Finding the right puppy

Buying a puppy is a pretty momentous decision. It’s really easy to see an advert and fall in love on the spot, without doing all the sensible things like seeing the mum and meeting the breeder. But so you don’t end up resenting a perfectly innocent dog through your own wrong decisions, let me give a little insight from our experience.

You need to research a breed that will slot perfectly in your family life, or be prepared to adjust your life around this dog. In hindsight, it’s probably a bit of both of these. I’d say a good proportion of the decision on buying our first home went to thinking about how suitable it would be for a dog. 100 acres of woodland on our doorstep was the deal clincher as I’m not one for pounding the pavements with my dog.

Buy books, join forums and get talking to people who own the breed you fancy. People will be honest about the personalities and traits of their dogs, and I’ve never found anyone unwilling to talk about their dog. Can you shut a new mum up about her baby? No, and both rightly so.

For all its bad publicity recently, the Kennel Club is still the Holy Grail when it comes to finding pedigree dog breeders. Personally, once I had got my other half to agree to a Dobermann (list all the good points in every conversation possible and subject them to endless YouTube videos of Dobermanns playing with other dogs and sitting beside babies without eating them). I scoured the Internet, typing every variation of ‘Dobermann Puppies, UK, for sale’ into Google. I came across our chosen breeder on and promptly gave her a call armed with an A4 sheet of questions to ask about health tests, history and requesting other owners contact details for their recommendations.

You might be thinking this is waaay over the top. Plenty of people take stray dogs home without going through this palaver don’t they? That’s very true, but whilst I had the luxury of time to research and learn, I gladly took it to put my mind at rest.

Now we get to the good bit. After travelling three hours to Cumbria (you should be willing to travel for a good breeder), we were faced with the impossible task of choosing our dog from ten puppies. Half were female so it did get a bit easier knowing we wanted a male, but we sat gazing at them playing with them and picking them up until our feet went numb on the floor, trying to gauge their personalities.

Each one had a different coloured collar on and we eventually decided on Blue! But at six weeks old, we had to wait until he was at least 8 weeks to bring him home. He spent the three-hour journey back on my lap in the front seat as he wouldn’t sit on the floor, and promptly threw his breakfast up all over the blanket I had stylishly draped myself in for such occurrences. I was smitten.

Lupo was bred by the lovely Sheila Graham, of Sharhyste Dobermanns, who I highly recommend for finding a healthy, happy family dog.

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