This time of year I get alot of people interested in a puppy for a christmas present.  Usually well intentioned, they just want to give that unforgettable gift to a loved one or child.

Christmas is not a good time to intorduce a puppy to your family.  Dangers lurk everywhere...strange people and dogs visiting your home, bringing diseases home to your not completely vaccinated puppy...light cords, mistletoe, tinsel, etc.  The puppy needs structure and routine, and oftentimes that is not available at Christmastime.  The damage mentally to your puppy, as well as backrwards steps in basic training, housebreaking,  are things you may never get back.

A puppy is not  gift.  It is a lifetime investment made with careful thought, not "shoved" upon someone unknowingly.  A puppy deserves a home where it is wanted, loved and treasured for its entire life, not just the first few weeks, or year.  ALOT of "gift" puppies do not end up in lifetime homes, much worse, they are turned over to the animal control, rescue groups, or re-sold at a later (not so cute anymore) date.  They often have training issues due to
the fact the owner did not get time to find a trainer to help with behavior issues.
Instead of a puppy, give:
*A gift certificate for a crate, toys, vet visits, or grooming
*A book on the breed they are interested in
*A "Playdate" set up so they can meet someone that has a dog of their breed of choice, to determine that the breed is right for them
* A reputable breeder's contact information to help them find a healthy puppy from breeders who do health testing and certifications, and will be there for support the life of the dog
* Numbers for rescue groups that specialize in that breed, and possibly be giving a great home to a dog in need
WE ALL KNOW NOT TO BUY FROM A PUPPYMILL...BUT WHAT ABOUT BACKYARD BREEDERS OR BROKERS...DO YOU KNOW HOW TO SPOT THEM???

A backyard breeder is someone who breeds their two "pets" to try to make money or to give their pets a chance to have puppies.  They will not have done health certifications, or testing, and if you look at the pedigree, there will not be champions in the parents or grandparents.  They will have lesser quality dogs that may not look like the breed, but ARE registered!  Registration does not have any influence on the QUALITY of a dog, it just states a dog is purebred.  Being purebred DOES NOT mean it should be bred.  (Health certifications, temperment and confirmation DO)  You will not have a health guarantee or someone who will stand behind their puppy.  They will not have the years of knowledge you get from showing, attending breed seminars, and talking with breeders to continue their knowledge.  

A BROKER is someone who buys from puppymills overseas (but of course they say they are from a home breeder)  A puppy from overseas is often something to RUN from.  They are shipped at a critical time for their emotional development, and are often emotional cripples.  They are often unhealthy, as a broker pays next to nothing for these puppies, and if they die in transit, it does  not concern them.  They make LOTS of money doing this, a few deaths dont concern them.  They are often sick with Parvo, worms, and usually have not been vaccinated.  It is the same as buying from a puppymill, do not fall for their trap.  They are usually not AKC registered, but there is usuall a promise that it can be.  I have seen many cases where it does not happen.  They do not care once they have sold those puppies who has them, just that they got their money.
You know you have found a good breeder when:
*You are INTERVIEWED like you are adopting a child.  This person CARES about where their puppies go!
*You get a health guarantee
* They perform health certifications (OFA, CERF, etc)
*They are members of the Bulldog Club of America
*They show their dogs, to determine their worthiness in their breeding program
*They KNOW they wont make money breeding, but do it for a love of the breed and to get their next show prospect
*Continue their knowledge by attenting specialties and nationals to see the "cream of the crop"
*You can see the parents (or mom at least...understand that breeding to top dogs often means out of state fathers or out of country)
*They rescue, and insist that if you cant have their dog for any reason it comes back to them.
*They LOVE THEIR DOGS!  :)
CHRISTMAS PUPPIES
Aurorabull Bulldogs
www.aurorabull.com
aurorabull@gci.net