KASHVET - The Jammu and Kashmir Veterinarian


Selecting a Puppy

Getting a puppy to one’s home is similar to the birth of a baby. The puppy has certain basic needs which are to be met. This is an important thing to ask oneself, that is whether one has the time, space, manpower and resources to manage a pup. A truthful thought of whether one can satisfy these and to what extent , will determine the breed most suitable for you. Ultimately it all boils down to what one can get from one’s pet in return to what one gives it and most pet owners can vouch for the fact that a pet gives much more than it gets.

The important factors to be considered are breed, sex, age, size and temperament. The most essential point to be considered is the breed. Among the pure breeds there are different classifications i.e. Guard dogs e.g. Alsatians and Doberman, Toy dogs e.g. Pomeranian and  Spitz etc. Larger the breed, the more space and exercise it needs and people in flats are better off keeping the smaller breeds. Cross breeds and mongrels are just as lovely pets as pure ones but one cannot be sure of the final size they will turn out to be. As far as the sex of the pup is considered, the females tend to be more docile in general, but one should remember that they come to heat twice a year and, therefore, could be a minor problem then. Age is the next crucial factor to be thought of. Most dogs adapt to a household better as pups than as adults. Pups can be brought home when they are 6 –8 weeks old. This is the age they are weaned and therefore have learnt enough about socialization from their dams. Last but not the least, one must check out the pup’s temperament. Ideally it should match that of the owner. Introverts are better off with shy pups and gregarious people do well with boisterous young pups. But one must never go in for a pup that is nervous and aggressive, for this may be the final temperament and one may find it difficult to handle the pup at a later stage. Before actually setting out to get a pup, one must read about the details of the breed. Insist on seeing the sire and dam. They will help you judge as to how your pup will turn out. The next stage is the actual selection of the pup. The pup must be active and should respond on being called. Avoid selecting weak lethargic pups as well as those that growl at you .The skin, eyes and ears serve as good indices to the pup’s health. The skin must be soft and shining. There should be no ticks or fleas. Check inside the ears and paws, for ticks are commonly seen here. Ticks not only cause anemia, but also are responsible for spreading a life threatening blood parasite. The eyes must be clear of any discharge and must have an alert, bright and clear appearance. The inner flap of the ears must be pink and this indicates good health. The pup’s legs must be strong, sturdy and placed straight on the ground. It is a healthy practice to check the pup’s gait by watching it walk and run. There should be no splaying or wobbling of the legs. The pup must be plump but not pot bellied.

Lastly check for specifications of each breed e.g. the bite of boxers or the color patterns specific to each breed. Each breed has a specific tail angulation and shape, forehead size, setting of ear, body proportion etc. Male pups must be checked for presence of two fully descended testicles in the scrotum. Absence of this renders the pup liable for disqualification in dog shows. Ask for a certificate of pedigree of the pup that is needed if your dog is to enter a dog show. In case you are getting a pup from a breeder, then it is better to check his reputation. Its best, if possible, to get a pup from one of your friend’s or relative’s litter. Toy breeds like Pugs are suited for small apartments. People needing protection are better off with an Alsatian or Doberman. People with small children are better of with family dogs like Boxers or Labradors. People with lots of open space can go in for a Great Dane or Rottweiler.

To sum up, remember  that ‘haste makes waste’. As your pet has to live with the family for 10 – 14 years, think deep of what exactly you expect of it prior to its actual purchase.





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Last Modified: 06-Aug-08                                                    If you have a question/suggestion send it to feedback@kashvet.org