Are you and your family ready to choose a puppy for your home?
Picking the right puppy for your home and family is a big decision. This puppy may become a member of your family for the next 10-15 years.
Thankfully, the team from Infinity Pups is here to help you choose the right puppy from a litter that fits your family, your needs, and what you want in your next family member!
Feel free to read through the article, or click one of the questions below to jump directly to that section. And when you are done, don’t forget to browse our Puppy Breeds page to see which puppies we have available for adoption!
Table of Contents
How To Choose The Right Puppy Breed
If your family already had a puppy in your home, then the answer to this question might be easy to answer.
You probably want the same breed you had!
However, many families and people have a general idea of what they want in their new puppy, but they don’t have a specific dog breed chosen yet.
Don’t worry, that’s fine!
There are many ways you can learn how to choose a breed that works well for your family, your home, and your surroundings.
Following are a list of questions to think about to help you choose the right puppy breed. While it might be challenging to find a breed that fits all your answers perfectly, you should be able to find a breed that comes close!
What kind of personality do you want in your puppy?
Some people assume that every dog breed loves people and kids, but this is not necessarily true.
Some breeds are designed as herders, such as Great Pyrenees, and are more independent breeds that don't do as well with children or families. Their focus is on protecting and herding instead of retrieving and playing.
What size dog do you want?
Depending on your home or apartment size and available space, a dog's size is an important factor to consider.
Breeds range from the toy breeds, which stand only a couple of inches tall, to the large working dogs weighing over 100 pounds as adults.
If you are looking at a designer breed, such as a Goldendoodle, then you need to see what size Poodle fathered the litter. For example, if a Toy Poodle is the sire, then the litter will have smaller puppies compared to a litter using a Standard Poodle.
Do you want a guard dog?
For some parents, having a good watchdog is important for their family’s safety.
This does not mean they want a dog that attacks strangers; they simply want a dog to protect their children or themselves if they are under attack or threatened.
Do you want an active dog?
All dogs require some form of daily exercise, but some breeds are more active than others.
And don’t let smaller dogs fool you - some of the smaller dog breeds are the most active!
Are allergies and shedding a concern?
Whenever dogs are discussed, allergy concerns and shedding are common topics.
What causes dog allergies anyway?
Pet allergies are caused by dander, which is dead skin. It is important to note that all animals, and even humans, shed this dander.
The key to reducing dog allergies is regularly grooming your dog, especially during high shedding times. Some breeds also require regular baths to remain clean.
Choosing a puppy with shorter hair, or a breed that doesn’t shed as much, helps reduce the dander in your home, and therefore the allergen levels. However, if you have allergy concerns in your home, it is always good to consult with your doctor.
This is one of the reasons designer breeds, such as Labradoodles or Bernedoodles, are so popular. They take a popular breed with higher shedding tendencies and combine it with a Poodle, for example, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Poodle in the case of the Bernedoodle. The result is usually a crossbreed that sheds less and has fewer allergy concerns.
What Are The Dog Ownership Laws In Your State?
Before you purchase or adopt your new puppy and bring it home, it is critical to know what dog ownership laws are in place in your state regarding puppies.
Does my state require registration and vaccines?
Dog owners need to follow all the registration and vaccine requirements in their state. This protects other dogs and dog owners in the state.
Each state has different laws in regard to a dog’s health, vaccinations, and registration. Make sure you are familiar with your state’s dog laws before you bring your puppy home.
If you are unsure what your state requires, then contact your local vet or dog shelter, and they will provide resources and information to help you.
When can I bring my new puppy home?
This is a common question. After all, we want to start loving and training our new puppy as soon as possible, don’t we?
While the answer does vary some between states, most states require the puppy to be at least 8 weeks old before it is separated from its mother.
This age is important because it allows the puppy to be fully weaned from its mother. It also makes sure the puppy is old enough to be ready to adapt to new people and an unfamiliar environment.
Similar to small children, puppies develop better emotionally if they spend the first two months in a familiar environment with their mother and siblings.
Find A Reputable Breeder
Now that you know what breed of dog you want and the laws your state requires, it is time to find a reputable breeder or rescue shelter.
Here are some guidelines to help you find a reputable source to find your new puppy and avoid puppy scams.
We advise staying away from pet stores
Pet stores act as a third party or broker, and they rarely can provide information on the puppy’s parents or how the puppy was raised for the first 8 weeks.
While this is not always bad, we recommend finding a breeder or a rescue shelter that provides a better approach to fully understanding your puppy and its environment.
Meet your breeder in person or talk on the phone
If possible, meet your breeder in person to get a feel for their general character. Yes, they might put a false front, but it still gives you a feel for your puppy’s environment.
Many times it is not possible to meet your breeder in person, so arrange a phone call or video call to talk with them.
If you need discussion topics, ask them why they raise puppies, why they chose this breed, how their family is involved with the dogs, etc.
Ask about the puppy’s medical history
A reputable breeder takes the puppies to a vet for their first checkup before selling them. This checkup often includes a dewormer and sometimes a shot.
The paperwork for this first vet visit should be available for you to see. If you purchase your puppy, you should also be able to have a copy for your records and your local vet.
Be patient with timing
Many breeders allow you to pick a puppy from the litter before they are 8 weeks old if you make a down payment at the time. However, they are not allowed to let you take the puppy home if it’s not old enough.
