Making the right match
Ask yourself what is your lifestyle like? Are you fairly active and perhaps interested in dog training or agility? Will the puppy be alone for more than four hours at the time? If so, can you arrange for someone to come home to take the puppy out to do his or her ‘business’ and for some play time? Will your life/career change in the near future? If so, will a dog still fit into your new lifestyle? Have you got children? What will suit your circumstances best, having a bitch or a dog? These are all important factors to consider.

A good tip is to do as much research about the breed you are interested in as possible. You can get information and advice from breed books, the Kennel Club, the Internet and by visiting dog shows to see different breeds and by talking to the breeders.
Will you have the time and patience a puppy needs?
A puppy will need to have quality time with you where he/she gets all your attention in games, training and grooming. Also, if you are a parent, note how your child interacts with a relatives’ or friends’ dog to see if your child will be gentle with the dog, respect him/her and act sensibly around him/her.
Can you meet the mental and physical stimulation a dog needs in order for him/her to stay satisfied and happy?
On average a dog will need at least 40-60 minutes exercise per day – on walks and playing games. Also bear in mind that certain breeds will need considerably more time than this. By being aware of the natural tendencies of the breed you can then find ways of allowing the dog to express itself, which will then ensure you have a happy dog.
Can you afford a dog?
Expenses include: food, veterinary bills, insurance, toys and grooming requirements. As a general guide, the bigger the dog – the bigger the bill!
Have you had a dog before?
Even if you have, it could be a good idea to read a puppy book to update your knowledge and prepare yourself for the different puppy stages. It is easy to forget what it was like to have a puppy!
Would you consider taking your puppy to training classes to ensure a well-mannered dog?
Having a look for puppy socialisation classes in your area and going along to see what they are like and even booking a space for your puppy is a good idea and possibly one of the best investments you’ll make for the puppy. Good socialisation with opportunities for your pup to interact with other canines and people will ensure the puppy grows up to become a sociable, well balanced and outgoing dog that is welcome everywhere!
A question of space
Many people claim they can not have a dog because they have a small house. This does not have to be a problem as long as your dog gets sufficient mental stimulation i.e. games, activity toys, training and long walks regularly. Dogs are time intensive not space intensive!
Purebred dog or Mixed Breed?
Crossbreeds can be some of the healthiest dogs but be conscious of what the puppy is, in terms of breeding, as the dog you will end up with will have characteristics of his/her parents. All pure breed puppies should have certain characteristics (both mental and physical) that are unique to that particular breed. However, the dog that the puppy eventually become is also very much dependant upon the environment and experiences it has as it is growing up!
Consider other pets in the household

Will they get along? Will they teach your new, impressionable puppy positive or negative habits?

Where does the puppy come from?

View the breeding establishment: have the puppies been reared in a home environment? If so, this will make that the transition from the breeder to your home easier as the puppy is already used to daily household events.

Be aware of hereditary conditions of your chosen breed.

Check the medical history of the puppy’s mother and father. If a large breed, check for hip scoring as an example.

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