Select, Select, Select

For too long we’ve cried “socialise, socialise, socialise”.  I vote for a new slogan: “select, select, select”.

Ultimately, to bring a confident, happy, sound, enjoyable new puppy into the household, three critical selections need to be made:

We need people to select an appropriate breed. They need to know what characteristics fit in with their family or lifestyle. Genetics hugely determine the behaviours of dogs.  There are countless resources explaining how to consider the breed most suitable to you.  This includes practical appearance criteria, like “how big?” and physically appealing charactertisitcs.  Then, nitty gritty criteria regarding owner energy compared to the dog’s, and willingness to groom.  An understanding of the breed’s original purpose and how that original purpose might be annoying (e.g. a breed bred to retrieve likes to use their mouth, a breed bred to herd may nip and herd people, a breed bred to kill vermin often are indiscriminate with pocket pets).  In short, new owners need to research breeds and work out what breed would love to live and thrive in their household- not a breed that they could ‘make work’.

Golden retriever puppy

Kari with a puppy from Savaneta Golden Retrievers from South Australia.

Puppy buyers need to select a breeder with care. By that I mean: a breeder that cares. Cares about where their puppies end up, about the pedigrees of their dogs, about choosing pups suitable to the individual’s lifestyle. A good breeder may say no to some households, because they only want the best for their puppies. A good breeder probably doesn’t have a puppy available right now. Good breeders take steps to ensure their animal never ends up in a shelter, and will live a happy and full life in a loving home.  A good breeder knows some puppies are not perfectly normal, and will not let them go to any home.

And the pedigree of the dog, including the parents, need to be considered. This is in terms of temperament and in terms of health.  Nervous dogs, or aggressive dogs, should not be bred from, and should not be in the pedigree.  Buyers should insist on meeting at least the mother of the puppy, and any other relatives possible.  The pedigree should, however, include healthy dogs – especially dogs that are old and healthy.  Certificates of health should be presented for the parents, including any relevant scores (e.g. hip, eye, etc) for the particular breed.  Knowing the background of the puppy provides some security and confidence in what the puppy may grow to be.

I’m sure if people went through all these steps, or even half of these steps, we’d have less dog problems than we see today. There would be no impulse buys, if people were selecting the right breed, and going through a responsible breeder. If people considered pedigrees and parents more often, there would be more healthy and stable dogs.

Selecting the right breed, from the right breeder, from the right pedigree, would right a lot of wrongs. … We can dream, can’t we?


Further reading: Can breeders breed better?

10 thoughts on “Select, Select, Select

  1. This article unfortunately doesn’t really take into consideration adopting a dog, which is a great option! I think it is most important to think about how much time you want to devote to a dog (even a puppy will need to be trained!). Also, we have to get over the myth of the “perfect dog.” Dogs come with issues (or grow into them), some big and some small, but if you really want one, you have to realize that and not let them go because of perceived problems.

    It’s a great point that dogs should never be impulse buys!

    • Hey Helen. Good point, this is a rather breeder-focussed post. With adult rescue dogs, a lot of these things aren’t relevant – the dog is ‘how it is’, and adult dogs should be treated as individuals rather than considering their breed or where they came from. However, I feel uncomfortable about rescue puppies – there is a lot of unknown about them, how they’ll grow up, their ancestry, and I consider adopting a rescue puppy as a big risk. I have rehomed rescue puppies before, and there are people out there willing to take the risk, and perhaps even enjoy the mystery of having an unknown puppy.

  2. I like the fact you stress responsible breeders!! Yay!! We need more responsible breeders, but I also agree with Helen, you can adopt a pet from a shelter in much the same way you would select a dog from a breeder.

    And I agree, dogs should NEVER be impulse buys and personally I don’t think they should be Christmas gifts to children either.

    • At Christmas time there were lots of posts made about the ‘christmas gift’ conundrum… Dogs can be gifts quite okay, but SURPRISE gifts are not so good! If a family has put a lot of time and consideration selecting the dog, breeder, and pedigree, and all family members are in agreement, AND the puppy happens to be available at Christmas time – why not! But, unfortunately, rarely are ‘Christmas puppies’ sold or purchased ethically.

  3. I’m right behind you 300%. In short, if potentials owners take some time researching about their future pets, most dogs would end up having forever homes.

    And simply saying, “Oh he’s cute” or “Oh, that one is my soulmate” isn’t enough.

    I’ve had an experience with Peanuts with little mousies… I mean sure, she’s a great cat replacement, but let’s admit it, we don’t want our dogs carrying dead carcasses in our bedroom.

    I’d also like add the hounds love to bark and hunt because that was what they bred for. So if a beagle is noisy or barks whenever she sees other dogs or discovers something, you can’t just blame it for bad behavior.

    Huggies and Cheese,


    • Peanuts sounds like a great hunter! I think my neighbours are baiting rats/mice or something, because mine keep bringing me dead creatures too (but seemingly they didn’t kill them themselves). Very happy that my dogs aren’t eating them!

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