Remember, the breeder needs to wait the right amount of time before he sends the puppy home with you! That ensures the puppy develops correctly and healthily.
Many times it is easy for the buyer to become impatient if they have a puppy picked out, and possibly a down payment as well. However, a reputable breeder won’t bend the rules and keeps your puppy until it is old enough to go home with you.
Ask for pedigree and certification papers
If the puppy is advertised as being a purebred or registered with a dog club, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC) or American Canine Association (ACA), then your puppy should come with pedigree or certification paperwork for this.
Please note that not all dogs are eligible for registration with these organizations.
For example, the AKC does not currently recognize designer breeds. Designer breeds are any crossbreed between a Poodle and another breed. Common designer breeds are Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Bernedoodles, etc.
You can, however, register a designer breed with these organizations:
- ACHC = American Canine Hybrid Club
- DBR = Designer Breed Registry
- DDKC = Designer Dogs Kennel Club
- DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
- IDCR = International Designer Canine Registry
Also, while the AKC doesn’t recognize designer breeds, you can request pedigree papers for the parents. For example, if the mother was a Labrador Retriever, and the father was a Standard Poodle, then your Labradoodle puppy could have a pedigree paper showing it is a first-generation Labradoodle.
Do A Health Check - Do You Have a Healthy Puppy?
One of the biggest concerns with getting a new puppy is knowing its health. Even if you see and interact with your puppy before you adopt it and bring it home, you still have limited knowledge of its health condition.
Should this stop you from picking a new puppy?
Thankfully, there are several things to do, both before and when you first meet your puppy, to determine its general health.
Ask the breeder for health papers
We mentioned this briefly in the previous section on finding a reputable breeder, but your puppy should have been checked by a vet and have a health certificate.
If your breeder is not able to provide this health information, then don’t choose your puppy from that breeder!
Do a simple health check of your puppy
When you first meet your new puppy, do a simple health check by doing the following things:
- Make sure your puppy is alert and aware of its surroundings
- Check for a little fat around the puppy’s rib cage; this indicates proper feeding.
- Look for scabs, bare skin, or other concerns on your puppy’s coat and skin.
- Watch your puppy run and walk around a little bit. You shouldn’t see any limping or pain.
- Make sure the eyes, ears, and nose look healthy and don’t have scabs or liquid discharge.
- Move your hand around or toss a toy. Your puppy should track this movement with its face and eyes.
- When your puppy is looking away, clap your hands or make a loud noise. Your new puppy should respond to this noise by turning around and looking at you.
Have your local vet check your new puppy
If you have any concerns about your new puppy, it is always best to have your local vet take a look.
This is especially beneficial if your puppy includes a health guarantee from the breeder. If something is physically wrong with your puppy, you have the documentation to prove it.
How To Pick A Puppy From A Litter
Not everyone can choose a puppy from a litter in today’s modern world. Many puppies are adopted online or through shelters, and this makes it difficult to see the puppy with its siblings.
However, if you can see the litter and pick a puppy from the litter, then here are some guidelines you can follow.
If you adopt your puppy online, then request pictures, a video, or other information from the breeder. Many breeders can also provide pictures or a video of the parents as well.
Be considerate of the breeder
Most breeders allow you to play with and interact with the puppies. This is a great way to learn the personality traits of the puppies, but please be considerate of the breeder.
Don’t do things to the puppy or “test them” in ways that could harm the puppy. The puppy is not yours yet, and building trust with the breeder is an important part of buying a puppy.
Look at the spectrum of puppy personalities
Depending on the size of the litter or available puppies, you see a broad range of personalities in every litter.
Each litter has a range of puppies that follows the complete spectrum from aggressive to shy, and choosing the right personality is sometimes difficult!
Most families want a puppy somewhere in the middle - a puppy that is friendly but not overly aggressive. Remember, to consider the goals and personality traits of your ideal puppy from earlier.
What does this look like?
For example, if your family wants a high-energy dog who loves to play outside with your children, then you probably want to choose a puppy on the more aggressive and active side of the spectrum.
A note on shy puppies: A shy puppy does not mean it will grow up to be a weak or fearful dog. While shy puppies might take a few days to adjust to a new home and family, they quickly become friendly and a wonderful addition to your family as they learn to know you. They just require some additional love and care at first!
Look at color markings
While some breeds have distinct color markings or are a solid color, other breeds have a variety of shades, markings, and patterns on their coat.
Many people are more concerned about personality over color, but if you are looking for something specific on your puppy’s coat, now is the time to make the decision.
Meet the puppy’s parents if possible
This one may be difficult, but some breeders have access to the mother and father of the litter. If this is the case, then take the opportunity to interact with the parents briefly. This can tell you something about how your puppy may possibly turn out.
Again, please be considerate of the dogs and the breeder during this interaction.
While it is a lot of fun to play with all the puppies from the litter, when you have it narrowed down to a couple of puppies, ask the breeder if you may interact with those puppies 1-on-1.
This interaction allows you to see the personality and some of the other traits better. It also helps you fall in love faster with your new family member!
Purchasing a puppy for your family is an exciting event! A puppy brings laughter, joy, energy, and love into your home.
Following the guidelines in this article will help you choose the right puppy for your home and family. You will also find a reputable breeder who is trustworthy and able to deliver a healthy puppy to you.
We carefully screen our breeders to ensure no puppy mills are used, and we allow you to talk with our breeders as well!
Your new family member is waiting; adopt your puppy today!