What to look for when buying a puppy

Everything you need to know about bringing a puppy into your life starts here. How to find that Schnauzer puppy, what to look for in a breeder, early care, training and feeding are all covered. We even cover Schnauzer crocodile teeth.
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Caramomo
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What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Caramomo » 27 Jan 2011, 16:22

Caramomo wrote:Mini's suffer from three things; Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), where the retina comes away from the eyeball, Congenital Cataracts (present from birth) and Hereditary Cataracts (affect from around 5 years old I think). Puppies are screened as a litter for CC at around 6-8 weeks old (6 weeks is the earliest they can be tested. You should get a copy of this certificate from the breeder as part of your puppy pack. The test compares the eye's of puppy A with the rest of the litter looking for abnormalities that indicate CC. If they are clear of this at the time of the test they will never have CC. There will be one certificate for the entire litter with all puppies listed on that certificate.

Adult dogs are tested for PRA and HC from 1 year old. All breeding stock is tested annually as the test certificate is valid for one year. This test is a bit like an MOT; it only means that the breeder can prove the dog was Unaffected ON THE DAY OF THE TEST. There are two possible results, Affected and Unaffected. You need to ensure that at least one, and preferably both, parents are Unaffected on their most recent tests. Both these conditions can affect dogs from around 3-4 years old and may not appear until 7 or 8. An Unaffected result does not mean that the dog is not a carrier for the diseases, just that they do not show symptoms. A DNA test has not been developed yet.

You should expect to see the mothers certificate when you visit the breeder. The certificates should have the dogs details on and should indicate if the dog was unaffected or affected by both Hereditary Cataracts (HC) and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) on the day of the test. Sometimes you will not be able to see the stud dog's certificate if the breeder has used an outside stud dog. In this case if you wish to check ask for his Kennel name and enter it into the space on this website. If he has been tested in the last couple of years his results will appear here. Sometimes recent test results may take a month or two to appear.

http://www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/servi ... th/search/

Should you wish to have your dog tested it is about £40. A litter costs about £40 for the first 4 puppies and £8 for any extra puppies last year, so it's not expensive and every responsible breeder does it. I would say to any pet owner, if you wish to have your dog tested, please do so AND provide your breeder with the results - they will be interested to know them. Speak to your vet and they can get you the details of the BVA registered eye specialist nearest you. The testing vet submits the results to the kennel club.

The breeder should be able to explain what these tests mean and what the results mean for the dogs and the buyer.
Cara and Mo, two black mini's and Molly a black & white Heinz 57 all served by Elaine, the cook, poop picker, and chief toy thrower.
I live by the Mini Schnauzer code; when in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!

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Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Caramomo » 27 Jan 2011, 16:22

mummysnoo wrote:This is just a wonderful and smart idea, save a lot of hassle and hopefully avoid buying a breed of puppy in haste, without forethought.

1. A lot of breeders do the first and second injections and have a chip fitted, in the price, perhaps making a note of this would help, to enable new buyers to ask the breeders if this cost is included in the price.
2. When the puppy was having the tail docked the dew claws would be checked at the same time, this is being overlooked and dew claws on the front and back are being left on and the onus is NOW left on the buyer, which can cost a considerable amount of money, AND MOST VETS WON'T DO IT UNTIL THE PUPPY IS 6 MONTHS OLD. This is something I learnt to my expense and I have owned Minis for over twenty years. Alfie had a little dew claw still intact on his back leg, which I had removed at the charge of over £350.
Cara and Mo, two black mini's and Molly a black & white Heinz 57 all served by Elaine, the cook, poop picker, and chief toy thrower.
I live by the Mini Schnauzer code; when in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!

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Caramomo
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Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Caramomo » 27 Jan 2011, 16:23

All pups should be confident, clean, playful and appear healthy. They should have bright eyes and glossy fur, slighly plump rather than skinny. Mum may appear a little skinny or tired, raising pups is alot of work, but she should not be in obvious distress or ill health. She should be reasonable happy so let you play with and handle the pups and should not be nervous or aggressive. The puppy area should be clean, reasonably warm with a supply of fresh water for the pups. As the pups should be at least 4 weeks old mum may not be in with them but she should be near by and you MUST see her. If she is out anywhere say your happy to wait for her return. You will probably be there for over an hour anyway chatting to the breeder and playing with the pups. The breeder may have several other dogs there of a couple of breeds. You should be happy that the number of dogs the breeder has can be given the time, care and attention they need and all other dogs should be in good health. If there are several litters there ask the breeder why. I would only expect one, maybe two litters at the same time for the breeder to ba able to play with and provide the necessary socialisation to.

