How to find a good breeder and choose the right puppy
This page will cover all the pitfalls of finding a breeder, and choosing a puppy - dos and donts - and what to believe and what NOT to believe when contacting breeders and puppy sellers.
If you want to know right now - just call me on the phone!
So you have decided that this is the breed for you, the next step is to find a find a breeder. Where do you look? How do you find one? The chances are good that there are no breeders in your home town, city - maybe not even in your state! Today, the best way to find a breeder is the way you found this site - via the internet. The search engines already have links to different sites which will, in turn, have links to different breeders' sites and to classified ad puppies for sale sites. You can also go to the AKC website and look for links to regional breed clubs.
Now things start to get confusing! How do you decide which of these people to contact? Which puppy is the right one for you! If you have been reading some of the advice on the internet it can be even more confusing. You may have read warnings that you should not buy a puppy over the internet, well this may be true if the seller has more breeds than you can count, usually small and toy breeds. These sellers are usually brokering puppies from breeders who will drop ship direct to the buyer. You may have no choice if you really want an Afghan Hound and you do not want to drive several hours one way, stay overnight - or maybe even two - if you want to visit the breeder's home or kennel. You will have to take the breeder on trust - and this will mean person to person telephone conversations! The breeder should feel the same way - they will need to talk to you as well, if they care about where their puppies are going or what will happen to them.
You may also have read warnings that you should never buy a puppy that has not been raised "in the home" - and you will see many advertisers who have caught on to this and use it as a selling strategy, using phrases such as "we are small family kennel" and this may be true, but this still does not make them the best breeders! You should ask the puppy seller where the puppies are born, and where do they keep the puppies when they get older? A good breeder will whelp their litters in their home. However, Afghan Hound puppies are very active and cannot be kept in small pens in the house or basement beyond the first few weeks of infancy, and if not given the opportunity to exercise themselves outdoors and develop properly, they will never reach their full potential as healthy members of the breed.
Some people say to me "I am only looking for a pet" - well, there is no "ONLY" about it. If you are seeking a pet, companion, family dog or whatever you want to call it, you are searching for a puppy that you hope will be with you for the next 13 - 15 years, and which will be a very important member of your household. You want a healthy, well reared puppy with a solid structure and a good temperament. A well bred litter will have parents that have been individually matched with each other to maximise the overall health and quality of the litter. A good breeder does not breed every female in the kennel to the same male, over and over, every year. Ask the puppy seller how many litters the dam has produced and if every one was sired by the same male!
An issue covered on most advice sites is that of health testing. The Afghan Hound, fortunately, is one of the most healthy breeds. This does not mean that there are no hereditary issues, but any that affect the breed have very low incidence. Good breeders may know what they have in their kennel but they realise that today they need the certifications to prove it. Ask the breeder what kennel name they use (it does not have to be a registered kennel name) and go to www.offa.org and look them up - if there are NO dogs or bitches that have been certified by OFA (Orthopedic Foundation For Animals) then chances are good nothing else has been checked either!
Finally - do TALK to the breeder/seller on the telephone, ask LOTS of questions, a good breeder will be happy to listen and to answer. If they do not seem knowledgeable they may be newcomers - but may have an experienced breeder as a mentor. Ask where they obtained the dam of the litter. If they seem too anxious to sell a puppy with no questions asked they will be even less willing to answer questions once the puppy leaves. Good breeders are there for you 24/7 after the puppy has been sold. Listen to your gut, your sixth sense, if you have nagging feelings about the seller go to their home or kennel in person and see how you feel then.