Purebred dogs: are they worth the price?

Dachshund Dog ShowIf you’re not considering a dog for show or breeding (I hope not) then why would you want to pay the extra price for a purebred dog? There are several reasons, but the primary one is that when selecting a purebred puppy you have the predictability in size, coat, and temperament that has been proven again and again. Knowing what your cute puppy will look like, what it’s temperament will be like, and possible health issues that might be likely 5 years from now are not guaranteed for any dog, but you are more apt to have a better idea when considering a purebred dog from a reputable breeder. This is key to making a successful match between dog and owner, especially when dealing with puppies.

Purebred puppyThat’s not to say that dogs that don’t have pedigrees aren’t any good—far from the truth. But if you’re considering a puppy and not an adult dog, then you do have to be aware of the pitfalls that can come with that puppy of unknown origin.

Buying a puppy from a responsible and well-respected breeder can take some of that uncertainty out of the equation. This can’t be stressed enough. Responsible breeders are concerned with the betterment of the breed. They work on breeding healthier dogs that have the appropriate temperament. They have a track record for breeding dogs that are consistently true to the breed.

When you buy a puppy from anyone other than a well-respected breeder you can’t be really sure that you’re getting what you think you’re getting.

How do you find a reputable breeder?

Talk to as many breeders as you can. Ask questions. A responsible breeder should be happy to share their knowledge.

Where can you find reputable breeders and actually see the dogs? Dog shows and conformation events are great places to meet breeders and people that know other breeders. You can also contact AKC clubs in your area for their recommendations.

Once you select a breeder, screen them. Be wary of breeders working out of apartments that say their kennel is in the country. You want to be able to see the actual kennel to ascertain the breeding conditions of the dogs. You also want to see at least one of the parents of your puppy.

When visiting the breeder, see how the dogs interact with your breeder. Are they friendly and outgoing or do they shy away? A responsible breeder will also be screening you, looking for the best home for their puppy.

Ask the breeder questions and listen to their answers. Before you actually get to the point of talking with a breeder, you should already have a good idea of what is involved with dachshunds, so the type of answers that come from the breeder can be informative.

Does the breeder seem knowledgeable or do they speak in general terms? You want someone with a good working knowledge. Does the breeder only talk about the good sides of the breed or do they want to make you aware of the negatives as well? You want someone that isn't just trying to make a sale, but instead wants to give you a realistic appraisal of the breed. How long have they been breeding dachshunds? Be a little wary of newbies. Although they may be breeding fine dogs, the chances are they won't be. It takes time to develop contacts. Find out why they decided to get into breeding dachshunds? For the money? Look elsewhere. Because they wanted their little girl to experience motherhood. Look elsewhere. Do they breed other types of dogs, cats, rabbits? Be wary of family zoos.

It's unlikely they'll tell you this, but you might ask anyway: has any of their dogs suffered from canine inter vertebral disk disease? Since a reputable breeder would have screened all breeding candidates that did have that in their history, a disreputable breeder wouldn't admit that they had. So the answer to that question is null and void. Except, because this disease has been so common, even in well bred dogs (this characteristic is almost impossible to remove 100%) that someone that says they never had a problem with it, is probably not being completely honest. Ask if you can contact their vet? If they decline this request, look elsewhere.

Are you buying a show dog or a pet quality?

Show dogs are bred to the highest AKC standards. That means their coat, body type, leg length, tail shape, etc. are all guaranteed not to have any disqualifying faults that will show up in the show ring. Because show dogs are rare, price tags for them are extremely high. Pet quality dogs may have certain defects that would disqualify them in the show ring, but that doesn't mean they have 2 heads or 2 tails or 5 legs. It just means that some aspect of their physical characteristic isn't quite up to show quality standards. It has nothing to do with their character or ability to be a good family member. If you are looking for a show dog, the puppy should have some grand champions in his recent blood line. The more grand champions in the blood line (on both the mother and father's side) the higher the price tag.

Can you afford the purebred price tag?

DachshundsYour puppy’s price tag is not the only cost you have to consider. Foods, health care, annual shots, are all part of the price tag of bringing home a puppy. Your puppy will also need little things like a collar with identification, a bowl, a leash and local license.

Evaluate your budget; can you really afford a dog? If you can’t afford the price tag of a purebred dog, then you should really think twice about acquiring a puppy. I’m not saying you have to pay the high price tag associated with the purebred, but if the reason you don’t buy the purebred is price, then you shouldn’t be getting a puppy at all. Adopt an older dog that is more likely to have a proven temperament and disposition a less likely to have built in problems that may have a price tag that you can’t afford and then that cute little puppy becomes a big liability that gets dumped on someone else.

There is no doubt that a puppy is a little bundle of joy, but it is also a very big responsibility.