purebred puppy? If you are going to purchase a purebred puppy, you want to find a reputable breeder. There are many indicators that will tell you if the breeder is responsible and ethical. One of the last things you will probably ask for, but perhaps one of the most important, is a guarantee. When you look into those big puppy eyes, it will be hard to think about anything other than how cute that little Australian Shepherd, Pug or Great Dane puppy is. Ask your questions before you ever see the puppy. You may have more questions then, too, but there are some important questions to ask beforehand. One of those is, “What kind of guarantee do you offer?” Every breeder’s will be different, but all reputable breeders have one. It may be tailored to the specific breed. Immediate Health Most guarantees will require that you take the puppy to a veterinarian within so many hours or days of bringing him or her home. Don’t forgo this step. It will void your guarantee. Schedule the appointment before you pick up the puppy. A 30 day guarantee against illness is standard, but some breeders have been burnt by careless buyers, so be sure you are comfortable with the guarantee offered. The breeder cannot protect against everything. You now have a responsibility to the health of this puppy. Parasites and diseases can be contracted while under your care and may not be covered by the breeder’s guarantee. Long-term Different breeds have different hereditary diseases and genetic faults. A responsible breeder will do their best not to breed animals that carry these faults, but they can occur despite best efforts. Large breeds often have hip, back, heart and digestion problems. Small breeds have longer life spans but may also encounter hip, back, digestion problems and other diseases associated with aging. The key is to know what diseases and issues are specifically problematic for the breed or breeds you are interested in and make sure your breeder is conscious of them as well. There are tests that can be given for many genetic diseases. Your breeder should be able to provide proof of these tests performed on the parents and puppies if they have been done. Return Policy This also varies from breeder to breeder. Some will offer a replacement puppy if yours becomes ill or dies. Some will not give a refund or replacement after a certain period of time. Some will offer a credit towards another puppy. The most serious breeders will offer your puppy a home forever. This ensures that every puppy they breed will never end up in a shelter. They will most likely not give you a refund for a 10 year old dog, but if your situation changes and you are unable to care for your dog at any point, they will re-home your dog for you to ensure he or she always has a loving home. Get It in Writing Talk is cheap unless you are talking to a lawyer! It may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but all the talk in the world won’t mean anything if a situation actually arises, so be sure you get in writing. Read it thoroughly, make sure everyone signs it and store a copy in your records. Bottom line - you want to support responsible breeding when you decide to purchase a puppy. Don’t fall for the first cute puppy you see. There is much, much more to the decision and purchasing a puppy from an irresponsible breeder will only keep that breeder in business and encourage more irresponsible breeding. Be responsible, do your research, ask the questions, and buy from ethical breeders.