The Greater London Old English Sheepdog Club

Choosing and bringing home the right dog for you

There are many things to consider as a dog owner.  Your responsibilities to your dog and the community are very important to ensure that dogs and their owners are welcomed into society.  It is important to know that each Breed has its own characteristics, its own function.  If you match these with your personality and lifestyle, it is much more likely that you will have a happy and fulfilling relationship with your dog.

Before purchasing a dog, below are some points for consideration:-

- Can I afford to buy the dog I want?
- Can I make a lifelong commitment to a dog?
- Can I afford to feed a dog?
- Can I afford veterinary fees?
- Can I afford to insure my dog?
- Is my home and garden big enough?

You can use the online Find A Breed tool at the Kennel Club -
www.thekennelclub.org.uk/findabreed which uses a few simple questions to find the perfect breed suited to your circumstances.

Considerations when buying a puppy

- A pedigree dog is more predictable as to its future size and temperament than a crossbreed.
- Confirm that the puppy is registered with the Kennel Club and ask the breeder for the Kennel Club Registration Certificate or, if it is not available, ensure that the breeder undertakes, in writing, to forward it to you as soon as it is received from the Kennel Club.
- The Registration Certificate will enable you to transfer your puppy into your name from that of the breeder and receive all the benefits associated with Kennel Club Registration, including four weeks free puppy insurance which breeders can set up on behalf of new owners.
- See the Mother (dam), as she will provide a good indication as to how the puppy will develop.
- The Kennel Club strongly recommends that prospective puppy owners obtain information on breed characteristics, health and welfare needs prior to purchase.
- Use the Kennel Club's online find a puppy service, where you can search by breed and region.  Kennel Club Assured Breeder litters are indicated at the top of the search results - http://www.findapuppy.org.uk/

Reasons to be proud of your pedigree

The Kennel Club keeps a comprehensive family tree for around 40% of purebred dogs in this country.  This family tree helps to ensure that puppy buyers get a true pure bred dog, with the characteristics and care requirements they were led to expect for a dog of that breed, which includes their exercise and grooming needs, temperament and health conditions to test for.

The Kennel Club holds lots of information about the health test results and inbreeding coefficients of dogs on its register.  This is vital information used by scientists at the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at The Animal Health Trust when developing tests to help fight dog diseases.  The Kennel Club also invests any profit it makes from registrations into areas such as education and The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which supports research into dog diseases and gives money to do re-homing charities.

Some disreputable breeders may fake paperwork, such as health test certificates and pedigree certificates.  Puppy buyers can check with the Kennel Club if they have any doubt about the authenticity of a pedigree and can see relevant health test results for a puppy's parents.

Finding a breeder and what to expect

The Kennel Club provides up-to-date contact information on breeders across the UK who have puppies available and also on this site under "Puppies".  Seek out responsible breeders, the Kennel Club operates an Assured Breeder Scheme and full details can be found on the Kennel Club web site - www.thekennelclub.org.uk/assuredbreederscheme

Always go to a specialist breeder, not a dealer or pet shop.  A dealer usually advertises several breeds of dog and these dogs may have been obtained from various sources so their health and condition may be difficult to determine.

The breeder should give you the opportunity to see the puppy with its mother and the rest of the litter.  This is very important because it will not only give you an opportunity to see the temperament of the mother, but may also give you an idea of the future characteristics and size of the puppy.  Have the opportunity to see all the puppies and be able to handle them, rather than just seeing the puppy being offered to you.

It is the responsibility of the breeder to register the litter with the Kennel Club and each puppy in the litter will initially be registered in the breeders name.  The breeder chooses the official Kennel Club name for all the puppies.  Litter registration with the Kennel Club usually takes about 14 days, after which time, the breeder will receive the Registration Certificates for all the puppies in the litter.  If there is a query with the application the Kennel Club will contact the breeder to resolve and further action may be required which may delay the registration process.

If the dog is advertised as Kennel Club registered, you should ensure you receive the Kennel Club Registration Certificate.  You will not be the current owner of your puppy until you complete the transfer of registered ownership.  Please be aware that you will require the signature of the breeder to complete this.  Once you have returned the completed form, you will receive an official personalised Owner Registration Certificate.

You should ask the breeder for and information on the following:-

a)  A Contract Of Sale.  Amongst other things, this should detail both the breeders and your responsibility to the puppy.  The Contract should also list any official Kennel Club endorsements (restrictions) that the breeder has placed on the puppy's records and in particular, on what basis the breeder may be prepared to remove the endorsement.  Endorsements the breeder may place on your puppy may include not for breeding and not for export.  Before or at the time of sale, you must give a signed acknowledgement of any endorsements.

b)  Written advice on training, feeding, exercise, worming and immunisation.

c)  A pedigree detailing your dog's ancestry.

d)  Copies of any additional health certificates for the puppy's parents.

e)  Health information, especially inherited diseases.  (See "Health & The OES").

What next?

If you have purchased a Kennel Club registered puppy, the Kennel Club will send you the Puppy Handbook.  This will give you advice and information to help you get off to the best possible start with your puppy.

- The Control Of Dogs Order 1992 advises that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it or an identification tag.  Your telephone number is optional.
- Train your dog to use the kerb correctly.
- Always clean up after your dog.
- Keep your dog under control at all times.
- Keep your dog close to you when walking on a lead.
- Feed your dog a balanced, nutritious diet with adequate food and water.
- Worm your dog routinely.
- Register your dog with your local vet, attend annual health checks and ensure your dog is adequately immunised/vaccinated.
- Obtain pet insurance for unexpected veterinary bills.
- It is recommended that your dog is microchipped and registered with Petlog.
- Attend dog training classes.  The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme can provide you with a list of classes in your area.
- Groom your dog regularly - See "Grooming - Helpful Hints".
- When booking holidays, make suitable arrangements for your dog.  Do not leave it too late and ensure all vaccination certificates are up-to-date before booking your dog into kennels.
- Consider that adult dogs of either sex may be neutered to prevent unwanted puppies.
- When travelling with your dog, always ensure your dog has plenty of ventilation and shade in a car and that fresh drinking water is always available.  Never leave your dog unttended in a car for long periods of time and NEVER IN HOT WEATHER.
- Make sure all children in the house understand how to be safe around dogs.