The breeder should ask you plenty of questions and listen to your answers - they should care about where pups are going. They should be able to answer all your questions. A responsible breeder will make it quite clear they would be happy to stay in contact with you when pup goes home and they should also be clear they will take pup back with first refusal should you ever have to give pup up, even if its in 5 or 10 years time. They should be happy to provide you with as much advice and help as you want/need. You should get on with them, find them easy to ask questions of as with any luck your relationship with them will last the next 15 or so years.

Finally, and most importantly, it should feel right. If ANY ONE THING feels at all wrong, underhand, suspicious etc then, please, for future pups, WALK AWAY!
Cara and Mo, two black mini's and Molly a black & white Heinz 57 all served by Elaine, the cook, poop picker, and chief toy thrower.
I live by the Mini Schnauzer code; when in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!

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Caramomo
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Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Caramomo » 27 Jan 2011, 16:24

masterplumber wrote:Having been (a couple of months ago) in the same position as you and having just bought a pup a week ago, I can offer you some limited advice. The first thing I did was lots of research. Not just about the correct breed of dog (that was a fairly easy conclusion to reach) but mostly to convince myself that I had the wherewithal to be able to look after a dog properly - particularly the puppyhood bit. I asked a few questions on here and got a lot of useful answers and sometimes a bit of mild abuse.

Once I had convinced myself that I had the right breed and the mental and financial capacity to cope with a puppy, I set on the task of trying to sort out breeders and how to approach them.

At first I thought of going only to those on the accredited breeder scheme as that sounded quite sensible. A few posts on here though put me right on that score as it seems that membership of that scheme gives no guarantee of any kind (makes you wonder why it exists in the first place but that's another question). So I went to the kennel club website and looked for breeders who had pups available. It's quite good because it has breeders listed by area. I also contacted the miniature schnauzer club and the northern schnauzer club for breeder lists and cross-checked them on the kennel club website.

I decided to ignore all of the other sites that had puppies for sale (although coincidentally I discovered that the breeder I am buying for had puppies for sale on one of those sites at a cheaper price than I paid...).

I had my list of preferred colours and sex. I then phoned a few who met those basic criteria and, if I liked them, I arranged a visit. One of the breeders had a really nice website and was comparatively close to where I say but I really didn't like her attitude on the phone so she was crossed off the list.

Once I had my list of breeders to visit, I made a up a checklist from the various things that people had advised on here (such as in Elaine's post above). The main thing I was looking for though was a feeling that I could trust the person I was buying from. I didn't feel that I had the professional knowledge to know what kind of things to look for re the breed standard so I settled for being comfortable with the right person.

I ended up with a choice of two. One was a breeder who had shown dogs and judged competitions for many years. She was really nice and the pups were great. I had gone to see her first but was determined to see both breeders before making my decision regardless of how I felt about the first lot.

When I went to see the second breeder I got a much better feeling although the breeder herself was probably less experienced. There were lots of kids around and they were happy picking up the pups; the house was pretty noisy; the pups' mum was there and looked a bit worn out but happy and well cared for. I asked a few questions about the pups (how old they were, how much they cost, when they were due to get vaccinated etc.) and what homes the other ones were going to. I was able to learn quite a bit about how the breeder went about her business by some of her answers.

The breeder went and fetched a whole lot of paperwork and patiently explained all of the owner registration stuff, vaccination schedules, clear eye tests (for both pups and parents), pedigree certificates, feeding, care, insurance etc. etc. She also asked me quite a few questions about what preparations I had made.

As far as I could see there was nothing to choose between the pups (and I wouldn't know what to look for anyway) so I made my decision purely on whether I thought the breeder was a fit person to breed and sell a dog to me. To be honest, I could easily have bought one from the first one as I liked them both but the second one seemed more organised and friendly and (strangely) more of a dog lover (I though the first one had a somewhat clinical approach maybe due to her professional involvement in shows etc) although I am almost certainly doing her a gross disservice by saying this.

I would reiterate what someone posted above though. If anything at all strikes you as being not for you then just leave it.

Good luck
Cara and Mo, two black mini's and Molly a black & white Heinz 57 all served by Elaine, the cook, poop picker, and chief toy thrower.
I live by the Mini Schnauzer code; when in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!

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Born: 01 Aug 2010
Location: Johor Bahru , Malaysia

Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Caramomo » 27 Jan 2011, 16:39

DraXparK wrote:If you have researched the breeds characteristics and requirements, and have met the parents of your puppy and spoke to the breeder at length, then you should have a better idea about what you are taking on. Have a look at the parents temperament, energy levels and coat, and also the coat and temperament of your puppy. Your breeder should be able to give you some good advice on exercise and grooming, if they can't then ??!!.....The handbook and grooming guides are a great addition to the advice and information provided by your breeder.
Cara and Mo, two black mini's and Molly a black & white Heinz 57 all served by Elaine, the cook, poop picker, and chief toy thrower.
I live by the Mini Schnauzer code; when in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!

