Associated Dog Clubs of

New York State



Selecting a Dog




Possibly you already have a breed in mind - one which attracts you because of its beauty or personality.  If you have not yet decided on the breed, you should examine your life style and circumstances.  Are you good with your hands and would you enjoy the extensive grooming required by some breeds?  If not, can you afford to pay for an expert professional?  Do you have a large exercise area for a very active dog?


Often a medium size, stable and quiet breed is best for people with small homes and grounds.  Suit the temperament of the breed to your own.  Each breed was developed for a particular purpose and has a temperament suited to the work it was designed to do.  Make proper arrangements for the dog’s housing.  All but the tiniest dogs can live outside in an insulated dog house if accustomed gradually to the cold.  Except for the very small breeds kept almost entirely indoors, you should have a fenced area, yard or run in which the dog can be kept for his own safety and health and where he can get adequate exercise.


If you have no fenced yard, do yourself and the dog a favor and build a run, which is easily constructed.  NEVER tie a dog out to a stake, chain or running pulley.  He is at the mercy of children or vicious dogs.  He may turn mean.  If you are not prepared to provide a proper place for the dog to run in safely, you should not have a dog.  Do not let him loose in the neighborhood no matter where you live, if you expect to keep your friends and your dog!!




For very young children, it is imperative that you select a very sturdy breed of docile and patient temperament.  Be sure you meet at least one of the puppy’s parents when you buy and assure yourself that the grown parent is easily managed and loving.  It is also best that young children be given a dog three months of age or older.  Never leave a puppy alone with children under nine years of age.  The child may maul and hurt or tease the dog to an extent which affects his temperament.  The dog may protect himself from being hurt by biting your child.  Young puppies want to do little but eat and sleep and should be allowed to do so.


Buy a puppy no younger that eight to ten weeks old.  Even a eight week old puppy is not strong enough to roughhouse with children.




The most foolhardy economy you can attempt is the purchase of a “bargain” dog.  The original investment in your dog, whatever the breed, is the smallest part of what you will spend for the years of love, companionship and pride of ownership he should give you.  Prorated over lifetime, there is a very little difference between the annual investment in a good dog and a poor one.  But they all cost the same to immunize, feed, house, board and care for.  An unsound dog or one without good breeding and a good start in life can cost a fortune in health care not to mention what he looks like and acts like when he grows up.  So buy a good one to begin with.


This does not mean that you need a show-quality dog if you intend to keep it as a pet.  But the dog should come from sound, healthy, good-tempered parents and the dog’s pedigree should include at least a number of champions if you expect it to look nice, stay healthy, and have the temperament that will make him a welcomed member of your family.  Soundness, beauty and temperament are inherited right along with eye and coat color.  The dog’s care during his first formative weeks of life also is basic to future results.  Poor temperament or frailty might be tolerated in a kennel dog but not in a house pet which is part of your family.  In this sense, the quality of a pet is even more important than that of a kennel dog.




The cost of a quality dog varies greatly between breeds.  Check with several breeders. In general, you will find that a certain price range is quoted for a pet or show prospect in that breed.  Avoid any dog priced far below the other prices quoted.


However, price is no guarantee of quality.  Miserable specimens are sometimes priced high.  The pedigree and a breeder with a good reputation should help to produce a sound dog.  But remember that there are very few bargains in dogs and that you would have to be a great expert in order to find one.  Buying a dog is like buying a diamond.  You must rely on the reputation and integrity of the seller.


A well-bred and properly cared for puppy is not cheap.  This is because the sire and dam have had the finest of care all their lives, the brood bitch has had special attention during and after whelping, the puppies have had vitamins, minerals, a good food source and all necessary shots and often a substantial stud fee is involved to produce the litter.  This represents a considerable investment in every puppy sold by a responsible breeder.  If you want a dog in which you can take pride and which will be healthy, loving member of your family, saying “I only want a pet” is no excuse for buying a cheap puppy.


