Dogs – where and how to buy?

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  • Dogs – where and how to buy?
  • tonyd
    Member

    We moved recently and now we have the space we’d like to get a dog. I’ve been looking at various places online and can’t believe how much they cost!

    Anyway, we’re pretty much settled on a labrador/retriever so I started looking at the Kennel Club website as well as places like Pre Loved. It seems that a pedigree from a registered breeder, with clean health checks etc is around the £700 mark for a puppy. Seems very expensive to me, are you allowed to haggle?

    As an aside our second choice breed is a spaniel (cocker/springer) and I saw some lovely looking lab/cocker crosses which are a bit cheaper.

    I don’t really want to spend hundreds of pounds if I can avoid it, however we’d prefer a puppy over a rescue dog (kids first real pet), obviously Kennel Club registered breeders are going to be more expensive, but am I right in assuming that there is some worthwhile peace of mind in that extra expense? I want to make sure we’re not encouraging irresponsible breeding and poorly kept pets etc so if it costs a little more that’s OK.

    Is there somewhere I’m missing? How do I find a nice pup that doesn’t cost more than my bike?!

    Sorry for the slightly rambling post, just looking for a little help.

    core
    Member

    Degs – pikeys, cash.

    Seriously though, do you need a pedigree dog? Are you going to work it?

    Working, pedigree labs can be had for £500 ish, KC registered and all.

    Decide what you will expect of the dog, and what you can give it, then decide how much to spend.

    Shit analogy, but there’s no point having a ferrari to drive round and round the car park.

    Also, some pedigree breeding leads to inbreeding and genetic problems, so be careful of that, best bet I think is to find someone who is having a litter from a family pet, not a commercial breeder.

    winston_dog
    Member

    Rescue.

    To be honest dogs are a bit like cars and bikes. If you are worried about the purchase price then you probably can’t afford to maintain it properly. 🙂

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    I’ll bite and awaits flaming. 🙂

    Most breeds have inherent physical conditions. So, in your thinking of a lab/retriever, then that will involve hips. Responsible breeders have them ‘hip-scored’ and this is important, although no guarantee.

    You have children therefore mustn’t take the risk of an ‘unknown’ dog so whilst dog homes are laudable, it’s a bit of a risk.

    If you’re baulking at the cost of a pup then have you any idea of how much a dog will cost with vet bills, worming, insurance if taken?

    Edited to add that I spent a considerable amount of time phoning breeders and visiting them. It’s a good idea to see pup with mum as that will give a clue as to personality/behaviour. You need to research.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Given the huge number in rescue centres, I’d have a look there first. They’ve been inundated with people who can no longer afford to keep pets and now have waiting lists of people trying to get rid of their pets.

    Junkyard
    Member

    should be loads going cheap after the Xmas novelty has worn off 😉

    As above decide what you want and what you will pay

    I tend to agree that pure breeds are inbreds and it is like buying a royal – you have seen how dysfunctional they are

    I would also get a rescue dog personally though I once got turned down as i had no garden I could fence them in – apparently the farm and land did not count

    cbmotorsport
    Member

    +1 for rescue.

    There are thousands and thousands of dogs looking for a good home.

    Don’t be put off by the word ‘rescue’ either, it doesn’t usually mean it’ll be a beaten, abused basket case, just that it’s owner couldn’t cope/died/changed plans/emmigrated etc.

    Edit: Also don’t underestimate the amount of exercise/stimulation a working breed will require. I have a friend who works outdoors all day and takes his springer everywhere, she’s still desperate for a walk in the evenings after a full day of off the lead running about.
    If you don’t stimulate them enough they can prove problematic.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Once again people do not understand the risks of a rescue dog where children are involved!

    tonyd
    Member

    core – I know what you mean about the do we need pedigree question, and the answer is no as it won’t be worked. I’m just not sure of where else to go at this stage. I’ve been reading up on the inbreeding with pedigree and am fairly aware of that, I just worry about ‘amateur breeders’ as they might not have the same level of confidence in the animals’ wellbeing. At least registered breeders appear to do checks etc on the pups.

