Ready for a New Dog ?
This is mainly done from the viewpoint of those who will be buying a puppy of a specific breed.
It is a very valid alternative to rescue a dog, but for some they will want a pup and this blog is specific to them.
times when we want a new dog, we will be led by our eyes, to breeds we
like the look of and know a little bit about but not much.
on from my previous blogs, there are things we need to look into
healthwise before deciding which breed of dog we want.
even thinking about looking at puppies or rescues, it is essential to
find out as much as possible about the breed, things like:
* what they were originally bred for
* genetic health issues
* how much exercise they typically need
* how demanding a breed they are
* how big they usually get
* ease of training
* how much care they require i.e. coat care
meet a few people who own one and maybe even speak with a dog trainer
or visit a dog training club to find someone who has experience with
that breed who can give you good information to help you decide whether
that breed is going to be able to suit your lifestyle and family
It can be quite an eye-opener when you
first look deeper into the breed of your choice to find out the basic
health issues you need to be finding out about and aware of.
It also opens your eyes to the fact that the old saying of 'you get what you pay for' quality-wise is also true with dogs.
have bought dogs advertised in newspapers before I am ashamed to say, I
have also bought dogs without seeing sire or dam, and have lived to
regret it because I have found that these dogs donot have a sound
genetic background healthwise which becomes evident as they go through
life and can show in the form of health problems or behavioural
problems, adding pain, misery, stress and suffering to what should be a
wonderful, fulfilling and enjoyable partnership.
who I class as 'Good Breeders' are very knowledgeable and carefully
choose their matings with good reasons behind their choices. These
people rarely live in mansions or drive expensive cars, and their dogs
are not the most expensive but are a good price.
These people work
very hard to breed out health issues within their dogs and work towards
bettering the breed through their breeding lines and they will also
have paid out to have their dogs health checks done for the health
issues relating to their breed - this costs a lot but they know to breed
from a dog with health problems passes that on to the pups and
Because these people care so much about their
dogs, it is often harder to get on the list to have one of their dogs -
not surprising really, as they care as much for their dogs as you do for
your children - would you give them to just 'anybody' ?
my eyes, although it can be a minor annoyance, tells me volumes about a
breeder and is actually a great plus in favour of them and their dogs.
from the overpopulation problem, the biggest thing which makes me angry
about people breeding their own pets just because they want their dog
to 'be a mummy or daddy' or their children to experience puppies - the
fact that they often donot know their own dogs health background or the
health weakness's that run through their lines, and they know even less
about the dog they are planning to partner their dog with - so the
chance of the puppies, and new owners having a life filled with health
problems, heartache and high vets bills are pretty good - nobody
They also don't realise the chances of losing their own bitch in the process...
have 4 dogs living with me at present, the latter 2 being rescues, but
my breed is the German Shepherd [GSD], and I count myself extremely
lucky to have found a wonderful breeder in this country for these dogs -
she is not cheap, and it is a day-trip for us to visit her, but she
breeds for the betterment of her breeding line and because of this her
dogs have wonderful temperaments and enjoy all-round excellent health
and have good solid basic genetic health. They are also proven by being
used in various service roles by various organisations and authorities.
Of course, they can be made ill by owners making poor choices for them, but they have a good strong healthy foundation.
To give you an idea of just how much there can be to find out about a breed, here is a list specific for the GSD breed that should be considered when choosing your next dog - even this list though does not cover everything:
areas of a GSD's genetic health to consider when choosing your next dog
are Degenerative Myelopathy, Haemophilia A/Von Willebrand’s disease,
cancer, Bloat, Heart and Digestive issues, hip & elbow dysplasia
Myelopathy is the canine equivalent to Multiple Sclerosis in people, an
auto-immune disease where the immune system attacks the central nervous
system, with loss of feeling and use of hind limbs being affected first,
progressively moving to fore limbs, and brainstem. It is hoped that
some time soon there will be an early serodiagnostic test for the
condition. If, at the time of looking, no screening process is available
for this condition, but it should be known from previous offspring in
the same lines if a conscientious breeder is used.
and Von Willebrands are both blood clotting disorders which will
greatly affect the lifespan and overall health of a bounding dog. A cure
is possible for animals already with this disease, where a gene is
introduced into the animals’ cells, which makes clotting factor VIII;
but if at the time of looking, there is still no screening process
available, it should, again be clear from previous genealogy in the
lines whether this is an issue or not.
There is now screening available for Cancer using a simple blood test,
which is then sent to Pet-Screen who are pioneering the way forward in
this important area, and developing screens for more types all the time.
is an area which is tricky, as none can say definitely how it is
caused. Many believe it is due to diet, with there being a belief that
the cause could lie in a potassium deficiency, large single meals,
drinking large amounts after a large meal, vigorous exercise after a
Because so little is
known about this, I am not surprised to find very little about any
screening available - but I still want to know how high the occurances
of it are in my future pup’s lines, as there could be a genetic
predisposition passed down.
and Digestive issues are something which should be known about from the
parents being heart screened, and looking back through lines to show
whether any of them suffer with issues like Pancreatitus or Exocrine
It is possible to know from screening whether elbow and hip issues run
through breed lines, and feeding a natural diet also helps minimise
risks here as the essential nutrients are in a more bioavailable form
for my dogs.
the breed I have is very health compromised, [however, there are plenty
other breeds which are worse] and so there are actually many other
areas I will be enquiring into also, but these are probably the most
important, but many GSD owners have no idea many of these health issues
even exist until they are affected by them, so it really is essential to
keep your head in control and find out as much as you can to have as
good a chance as possible of a dog who has a good healthy background,
and then with natural diet and natural healthcare choices you can enjoy
many years together of good health and minimal health issues.