NEVER buy a puppy without reading the pedigree.  Ask the breeder to explain it to you.  And remember that the word “champion” in a pedigree is like the word “sterling” in silver.


It is generally less expensive to buy from the breeder than from a commercial establishment.  This should be obvious when it is considered that a commercial establishment must make a profit.  The price usually is twice to three times the original cost of the pup.  The rest goes for rentals, advertising, promotion, payrolls and, often, franchising fees.  The private breeder puts his money into caring for his dogs and selective breeding of only the best stock.  Most private breeders spend far more on their dogs than they ever get back.


Responsible private breeders study bloodlines, breed carefully, resting the dams a long time between litters, always trying to improve one generation over the last.  They want to produce the best possible puppies for themselves to show and breed, they take advantage of the vast knowledge available in planning and raising their litters.  Thus, pups from a show kennel are likely to be superior.  However, since it is rare for all pups in a given litter to be show prospects (the breeder considers himself lucky to get one or two), the others are available as well-bred, stable, healthy, and dependable house pets.  The puppies all have the same loving attention by an expert who does not spare work or expense during their formative weeks.  They go directly from one secure, happy environment to their new home.  By comparison, puppies produced by commercial breeders to supply the pet market are bred only with the objective of producing puppies. All that is required by the commercial breeders is that the parents be registered and of the same breed.  The commercial breeders usually ship their puppies weeks before they are ready to leave the litter because it is more important to have young appealing puppies in the storefront window.





People who sell a large number of breeds rarely know much, if anything, about a particular breed.  Only the breeder who concentrates on years of bettering the breed is qualified to advise you on that breed.  Almost without exception, responsible private breeders spend far more on their dog than they will ever receive back except in terms of satisfaction.  We urge you to buy direct from the breeder if you expect to get a good dog at a fair price.  You should be able to meet and touch at least one parent of any dog you buy.




Just as lawyers and doctors band together in BAR and Medical Associations for the advancement of professional knowledge and the preservation of ethical practices, the breeders of fine dogs invariably become members of clubs which promote the improvement of their breeds and pure-bred dogs in general.


The Associated Dog Clubs of New York State, Inc. is an organization of such clubs.  At the present time, it is comprised of 50 clubs with a membership of hundreds of dog fanciers in the State of New York.  The Association monitors all state and local legislation concerning dogs and seeks to educate the public concerning the enjoyment of dog activities and the importance of obtaining dogs from the reputable breeders.


The Association will be pleased to direct you to responsible breeders of the dog you have in mind.  The breeders will be happy to discuss the breed with you and advise you on its care.  They either will offer puppies of their own or assist you to find a good puppy at a fair price.  We will be delighted to answer questions on registrations, dog care and, in general, help you find the right dog and be happy with it.




A good breeder of good dogs will want to know as much about you as you wish to know about the puppy.  He/She will want to know about your family and life-style and where the dog will be kept.  If you plan to breed the dog, he/she will want to be assured that you will go about it in the right way and with proper planning.  A responsible breeder will not tell you that a pet puppy is for breeding and show.  And he/she will know the difference.  You can depend on his/her word and know that he/she will stand behind what he/she sells.


Beware the seller who downgrades or criticizes show dogs, champions and pedigrees.  A responsible breeder with quality dogs will know that these things are basic in the production of good specimens and the advancement of the breed.  Dog shows are a means of providing continuing quality control of the dogs being produced by a kennel, since a group of independent experts, the judges, are checking on the caliber of dogs being produced.


Look around when you visit the kennel.  Is everything clean and orderly?  Can you meet at least one parent of the pups and see the other dogs in the kennel?  Do the owners seem to love their dogs and is this love returned?  Are the dogs friendly and outgoing, not over-excited or cowed?  All dogs will jump at the fence and bark in their pens or runs, but a dog outside its run or in a room should be friendly and placid, bearing in mind, of course, the general temperament of the breed.  Do not expect a terrier to be as relaxed as a St. Bernard.


