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Healthy Dogs

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How to Choose a Healthy Pure-Bred Puppy

WebMD veterinary expert answers commonly asked questions about how to choose a healthy, friendly pure-bred puppy as your new family pet.


A: The majority of purebred dogs are happy, healthy pets. We have a web site,, which is a great resource for potential dog owners. It highlights what breeders are doing to avoid genetic diseases and whether they are conducting proper health screenings. You need to ask for certificates that show that the breeder has done the proper health screenings on the sire and the dam before the breeding took place.

A balanced breeding program includes a whole list of what should be done ahead of time, such as genetic testing, pedigree research, confirmation, and temperament analysis of the sire and dam.


Q: Will someone who breeds dogs for show sell me a puppy even if I don’t want to show it?

A: Absolutely. The majority of puppies in a show litter actually go to pet homes. The breeder selects the best one or two out of a litter to keep for their line and sells the rest.


Q: What questions should I ask to determine if someone is a good breeder?

A: The first question should be, “Can I come visit your home or your kennel facility?” Responsible breeders are very proud of their kennel and their dogs.

Ask if they register with the American Kennel Club. Ask if they have the health certificates for testing prior to breeding. Then, I expect the breeder to ask the buyer a lot of questions about how they plan to care for the new puppy.


Q: Is it a good idea to meet both parents of the puppy I want?

A: It’s good to meet both parents, if possible. But the majority of breeders have only the mothers at their homes. Usually the stud dogs live somewhere else. But visiting the mother and other relatives that might be in the breeder’s home will give you a good idea of the size and the temperament of the line.

You can also ask for contact information for the stud dog. But in today’s world, you may live in New York, but the stud dog’s frozen semen was shipped from California.

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