I’ve Selected a Breed. Now What?
For the past few years, roughly 25% percent of dogs in shelters have been purebreds. While the numbers are lower for cats, it is not at all unusual to find a Siamese, Himalayan, Persian or Manx in a shelter. Consider a visit to Miami Dade Animal Services or the Humane Society of Greater Miami, or visit their websites (http://www.miamidade.gov/animals/adopt-a-pet.asp or http://www.humanesocietymiami.org/) to view pictures of the pets that are available for adoption. There are also many breed specific rescues that operate as a series of foster homes. A simple Google search such as “German Shepherd rescue, Miami” is a great place to start. Our office has a list of breed specific rescues within Florida as well.
If you would rather purchase a puppy from a breeder, be sure to choose one that is reputable. Such breeders are registered with the AKC and can provide references upon request. They should be licensed and compliant with local ordinances (http://www.miamidade.gov/animals/pet-laws.asp), and willing to consent to a home visit. In Miami Dade County, it is the law for all breeders to be licensed and for all dogs and cats sold to have a microchip and a health certificate signed by a veterinarian. It is strongly recommended that you find a breeder who provides health testing for their animals. These are genetic screenings that test for breed specific problems on animals that are used for breeding. While the cost of these tests is ultimately passed on to the purchaser, it is well worth the money, as well as the peace of mind to know that your pet comes from a line devoid of common genetic problems. In other words, more money spent at the time of purchase equals less money spent at the vet!
The Orthopedic Foundation of Animals (OFA) has all of the information on what congential diseases the breed you are interested in should be tested for. You can visit their website and look up that information at http://www.offa.org/breedtests.html?btnSearch=Tests+by+Breed.
Tiffany has an Australian Shepherd she purchased from a breeder 8 years ago. She has never had to worry about Soleil getting hip dysplasia as Soleil’s parents were OFA tested for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and CERF eye examined to ensure her parents do not have any hereditary eye diseases. Soleil has been in perfect health her whole life with the exception of an occasional skin allergy.
|Soleil enjoying some pool fun.|
Puppies purchased from pet stores are more likely to suffer from both behavioral and medical problems. Our little Grendel is a three-time rescue who originally came from a low cost, high volume puppy store. While we love her dearly, her medical record is a litany of congenital problems that never should have been passed along to another generation. Such stores are often breeding grounds for highly contagious, often deadly diseases such as parvo, distemper and canine influenza. If you need assistance finding a reputable breeder please call our office or contact the American Kennel Club before visiting a puppy or pet store.