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Mon, Jan. 20

Powers: What to look for when choosing a pure bred dog
All About Pets

Piper and Lil-Wayne wait patiently on their tables for those finishing touches before heading into the ring. (Christy Powers/Courtesy)

Piper and Lil-Wayne wait patiently on their tables for those finishing touches before heading into the ring. (Christy Powers/Courtesy)

Purebred dogs, puppy mill dogs, backyard breeders and rescue organizations: all of these produce adorable and irresistible puppies. But there are a few other things to consider besides cuteness.

The recent AKC dog show, sponsored by the Prescott Kennel Club, displayed the best of the best. These dogs are the top of the heap because they are physically and hopefully genetically sound. These dogs should be the breeding stock for future generations.

Responsible breeders make sure that their line is protected. They are extremely thoughtful as to the future of that line and to the breed itself. That is the responsibility of every top quality breeder.

Producing a bunch of adorable puppies every year, which is easy. Producing a litter of very carefully bred pups requires lots of study, investigation and planning.

There are certainly things to look for in choosing a purebred dog. You want a breeder who is very careful about her line. She knows the strengths she is seeking in her line and strives to achieve that in each lit-ter.

There are way too many people who produce a litter and sell them on line, at flea markets or wherever – just to make a few bucks.

A dedicated person seeking a purebred pup - first of all, generally knows what breed they are looking for. Hopefully, they are seeking traits that suit their lifestyle. Are they hikers or hunters or do they want to compete in obedience or any other of the ever expanding list of dog games and competitions – including agility, musical freestyle, rally, obedience or even conformation? Or do they want a lap dog?

Once you have determined the breed of dog you want, then you need to begin your in-depth investigation. If you know of someone that has the breed that you are seeking, question them thoroughly. With the internet, it is easy to find breeders – read what they reveal on their website. Are they striving for good health, great immune system, longevity or are they interested in selling cute puppies?

A good breeder will be able to show what they are striving for with their breeding program and why they have chosen the dogs they have to be the pair that represents this breeding. It is a science.

The recent AKC dog highlighted many breeds, even a couple of brand new ones. There was conformation, with the goal of finding the absolute best dog to represent their particular breed, but also there was obedience and sports like rally. Obedience and games like rally do not consider the breed or the conformation, but do reveal the extreme training and teamwork that exists between dog and handler.

A couple of words of advice! If you are seeking a particular breed and want an AKC registered pup, do your homework. Get references. A well-bred purebred dog will be expensive. Careful breeders deserve this because of the care and dedication they put into their breeding program.

If you are just looking for a best buddy, go to a rescue organization and spend some time meeting some of the available pups.

At the AKC show, I visited with Gina and David Klang of Mon Amie Briards from Thousand Palms, California. Parked in the big RV lot, they set up their grooming station next to their van in order to prepare their two beautiful Briards for the ring.

Christy Powers is a freelance writer whose passion is studying and writing about pet health, nutrition and training. She can be reached at

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