    Winston – we can afford to maintain it otherwise we wouldn’t even be considering it, I’m just a bit tight!

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    As a tip, many breeders will not haggle and IME will not sell to anyone who tries to either. Be prepared to be “interviewed” by the good ones. It can be an interesting experience. Even the rescue organisations, the good ones at least, will vet you first.

    Puppies are not cheap so the quoted price doesn’t seem out if line. Check hips etc and the usual lab issues. Breeder should be up front with that. If not that is an sign which would mean “walk away” to me.

    Lab rescue services are very good and lots of wonderful dogs with some v sad stories. My ILs have just taken their latest rescue lab and she must be in dog heaven now!! C_G may have a point, but IME may also be overplaying the risks. Those risks never go away wherever the dog comes from and however well trained. Awareness of dogs and children and the risks involved comes with the territory. (Sorry CG, that is not meant to be a dig in any way, but I have watched my ILs run rescue centres and later take rescue dogs that were no different from their own bred labs)

    Good luck with the search. Have you considered retrievers as well?

    Rob_S
    Member

    I’m not sure of your location but you could try a place like this http://www.willowdogrescue.co.uk/3.html
    They are based in South Yorkshire (I’m sure there are similar all around the country) and they will work with you to ensure the dog is right for you and your family and that you and your family are right for the dog.

    There are dogs of varying age so if you want a pup then there could be one for you (I expect that there will be more arriving in rescues over the next few weeks).

    winston_dog
    Member

    My dogs were “pedigree” and if I knew I what I know now I wouldn’t go near a Kennel Club breeder.

    Personally, the whole organisation is up it’s own arse and seems to have forgotten what dogs are really for i.e Companionship and/or working. The overbreeding is causing major problems for some breeds – King Charles, Bulldogs, Westies, German Shepard to name just a few.

    There obviously are some responsible breeders out there, but there are plenty of very misguided ones as well.

    I will await my flaming from dog breeders and showers. 🙂

    tonyd
    Member

    We’ve considered a rescue dog but with young kids we’re just not that confident. I totally understand that they’re not all beaten etc, we had one when I was younger and my sister has had nothing but rescue dogs for the last 20 years, I just don’t want to risk my children and would like them to know the joy a puppy can bring, along with the responsibilities etc.

    cbmotorsport
    Member

    cinnamon_girl – Member
    Once again people do not understand the risks of a rescue dog where children are involved!

    FTFY.

    A rescue chosen carefully will present no more risk than one you buy as a pup. A responsible rescue centre will have vetted the dog and the environment it came from, and will know its suitability for living with children.

    retrogirl
    Member

    I will second a rescue dog. I thought long and hard about getting a dog and settled on a greyhound. She is the most gentle dog and the woman who ran the kennels worked hard to find us the best match as we wanted a dog good with kids, cats etc.
    What you need to consider is do you have the time for all the things a puppy comes with? My dog was easy to train and is so well behaved. Puppies you will have sleepness nights, toilet training and puppy proofing the house.
    As with the risks for children there are no guarantees with either a puppy or a rescue dog. The child needs to be educated to treat the dog with respect as if a child doesn’t do that then even the most mild mannered dog could turn if its been annoyed

    GaryLake
    Member

    If you are worried about the purchase price then you probably can’t afford to maintain it properly.

    This is more the concern for me, if you’re worried about paying £200 over the top for the pup, I think it’s going to be the least of your worries over the lifetime of the dog…

    Premier Icon Del
    Subscriber

    cbm +1 IMHO. rescue centres do also get litters of pups from time to time too. also i wouldn’t ( and didn’t ) go pedigree. cross breeds tend to be more robust.

    Junkyard
    Member

    Once again people do not understand the risks of a rescue dog where children are involved!

    Dont worry I will keep an eye on my kids

    Do you really think folk with kids and the folk in the centre wont have any ideas about these risks?
    A new dog DOES NOT negate or remove these risks, its the same risks in a different package.

