I want to begin by saying that I’m a huge advocate for adopting dogs; I’ve adopted quite a few wonderful dogs in the past. There are several circumstances where adoption isn’t always the best option for a family. When we recently decided to add another dog to our household, we knew it was going to be hard to find one that would match all of our needs. We have three house cats, a young child, and at the time we also had a small, very high-energy, house dog. We had adopted our late Rottweiler Chief from a dear friend, and we knew we wanted another Rottweiler. I’m sharing our experience trying to match our family with a rescue and a list of things to consider before buying a purebred dog.
A few days after Christmas, our Rottweiler Chief was diagnosed with cancer. He was a senior dog but that didn’t make it any less devastating. We had adopted him from a family friend, and we knew Chief’s entire history. He had been raised on a farm and he was well socialized, so he was very well mannered. Chief passed shortly after his diagnosis and our house was very empty without him. He enjoyed riding in the truck and playing on the farm. His personality was very different from our French Bulldog Bob.
Before Chief, I had another Rottweiler for 13.5 years. My ex-husband and I use to show Rottweilers and we had purchased her from a reputable breeder. She was my best friend and we traveled the country together. Naya was loved by everyone that knew her. Naya helped me appreciate all the wonderful traits of Rottweilers. She was a successful show dog, eager worker, and delightful companion. Rottweilers aren’t right for every family, but they’re definitely well-suited for us. I knew that our family needed another Rottweiler after Chief passed, but after looking at several potential rescues we were having trouble finding a cat-friendly, kid-friendly, and dog-friendly potential companion. I decided that I would start looking for a reputable breeder to purchase our next companion.
Here are a few things to consider before buying a purebred dog:
- Have you owned that breed previously? If not, have you thoroughly researched the breed you wish to purchase? Do you know their daily exercise requirements, grooming requirements, or possible health issues related to that specific breed?
- Have you located a reputable breeder?
- What do you hope to accomplish with your dog? Is it going to be a family companion, working dog, or both?
Do you live in an apartment? Do you run frequently? Do you have a fenced yard or live near a dog park? Can you afford monthly or quarterly grooming for a dog? Some breeds have very specific maintenance requirements that may not coincide with your lifestyle. You need to take all of these questions into consideration before deciding on a specific breed. The American Kennel Club can provide some helpful information on maintenance requirements for your desired breed that can help you make an educated decision.
What is a reputable breeder? A reputable breeder is someone who is knowledgable in the the breed standard for a specific breed, and they only breed healthy dogs that are good examples of the breed. Many breeds of dogs have health issues that are specific to that breed. Rottweilers should be cleared for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and hereditary eye and heart conditions before breeding. The health clearances aren’t incredibly expensive and they help ensure that offspring aren’t inflicted with potentially crippling, or in the case of heart conditions, life-threatening disease.
- Cost to treat hip dysplasia can range from a few hundred dollars a year for arthritis medication for mild cases, to $1,700 to $5,000 for surgery for severe cases.
- Cost to treat elbow dysplasia can range from a few hundred dollars a year for arthritis medication for mild cases, to $1,500 to $4,000 for surgical treatment of more severe ones.
Certain problems like congenital heart disease are not easily treated and will likely result in the premature death of a pet.
We recently lost my French Bulldog, Bob to Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). It is a devastating spinal disease that can affect any breed, but occurs more frequently in Dachshunds, Beagle, Shih Tzu, Basset Hound, and French Bulldogs.
Do not let any breeder convince you that a specific breed of dog has no health issue. Every purebred breed of dog has some issue. You need to find a breeder who knows the issues that a specific breed may have and who screens for them to help ensure you receive a healthier puppy.
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has a database where you can verify health screenings on a specific animal based upon its registered name or registration number. I always suggest verifying any information that a breeder has given you in regards to health screening. You can also search by breed to find out what health screenings that a specific breed may require using this link.
What if you can’t afford a puppy from a reputable breeder? I suggest that you save money until you can afford a puppy from a reputable breeder or consider trying to adopt a pet. When I was in college I really wanted a Miniature Schnauzer, but we didn’t have the money or the proper knowledge about where to purchase a puppy. We stumbled across a breeder at the flea market, who was offering puppies at what seemed to be a decent price. I purchased a puppy and less than 24 hours after we took her home, she was horribly sick. We had to take her to the vet and she was a treated with a host of illnesses, some of which were life threatening. The puppy had worms, kennel cough, and coccidia. The vet bill was a couple hundred dollars and she required monitoring for several days. I had easily spent what I would have on a puppy from a reputable breeder once you include the large vet bill. We were lucky that she did not die.
I highly suggest purchasing from a breeder that you feel comfortable having frequent contact with. A reputable breeder should provide life-long support for your pet. Naya passed away three years ago, but I still keep in contact with her breeder.
Remember that health clearances do not eliminate all possibly of illness or disease in your pet, but it will significantly reduce your chances.
You should also ask to meet the sire and dam. The temperament of the parents can greatly influence of the temperament of your pet, along with proper socialization of the puppy. If you can’t go near the parents, do you really want a puppy from them? An improperly socialized puppy can turn into a fear biter, which could be a problem for everyone involved. If fear biting does occur, consider puppy training in the comfort of your home to rectify the issue as soon as possible before it becomes an ingrained habit.
Many dogs have been selectively bred across centuries to develop certain breed-specific traits. You should understand how and why a desired breed was developed. A breed is far more than a specific color or look; they were often bred to do a specific job. Breeds such as the Rottweiler were developed to truly work, and despite the fact that they might no longer be required for the original task, they still need mental stimulation and some form of work. There are a host of activities that you can train your dog to do which can include, but are not limited to: obedience, agility, herding, tracking, therapy work, and carting. Certain breeds are more easily trained for one task than another.
Do you have anything else to add to this list of things to consider before buying a purebred dog? Are you looking to purchase a purebred dog? I’d love to add to this list, so please leave a comment if you have any tips I might have missed. If you’re on Instagram, you can follow along on the adventures of our new Rottweiler puppy, Kitty.