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Looking For A Hunting Dog?

If you are looking for a hunting dog, but are not sure which breed to choose, or what to look for when choosing a puppy, we can help. The following list of questions should help you determine whether a puppy was bred to be a healthy, good-tempered companion, and to determine whether it meets the goals you have set.

1.) Are the parent dogs on the premises? 
Being able to see one or more parent dogs will tell you a lot about the puppy. It may help you to assess the personality type and other characteristics of your puppy.

2.) Have both the sire and the dam been OFA'd , CERF'd, or had any other vet screenings?

OFA: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals OFA will certify the hips of dogs 2 years old or older as:  Excellent, Good, Fair, Mild, Moderate, or Severe, with respect to Hip Dysplasia. Hip Dysplasia is present in most breeds. This is important information to have, especially if you plan to take the dog hunting. OFA will also certify elbows, to show no joint deformity.

CERF: Canine Eye Registry Foundation. CERF certifies that the eyes of the dog are clear. (No cataracts or other visible eye disease or deformations.) VWD neg: Von Willebrand's Disease Negative means that the dog has been screened for this disease. This disease is similar to hemophilia.

3.) Have the puppies been temperament tested?   Many temperament tests exist to determine the aptitude of puppies from obedience to hunting.  If the breeder has conducted any temperament test, ask them to share the results with you.

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4.) What will the breeder guarantee in the way of the health of the dog?
Responsible breeders take every precaution to produce puppies that are free of genetic diseases.  If something unforeseen DOES surface, a responsible breeder will normally have a system in place to deal with your special circumstances.  This may include replacing your puppy with another one, refunding part or all of your money, and/or taking the dog back.  All of these details need to be discussed prior to buying the puppy.

5.) Will the breeder buy or take back the dog, if for any reason, at ANY time in the dog's life, you are unable to care for it?
Responsible breeders accept a lifelong commitment to the dogs they breed. No breeder wants to see one of their puppies end up in a shelter. The breeder should commit in writing to take the puppy back if you are unable to care for it, no matter what age the dog is.  In return, they may ask YOU to commit in writing that you will not transfer ownership of the dog without contacting them first.

6.) Does the breeder hunt their dogs?
If you want to hunt your dog, this may be critical.  Your safest bet is to buy from a breeder that hunts their dogs.

7.) Do the sire/dam hunt?  If so, can you watch them hunt?
Watching the parents hunt may give you a window on what kind of instinct you can expect from your puppy.

8.) What shots, worming, veterinary checkups, etc..., have been provided, and when will the next ones be due?
Make sure you write down the dates of shots, worming, tail docking, dewclaws, etc..., as well as the type of shots and worm medications used.  If possible, get the name of the veterinarian.

Remember this important information:

The cheapest part of owning a dog is buying it!  Although a high price is no guarantee that a puppy is a quality dog, donít shy away from a well bred pup because of price.  Often, the difference between a poorly bred dog and a dog bred by a reputable and knowledgeable breeder is a few hundred dollars.  Purchasing a dog of lesser quality may lead to health problems that can lead to large veterinary bills and heartache.  When you look at the lifetime cost of owning a dog, spending a little extra to buy a healthy and good-tempered animal is certainly an excellent investment.

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This site last updated August 2014

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