Do not allow anyone, especially your children, to poke hands and fingers through the fence of a dog’s pen.  Even the best tempered dogs are sometimes protective of their pens.  If you wish to know more about a dog, ask the owner if he will take it out.  Be prepared for a serious and often lengthy discussion with the breeder.  If your children are apt to become itchy or boisterous, leave them at home.  This is in fact a good general practice since you may not wish to buy a particular puppy and the children will be unduly disappointed.


We suggest that you visit several kennels and talk with the owners.  You will learn more about the breed every place you go.




Look for a puppy which is plump all over.  The stomach should not be distended except directly after eating.  You should buy a puppy that is at least eight weeks of age, which has had two “shots” and been well socialized.  Many breed clubs have a Code of Ethics which all members have to sign stating that they will not sell puppies under a certain age.  In many toy breeds that age is at least 10 weeks.


Look for a well-developed, outgoing dog.  Avoid extremely shy pups, though all will be shy for the first few minutes in the room.  The eyes should be clear and bright, free from matter.  The nose and ears should be clean, with no sign of discharge.  Skin should be clean, with no hairless or red spots.  Constant scratching is a sign of skin trouble or parasites.  The coat should be fluffy, glossy and not shedding.  Do not expect adult coat or color from a puppy.  Bone structure should be solid and the dog should have no difficulty getting up from a prone position.  Legs should be steady and strong.




You should receive a healthy puppy which the breeder invites you to take to a veterinarian of your choice to be checked within three days of purchase.  In New York State provided you return the puppy within 14 days of the purchase you are entitled to a 100% refund or another puppy of equal value if you desire.  For further information, see NYS General Business law, Article 35-D.


You should receive a written bill of sale which states the forgoing privilege of return, the date, price paid, names and registration numbers of sire and dam, and conditions of sale, the litter (or individual) registration number of the puppy and date of its birth.


You should receive registration papers.  This will be either a blue “Registration Application” form or a white “Individual Registration” from the A.K.C. (and this does take time), be sure that this is stated in the bill of sale, and that it is indicated the papers will be sent when they are received by the breeder.


You should never be asked to pay extra for the dog’s registration papers. You have a RIGHT to them with an A.K.C. registered dog.  The breeder may indicate that the puppy is not to be used for breeding and there is a section on the back of the “blue slip” for this purpose.  The breeder is within his rights to ask this and if a litter is produced by the dog the puppies can not be registered with the American Kennel Club.


If you pay for the dog in installments, you will not receive the registration papers until all payments have been made.  If you pay by check, the registration papers may be withheld until your check clears.


You should receive WRITTEN instructions for feeding and care of the dog and dates of immunization “shots” and worming.




Be specific when you talk to the breeder.  If you want a pet say so up-front.  Don’t try to get a show or breeding quality dog under false pretenses.  You will get what you ask for and what you pay for.


Take the time to visit several breeders.  Every visit will give you more knowledge of what to look for and ask about.  Be sure to telephone for an appointment.  Private kennels are part of a breeder’s home and should be so respected.  Don’t jump at the first puppy you see because it’s cute.  All puppies are cute.


When you take the puppy home, be sure he has plenty of time for rest and that you follow instructions for feeding and care to the letter.  Be sure he has a suitable fenced place in which to run.  Be present when he is with small children.  Treat him with love and consistent standards of discipline.  Be sure he is immunized against diseases on schedule.


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The Associated Dog Club of New York State, Inc. is an organization of people who truly love dogs and are interested in their welfare.  We want you to be happy with your dog.  We will be pleased to answer your questions on any dog subject or help you find a quality dog.


Inquiries and questions may be directed to ADCNYS e-mail.


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We acknowledge, with gratitude, permission from the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs, Inc. to reprint with some revisions their article of 1973.


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 This information is approved by ADCNYS for the sole purpose of aiding interested parties in gaining information regarding specific breeds.



© 2020 Associated Dog Clubs of New York State, Inc.   Website updated 5/6/2020