After you have located a breeder with whom you feel comfortable, don’t be put off to learn that you will have to wait awhile nor be offended when the breeder asks you such questions as : “Have you had a Scottie before?” “How will the puppy be housed and cared for?” “How long will the puppy be alone during the day?” “Are there children in the home?” “Do you want to breed your dog?” and other such questions. The breeder is not trying to be nosy, but desires to place her puppies only with caring and responsible families. Also in discovering about your home and life style she can best help you pick out the perfect puppy for you.
Let’s eliminate the term “Pick of the litter” because each Scottie is unique and special in its own way, so each one needs a special home designed just for him. You want to find the puppy that will be YOUR pick of the litter.
The next step in the process would be to take inventory of your home and lifestyle. If you home is very active, you will need an active puppy, if however, you life a more sedate life, perhaps a quieter puppy or even a more settled adult would be best suited for you. After having done that and maybe even making a list of what you would (realistically) want in a puppy, contact a breeder and see when a litter is due. The idea way would be to visit the breeder when the puppies are at least eight weeks old, (or older depending on when the breeder is comfortable in letting them leave home).
Here are some tips on how to choose a puppy using some techniques such as:
- Sit down and make note of which puppy comes first and which one lags a little behind.
- See which on crawls into your lip, or pulls at your sleeve.
- Look to make sure they seem healthy, with clear eyes and a shiny coat.
- Take along a piece of cellophane paper and crumple it in your hand, see which ones seem interested in the noise.
- Bring along a squeak toy and see if that noise brings a response from any of the puppies.
- Don’t forget to ask to see the parents, make sure they too look healthy (although the mother may not look her best after giving birth and nursing a litter of active youngsters). If there is something you do not like about the parents then you should resume your search because the puppies will likely take somewhat after the parents.
- Ask the breeder about differences that she has observed in the litter. A caring breeder will not try to ‘sell’ you a puppy but will want to place the puppy in the home that best suits him, so she should be willing to share her observations on each puppy.
At some point in the discussion be sure to ask if there have been any problems with Scottie Cramp; Cerebellar Abiotrophy (CA or Ataxia), Bladder Cancer (TCC) or other inherited disorders. Also make sure the parents have been genetically tested for von Willebrand’s Disease. A responsible breeder will have no problems talking to you about these disorders. Be wary of any breeder who does not know about these inherent problems in Scotties or is not willing to discuss them with you.
A reputable breeder will be willing to give you a guarantee (in writing) as to the health of the puppy. If you are purchasing a show quality puppy there may be a contract involved. If the dog is not going to be shown, then the dog should be altered, and the breeder should insist on this. The breeder should also be willing to be available to answer any questions that you have in the future, and be willing to take back any puppy that she breeds should there be a genetic problem of if you can no longer care for the dog. (Don’t expect a refund beyond the stated period in the contract, but she should be willing to take back a puppy and help find it a new home if she can not keep it.)
After having discussed some of the best ways to pick out your puppy, I will state that it is highly unlikely that you will be able to go to a breeder and choose the puppy you want. The way it is usually done is to choose your breeder, discuss with her all the above items, see when the she has a litter due and ask to be placed on her list to be notified when the puppies come. Tell her what you are looking for, i.e. color, sex temperament, etc. she should then let you know when the puppies arrive and if she may have one for you. If you are looking for a companion Scotties, color and sex should be the last items of concern. Scotties come in may lovely colors. I can understand if you have a preference but don’t discount one just by color. Neither have I found a great deal of differences between the sexes, as a companion, your puppy will be spayed or neutered at about six months old, and will never even know what sex he of she is. You should choose your puppy based on the reputation of the breeder, the puppy’s health, temperament and personality.
Let’s assume that you have done your home work and have decided that a Scottie puppy is for you. If you have never been owned by a Scottie, I would encourage you to talk with, and even visit people who share their home with one (or more) Scotties. Make absolutely sure that this is the breed for you because taking a Scottie into your home is a lifetime commitment and I am not deluded into believing that every home should have one. Scotties are special and need very special homes. However, I have discovered that after having a Scottie, most people will not be satisfied with another breed. Now after haven chose the breed, it is on to choosing a breeder.
A caring reputable breeder can be located in several different ways. Although there is the exception, you are not likely to find one in the local newspaper or in the classified section of the Internet. Many commercial breeders now use the Internet to sell their puppies. They can have slick websites, but in truth the breeding dogs live in deplorable conditions. Stay away from breeders that breed several different breeds, stick to the ones who specialize in only one or perhaps two breeds at the most. Go to the Scottish Terrier Club of America Web site and check out their list of breeders. Visit dog shows, and talk to people there. Check out the ads in the dog magazines, ask people who have Scotties to recommend their breeder, and don’t forget about Scottie Rescue.
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'Braveheart' © Lynn Paterson, used with permission.