Choosing a puppy

'Choosing a puppy' image

Choosing a puppy

It is worth spending time researching what kind of dog will suit you and your family. Just like humans, dogs are living longer so the pup you choose may still be part of the family in 14 years time. You may have a preference for a particular breed or prefer a mongrel but it is important that you select the right dog for your lifestyle. If you need some professional advice about what pup to choose it is a good idea to book a consultation (Ph: 01 272 3857) and come down for a chat with us here at the practice. The vets and vet nurses here all have practical hands on knowledge about the best breed to suit you and your family - and the ones to avoid!


Buyer Beware! 

Please be very careful where you buy your puppy from! Remember if you are buying from internet websites or newspapers you could be buying from a puppy farm and could literally be 'sold a pup'!. Many popular breeds - especially toy and small dog breeds like Yorkshire terriers, Pugs, West Highland White Terriers and Bichon Frises - come from puppy farms. This is a place where dogs are 'factory farmed' for profit and are often kept in crowded, dirty surroundings. These pups are not cuddled, handled or socialised so do not make good family pets. Time and time again we see pups from puppy farms suffer ill health and have lifelong behavioural problem due to lack of early socialisation.

 It is essential to get a healthy pup from a clean, loving home where the litter has been well nurtured and handled from an early age. Spend some time with the mother to get an idea of her temperament. If she is the kind of dog you would like as your pet than her puppies should be suitable for you.


  • Plenty of research first about the type of dog you want for you and your family. Talk to a vet or veterinary nurse or visit charity animal shelters.
  • Meet the parents! Visit the house to see what kind of home your pup is from. Ask to see the mother and the rest of the litter. If possible always check the father too. Make sure you get a pup that is 'well socialised ' ie handled by loving owners from a young age.
  • Buy pedigree dogs only from a known reputable source. The Irish Kennel Club can supply you with a list of breed secretaries who can recommend good breeders to you. It is also a good idea to visit Dog Shows and chat to breeders.
  • Check the pup has been regularly wormed. Ask the breeder for all the medical records so we can see exactly what has been done.


  • Fall for the line 'We live very far away so we'll meet you half way!' Puppy farmers do not want you to view their premises so they will frequently bring the dog to you in the car. ( Funny how they always seem to be at the opposite ends of the country to where you live!) They rely on the fact that once you have seen the cute pup you won't be able to harden your heart and say no. Think about it - a genuine breeder will want to make sure you are a suitable owner for their puppy and would never sell out of the boot of a car on a motorway!
  • Do not buy from classified advertisements online or in the papers with only a mobile number. Beware of ads that offer more than one breed - this means either a dealer or puppy farm.
  • Don't fall for a bargain - if they are offering you a puppy on discounted rate it's because they most likely have 20 more factory farmed pups at home they need to sell fast.
  • Make sure you get the breeders name, address and phone number. Beware of forged Kennel Club certificates ( check with the Irish Kennel club). Also the line - 'we'll send the papers on to you in the post '.

A healthy pup should have: 

  • A friendly, confident manner but should not be dominant with its litter mates. Timid pups often become highly strung and dominant pups might become aggressive.
  • Clean bright eyes with no redness or discharge.
  • Clean ears with no waxy crusts in the ear canal.
  • The front teeth (called the incisor) teeth should meet in the front. If they don't it means the pup has an undershot jaw. This is a defect and could lead to early dental problems.
  • The skin should be sleek and shiny with no dandruff or black specks indicating flea dirt.
  • The back end should be clean and odour free. Soiling might indicate diarrhoea
  • The pup should be plump with rolls of loose skin. If the pup has a potbelly with prominent ribs than it may be sickly or have worms.
  • Should not be nervous or growl at strangers. If it does it may mean it has come from a puppy farm ie reared like a farmed animal in a pen as opposed to reared with people in a family home