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Caramomo
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Born: 14 Aug 2009
Dog #3: Molly
Born: 01 Aug 2010
Location: Johor Bahru , Malaysia

Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Caramomo » 27 Jan 2011, 16:40

Gently Bentley wrote: Reputable breeders will let you meet at least one parent but preferably both or other members of the family. Ideally the parents should have been health screened. The breeder should supply you with a puppy pack full of info and health check your pup before you collect it. Good breeders will also microchip it, insure it for 4 weeks. At 5 months yours should also have had it's innoculations and certainly be house trained. They should also be on hand after you've bought your pup for any additional questions you may have and be prepared to take a puppy back in the event that things don't work out for whatever reason , or at the very least help with rehoming. If the breeder you've chosen doesn't offer any of the above then I would think carefully about whether you would still like a pup from that breeder.

I too have dipped into the Draxpark site for additional info and find it extremely useful - so thank you for creating such an informative site
Cara and Mo, two black mini's and Molly a black & white Heinz 57 all served by Elaine, the cook, poop picker, and chief toy thrower.
I live by the Mini Schnauzer code; when in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!

dannie_kl

Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by dannie_kl » 28 Jan 2011, 14:14

Great thread elaine, thanks for doing this, connection is so bad here mostly checking the forum on my iphone!
For me personally, If i were going to choose a pup I would like the breeder to not have more than a couple of litters at any one time and I would like to see they dont breed constantly throughout the year, if they did I would be asking why and if its solely for financial gain this is not a breeder i would like to purchase from. Also I would not buy from a breeder whihc has many different breeds they are breeding from. I have mini's and have recently gone in to cockers as well but to have and to give two breed what they both need especially as they are not similar I find it quite demanding and full on, therefore a breeder with 4 or 5 or even more breeds I would seriously question how adequately they are able to care for each breed and its own needs. Also I urge people to look at the number of dogs a person has. If the breeder has more than 10 dogs its most likely a full time thing, do you feel all the dogs look well cared for and well looked after? I have 7 dogs at the moment and I know these are very hard work, I attend 5 obediance classes a week, 2 ringcraft classes, am a trained groomer so do all the grooming myself and even so its a very full on commitment, having 10 or more dogs I wonder how they honestly have all their needs met? be honest with yourself and be harsh, this little pup is hopefully joining your family for the next 14+ years, its an incredibly important decision-scrutinise everything!

Tulip

Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Tulip » 28 Jan 2011, 14:30

Fantastic thread. I agree with Dannie about the last bit, I woul never buy from a breeder who bred 'exotic' novelty colours either for more money!

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Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by black beard » 28 Jan 2011, 19:13

That's a good post Dannie. Can we have that added to the Standards thread too?
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Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Caramomo » 28 Jan 2011, 19:54

black beard wrote:That's a good post Dannie. Can we have that added to the Standards thread too?
Sure you can, consider it done. If you see any posts anywhere else that you would like added feel free to let me know or copy and paste it over.
Cara and Mo, two black mini's and Molly a black & white Heinz 57 all served by Elaine, the cook, poop picker, and chief toy thrower.
I live by the Mini Schnauzer code; when in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!

dannie_kl

Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by dannie_kl » 29 Jan 2011, 23:08

Thanks guys!

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Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Stortpark » 08 Apr 2011, 23:12

Just add a bit to this,

1. If dew claws are loose your looking at about £ 250 for removal.
2. Check the feet area of mum and pups, if their stained yellow it suggests they are kept in tight conditions and treading in urine.
3. Have a chat with at least 3 breeders and find one you get on well with.
4. If they don't give you a grilling about your suitability as an owner then it shows they have little welfare for the pups.
5. Be prepared to wait for the right pup.
6. Don't rush (I made this mistake)
7. What people have written above about eye condition is so important. Make sure mum and dad are tested. Exept no excuses. Ie I lost it, I'm waiting a copy. I good breeder would NEVER mate a bitch without both certificate.
8. Make sure u meet mum and she's not shy or unsocialized, you want a pup from a bitch who is confident.

Good Luck

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Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Snazy » 08 Apr 2011, 23:31

I would say more like £50 for a loose dew claw to be removed although if done while the dog is neutered, it wouldn't be more then a tenner extra - unless you are paying silly London prices! ;o)
'Pedigree indicates what the animal should be
Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be
But performance indicates what the animal is'


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Stortpark
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Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Stortpark » 08 Apr 2011, 23:42

Ok, my vet will only do it under general anaesthetic which it why it cost so much, and yes, vets are not cheap down here...lol

I have a bitch that needs hers done, where u based. If your vet does it for £50 it might be worth the trip..

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Re: What to look for when buying a puppy

Post by Snazy » 09 Apr 2011, 10:41

Yes, I was talking about under anaesthetic (not when done at a couple of days old).
'Pedigree indicates what the animal should be
Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be
But performance indicates what the animal is'


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