If you and the breeder decide that you will be taking a puppy from a litter, the breeder will help decide which puppy should become a part of your family. Breeders know the personalities of their puppies and this is essential to taking home a puppy that will fit your life style and expectations. Beware of the breeder who wants to sell you a very young puppy or wants to sell you two puppies from the same litter. Reputable breeders will typically keep the puppies until they will have been examined by a board-certified cardiologist for inherited heart problems, given at least one series of vaccinations, and declared free of all parasites.
Good breeders are most likely to be members of the NCA. You are far less likely to obtain satisfaction in dealing with an Internet breeder, commercial outlet, or a pet store. Good breeders will never sell to pet shops or puppy mills. While these establishments frequently obtain stock that cannot be sold on a breeder’s reputation, they typically charge more for a mediocre or poor specimen than a good breeder will ask for one of his outstanding prospects. A reputable breeder will follow the development of his stock, while a dealer probably will have no interest after the completion of the sale. The Newfoundland Club of America prohibits its members from selling to pet shops.
A Newf puppy from an AKC registered litter will be eligible for individual registration with the American Kennel Club, the principal registry for purebred dogs in the U.S. When buying a puppy, you should be given either an AKC registration application with the litter number on it, or the AKC registration certificate with the individual dog’s registered name and number on it, properly signed. AKC has available two different registration certificates: Regular AKC registration (white certificate with purple border) and Limited Registration (white certificate with orange border). Regular AKC registration entitles the dog to compete in all AKC and NCA events, and the offspring of a dog with full registration is eligible for registration. On the other hand, dogs on Limited Registration may compete in all NCA and AKC events, except conformation, and their offspring cannot be registered. Regardless of an individual Newf ’s potential for breeding or showing, responsible breeders use Limited Registration to prevent the dog from being bred; however, the breeder can change the registration from Limited to Regular if circumstances warrant.
Insist that the breeder provide a written contract when a puppy is purchased. If for some reason the breeder or seller cannot provide the AKC registration application at the time of sale, a written promise of when it will be provided should be part of the contract. The breeder should also provide such pertinent data as whelping date, sire, dam, pedigree, health records, and recommended diet and feeding schedule.
The pedigree is a four or five-generation history of your dog’s ancestry (a family tree). A con-scientious breeder, who has spent time studying and working with the breed, should offer to explain the qualifications of the parents and why they were a proper mating. It is nice to have a Newfoundland with many champions in the first three generations, but it is even more important that the parents be of proven breeding quality. Occasionally good breeding quality dogs may not have been shown, but do produce quality puppies when properly mated.
AKC registration and/or pedigree is no guarantee of the quality of the puppy. Puppies can be evaluated as possessing show potential or as pet quality, but breeders differ in their approaches to evaluating puppies. A show prospect puppy is one that possesses the potential of meeting the breed Standard and exhibiting virtues of the breed with the absence of disqualifying faults. Such show prospects may or may not make good breeding stock. A breeding quality dog, generally a superior representative of the breed, is usually determined only after the dog has matured and has been evaluated for hereditary defects. Health records are available on open databases, such as those maintained by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the NCA.
Pet quality dogs are just as enjoyable as family companions as dogs shown in the conformation ring. Usually they should be spayed or neutered. If you plan to show in conformation, discuss this with your breeder. Spayed and neutered Newfs may compete in AKC performance events and in NCA water or draft tests.
Selecting Your Puppy Part 2