    Puppies are great but the greater life lesson here is to learn to do good thing IMHO.

    tonyd
    Member

    This is more the concern for me, if you’re worried about paying £200 over the top for the pup, I think it’s going to be the least of your worries over the lifetime of the dog…

    I’m worried about being bent over, that’s all.

    flowerpower
    Member

    Rescue.

    I have a pure bred Kelpie which I got as a pup and a rescue Kelpie x which came from the SSPCA at 9 months.

    The rescue dog is by far the gentler and the one that I would trust the most with kids. Having a dog from a pup is no guarantee that it will have a gentle nature.

    tonyd
    Member

    Another reason we ruled out rescue – the rescue centre websites I’ve looked at state that they won’t home young dogs or pups with families who have children under 5 years old. Mine are 3 and 4 and we don’t want an older dog at this time.

    There’s a rescue centre down the road from us that states this, maybe I’ll call in a and talk with them. My kids are very good with animals and understand they’re not toys.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @tonyd – this is what we did for our family dog, we’d had dogs when we where kids ourselves but it was our first dog as family.

    We went to a “discover dogs” session organised by the kennel club (it happened to be at Crufts on the Working Dogs day as that is what we where interested in, the discover dogs has many breeds but the breeders for the working dogs would be there showing their dogs). Here you can see lots of different breeds, get useful information and speak to their owners.

    We bought a Labrador bitch from a breeder we met at the show with full history and checks on the parents and we got to see the father who was a magnificent dog with a great temprement. We visited that and other breeders at their homes first, it’s as much about the breeder checking you out as it is the other way. She’s been our family dog and it has been a wonderful experience.

    IMO if you want a specific breed get a pedigree dog from a reputable breeder, don’t rush into it to “get one now”, take you’re time as you’ll be spending a lifetime (the dogs) together.

    C_G may have a point, but IME may also be overplaying the risks.

    +1

    And +1 for a rescue dog, if you’re being tightfisted then it’s a no brainer.

    Puppy:
    £700
    + vacinations
    + the snip
    + new carpets once they all smell of pee and poop

    Rescue dogs will have had all that, and hopefully be house trained. And the donation is about £60.

    And the warm fuzzy feeling inside from knowing it would probably end up being put down if you hadn’t addopted it.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Another reason we ruled out rescue – the rescue centre websites I’ve looked at state that they won’t home young dogs or pups with families who have children under 5 years old.

    Possibly because they know this is scenario has a high return rate when the new owners find out that the new puppy is not just a toy and requires a lot of work…

    cbmotorsport
    Member

    This is George. He was a rescue. His previous owner was an autistic lady who was convinced that she wanted a dog, but couldn’t cope with the reality of owning one. He is brilliant. Obedient, gentle, cheeky, a little bit naughty, a typical terrier and immense fun. We love him…a lot.

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
    Subscriber

    Consider a lab cross? We have a Lab/Springer cross and couldn’t be happier. Think she was £150.

    Hold on, is this a dog topic with no dog photos. What’s wrong with you people!

    Bramble cooking what little brains she has;

    [/url]
    Untitled by sandwicheater, on Flickr[/img]

    EDIT: Sorry, not you CBM

    Premier Icon chrisdw
    Subscriber

    From experience. Never had any luck with rescue dogs. They have all had issues. Mostly in the head.
    Had about 7 dogs. 2 were from puppy, one of which we still have, the other died a couple of months back, age 13.

    All of the rescues ended up being rehomed. One bit the postman, one was very aggressive towards our dog. Talking massive bite holes right into her leg muscle. Others destroyed the house when we left. And another was impossible to toilet train. Tried for months. she came from a farm where she lived outside and we couldnt drill it into her that inside wasnt a toilet.

    Both our puppies came from family’s pets that had had litters. Cost about 50 each. The first one we don’t even know what breeds she was. Bit of a Heinz 57. The one we still have is a sheltie border collie cross. She is lovely. But getting on a bit now.

