you do. You can also save yourself a bundle in vet bills by double and triple checking the health info.  Unfortunately things happen even to the healthiest of dogs, but you don't want to fall in love with a dog who will cost you more than your mortage to keep healthy and happy.
Kathy
Max  2 Irish Wolfhound
Jake  2 Great Pyrenees
Cody   3 Tibetan Mastiff
ChiChi 1.5 Caucasian Ovcharka
John and Nicki Maine Coon cats

Offline maxsmom

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Re: Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2007, 10:07:11 pm »
I'm sorry, I guess I should have explained that comment.  Breed standards are constantly being reinterpreted by judges in terms of what is considered a top example of the breed.  For instance, the English Springers I remember from my childhood were 60-80lb dogs.  They were heavily feathered, heavy boned and had very long wavy fur on their chests, ears, legs, tails and sides.  The Springers we lost last year were the same, but both came from back yard breeders.  When we started attending shows and looking into finding good breeders, we found that our idea of beautiful springers were considered freaks of the breed.  Most were around 40 lbs or so, thin little dogs that looked like a slightly taller version of a cocker.  In continuing to look, we found some breeders who bred for a larger, stockier, taller dog that looked like what I had and remembered.  They were still heavy coated dogs with very long feathers and ears, not field type at all.  These breeders would have been laughed out of the show ring.  In looking for an IW, we found what I consider to be greyhound type wolfies, long thin heads, narrow bodies, 100 - 125 lbs.  This is not what I wanted but it is what I saw winning shows in FL.  The last TM I heard of in a shelter was originally purchased from a top winning breeder.  Her dogs are well known in the breed circles as having severe hip displasia, yet she continues to show and win and breed.  That is what I meant.  Top show dogs do not mean healthy, or the best parents for your new pup.  It just means that they win in the show ring and have the attributes that the current group of judges in that particular geographic area are looking for.  The prettiest bull mastiff I every saw was long haired and most breeders would have culled the pup.  Luckily for the people who acquired it, their breeder didn't.  If I ever run accross one, I will buy it.  Sorry, if my comment offended anyone.  I just threw it out there.  I'm not saying there is anything wrong with winning shows.  I am saying that top show stock may not produce what you want for your pet.
Kathy
Max  2 Irish Wolfhound
Jake  2 Great Pyrenees
Cody   3 Tibetan Mastiff
ChiChi 1.5 Caucasian Ovcharka
John and Nicki Maine Coon cats

Offline Olliesmum

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Re: Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2008, 02:05:26 pm »
Great advice from people. I must agree about the relevant health tests being done.
Not all breeders have loads of information on their site but they should respond well when e-mailed or phoned and easily answer any questions you may have.
We often went to visit Ollies breeder and met all her dogs all of which are into their early teens. Obviously because all health tests are done doesn't mean you will not encounter health problems with your dog they are susceptible to a lot of health issues, but at least if you have met many of their dogs and both Parents you get a good idea of the genetic stability of their animals.
I would also ask whether if for any reason you had to return the dog the breeder would happily take it back ours does and it is written into our contract,if she is unable to rehome she keeps them and they live their life with her and her mad crew.
Good luck in your search.

Offline bstep03

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Re: Buying a new puppy - what to ask
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2008, 03:50:21 pm »
We got our Berner 

They are in North Carolina and breed several times a year with about 4 different dogs.  He is almost 11 months and is great.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 09:46:30 pm by Jacksmom »