    Tl;dr get a puppy.

    Premier Icon chrisdw
    Subscriber

    Here she is at about 4 y/o

    tonyd
    Member

    Thanks jambalaya, very helpful. We are starting a fair bit of research and don’t intend to rush in. I also understand the need for us to be vetted as much as we need to vet where ever we get the dog from.

    Possibly because they know this is scenario has a high return rate when the new owners find out that the new puppy is not just a toy and requires a lot of work…

    This may be so but they’re ruling out a lot of potentially good homes by making this kind of blanket statement. Until this thread we’d ruled out a rescue centre because of it.

    if you’re being tightfisted then it’s a no brainer.

    I understand the sentiment that my perhaps flippant remarks bring out but again, I don’t mind the cost I just prefer to look at all possible alternatives. If I can save a few hundred pounds then I will!

    We’ve put off getting a dog for some years now as we wanted to wait until we can provide the right environment for one, now we can and we are fully aware of the ongoing costs, I was just surprised at the initial cost of the puppy itself.

    Actually the most disappointing thing so far for me was looking through all of the ads on sites like preloved, people claiming to be looking for a good home for their 6 month, 1 year old etc puppy as their circumstances have changed, yet still asking hundreds of pounds for it. Surely if you want a good home for your dog, rather than cold hard cash you’d offer it for free or a smaller amount and rigorously vet those that wanted it?

    cbmotorsport
    Member

    Actually the most disappointing thing so far for me was looking through all of the ads on sites like preloved, people claiming to be looking for a good home for their 6 month, 1 year old etc puppy as their circumstances have changed, yet still asking hundreds of pounds for it. Surely if you want a good home for your dog, rather than cold hard cash you’d offer it for free or a smaller amount and rigorously vet those that wanted it?

    This stops people getting a dog on a whim though. Means you’re serious if you’re prepared to pay.

    tonyd
    Member

    Consider a lab cross? We have a Lab/Springer cross and couldn’t be happier.

    Yes we would, and in fact we’re probably going to drive to see a litter of lab/springer crosses at the weekend. Seems to me that both breeds have just the temperament that we’re looking for, and they are our top 2 individual breeds.

    My original post was partly driven by a concern about buying from random ‘amateur breeders’ and whatever pitfalls might come with that.

    Edit: I meant cocker, not springer, but they’re close enough to be the same IMO (love springers too)

    tonyd
    Member

    This stops people getting a dog on a whim though. Means you’re serious if you’re prepared to pay.

    Agreed in part, however there are hundreds of these ads in just my area, I can’t believe that all of these people have had drastic changes in circumstances so soon after getting a dog. Seems more to me like they’ve realised how much they really cost and want rid, but also want to get their money back.

    As so many here have already said, the initial outlay is just the beginning. It’s easy enough to find £100-500 for a pup, but then you have to feed it.

    Anyway, don’t want to derail my own thread any further!

    uponthedowns
    Member

    You may be buying the dog for your kids but be aware it will be your dog once they have lost interest in it and you will end up feeding it, walking it and training it.

    If you want a dog for companionship then I’d support the rescue option- puppies can be had from rescue centres especially this time of year. We’ve had two rescue dogs with no problems with our kids (which were admittedly a bit older than yours).

    £700 for a pedigree puppy is the going rate which as other posters have said pales into insignificance compared to food, insurance, and innoculation bills.

    flowerpower
    Member

    Just one point (if you did go rescue…) I didn’t choose the dog, I didn’t even go and see what was available. I emailed the centre and told them what I was looking for, the ages of the children at the house, details of the existing dog, the fact I had a cat, pictures of the garden, the activities I wanted to do etc. They called me within a couple of weeks to say they had a good match. It was only then that I went to see her 🙂

    tonyd
    Member

    The dog is mainly for me 🙂 My eldest would prefer a kitten and the youngest wants a blue rabbit (he has no idea there is such a breed, he just likes the colour blue). At 3 and 4 I have no expectations of them feeding, walking, training it! They just need to love it and grow with it.

    donks
    Member

    You may be buying the dog for your kids but be aware it will be your dog once they have lost interest in it and you will end up feeding it, walking it and training it.

    I’ll second this. Our kids have talked us into getting various different animals and they have zero interest in them now, and I who didnt want them get grief from the wife when they need cleaning out or feeding and as for getting them to walk the dog when it was alive….no chance….especially when we handed my lad the poo bags….he just laughed and did one out the door.

    If you are looking for a cheap maintenance free hound then dont get a Westie…we spent thousands on ours over 16 years but next to nothing on the mongrel who was far less maintenance.

    mudshark
    Member

    My parents have had pedigree retrievers and now have one from a rescue centre which wasn’t a pup. It’s great fun and fine with children though pretty boisterous. In the past we had a rescue pup that we think was partially border collie, had no problems at all with that. All the dogs have needed lots of exercise which suits my parents. They’ve had too lots of puppies which they sold, a good 10 years ago but think they went for around £400 each.

    Rescue centres want their dogs to go to suitable homes so I’d have no concerns getting a dog from one.

    wysiwyg
    Member

    Don’t forget there’s a big difference between a horrible show lab and a nice working one.

    Contact the various breed specific rescues?

    And. £700 is cheap. My ma charges a grand a puppy and in Europe the same breed is 1200.

    Get a sprocker? They can’t be kc registered but still aren’t cheap.

    tonyd
    Member

    Don’t forget there’s a big difference between a horrible show lab and a nice working one

    Yes I was thinking more field lab from a working background. I prefer the more sleek look than the stockier show lab. We’re a pretty active family so it would get plenty of exercise.

    Contact the various breed specific rescues?

    Didn’t realise there was such a thing, thanks, will Google.

    richc
    Member

    I have two rescues, one Chesapeake/Spinone and one Lab/Setter, both cost me a £200 donation to the shelter, and required a fair bit of vetting.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to get another rescue dog, however I would bear in mind the following:

    1. If they have any tail injuries, bear in mind these take a long (4-6 months) to fix and a lot of money ( ~ £800 -> £1500 )
    2. Working breeds sound great, but if you don’t have a lot of time they are a pain in the arse (min 2 1/2 hours of walking/play a day when they are young) as when they get bored they get destructive, and you need to combine exercise with mental games, or else you just end up with a super fit destructive dog; and forget about getting home from work and flopping.
    3. A huge amount of a dog personality is determined in its first 3 months of life, and some of this cannot be changed. So if the original owner didn’t bother with training or socialization or did it wrong you will have issues you cannot fix easily if at all. So with rescue dogs, you will end up with some odd traits that are hard to fix.
    4. Get it insured as it will have stomach issues.
    5. People forget how much work a young dog is…… and how much training it takes to get them under control. If you have young kids, this isn’t going to be easy and they are going to get nipped/mouthed by a young dog

    Personally I wouldn’t get a working dog of any type unless I was going to work it (the clues in the name), as they have been bred for a task, and just running/walking/cycling with it isn’t going to wear it out.

    As far as buying a *cheap* dog, be sure not to get a puppy farm dog, as whilst they are cheaper you will have health issues pretty quickly which will cost you way more than you have saved, also you can end up with a dog with life long social issues due to the breeder not bothering to socialize the dog with people during the critical phases.

    Also I would read up a bit on dog training and behavior as it gives you a clue on what to do and not to do, as believe it not its not that straightforward as they don’t think like us.

    Following books are good:

    Read in defense of dogs first, as then you know which bits of the second book are wrong and can be ignored; however it does help with training as it gives you some nice tips.

    Finally, depending on your experience with dogs, and how much time you want to put in (I was off work for 6 months when I got my first, so was training him everyday for 4 to 5 hours each day) I would by default get a black lab, as they are born half trained, so unless you really **** it up its very hard to end up with a bad dog.

    Good luck.

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