Puppy buying do's and don'ts
Do your research Into the breed before considering ownership
Whilst a pedigree dog can be a magnificent looking animal they are not suitable for everybody, Vizslas are a very high energy level and a very high intelligence level they are originally bred as a hunting dog , Westies were a working terrier and as such can be alert and game those characteristics are hardwired in their genes even today whilst you don’t have to hunt with your dog you do have to provide mental stimulation to ensure they do not become bored and destructive.
While both the Vizsla and the Westie affectionate loving breeds their exuberant tendencies can cause issues with small children.
Allow yourself plenty of time breeders have waiting lists of up to 18 months
Ensure your puppy is bred from Kennel club registered parents and that the puppy itself will be registered with the Kennel Club.
KC registration is important even if your looking for just a pet there are few reasons a breeder may not register puppies with the Kennel club none of which are positive-
One or both the parents are not purebred
The breeder of the parents placed a Kennel Club breeding endorsement and they deem the dog not to be fit for breeding in health, construction or temperament or they do not have faith in the owners breeding ethics or capability.
The mother is too young or old
The mother has had more than four litters previously
The pairing is between close relatives such as mother/son, father/daughter or siblings.
Check Inbreeding COI of the puppy
A breeder should be able to tell you the COI of any planned litter, COI means Coefficient of Inbreeding this is how the level of inbreeding is determined.
In the Hungarian Vizsla a breed which is known to be affected on occasions by Autoimmune problems it is preferable for breeders to breed around the breed average which at the time of publishing (08/05/22) was 4%.
High levels of inbreeding are never useful in any species so try to stick close to the breed average for the Westie also which is 5.9%
Inbreeding should never exceed 12.5% in either breed and close relative mating's shouldn't be performed.
You can check inbreeding of a pairing on The Kennel Clubs website
Check the parents or of an appropriate age and have not been overbred
A female dog should be at least eighteen months of age (westie) or two years (Vizsla) before she whelps her first litter of puppies , she should breed no more than four litters in her lifetime and she should always have 12 months clear to recover between litters this is the recommendation of the UK kennel club and a requirement for a higher standards license holder..
A male dog does not have the stress put on his body during the reproductive process he should however be old enough to have been fully health tested for a Vizsla hip/elbow testing cannot be done until he is 12 months of age he would need to be over that.
There is no upper age limit for a male dog
Check health test results of the parents.
Westies should have at least one parent clear of CMO and both parents should be free of skin conditions.
For Vizslas both parents should be hip and elbow scored, the current breed average for hips is 12 and scores should be below or around this average , if higher further research should have been carried out into ancestry taking into considerations scores of grandparents , parents ,siblings and progeny.
You can read more about hip and elbow scoring here
At least one parent should be tested clear for cerebellar ataxia, ataxia is a condition that is fatal to affected dogs and is easily prevented by ensuring both parents do not carry the recessive gene and therefore produce an affected dog it involves a very simple cheek swab sent for DNA analysis at Laboklin UK
Both parents should be eye tested including glaucoma acceptable results for breeding are clear plus grades 0, 1 and 2
Covid 19 has meant delays in results being uploaded to the KC database so please ask a breeder for copies of results if not shown.
There can be problems with eyelids such as entropion and ectropion be sure to discuss these things with the breeder and ask if they have had any incidents of this affecting their line.
It is advisable that at least one parent is also tested clear of the long-haired gene, The long-haired gene should not be confused with wirehaired Hungarian as they are a separate breed.
Long haired is a recessive gene going back to times of old, The exact source of it is not known there are varying theories including where setters were introduced to the gene pool many many years ago.
Although not a health condition it would involve an affected puppy Having a coat that is incorrect for the breed the coat is more like that of a setter or spaniel
Discuss socialisation and how the puppy will reared.
This can always be an emotive subject with nearly every breeder having different views on how it should be done.
The prime consideration is that the person rearing your puppy has put thought into how they will be socialising your puppy before it goes to you.
Where the puppy actually sleeps is quite irrelevant, I’ve known puppies who have been kept in peoples homes in back rooms that have the worst socialisation I’ve ever seen compared to those have been reared in a kennel whose breeders have put the work in and they are correctly socialised so it’s not about location it’s about socialisation.
Breeders should be handling puppies daily and following a program of socialisation such as the puppy plan.
Diet is also an important part of rearing Puppy should be fed a high-quality diet appropriate for their breed and age.
Puppy should also receive a parasite control program to combat things such as intestinal worms and fleas
I would expect a puppy to have been wormed at least three times prior to homing and to be treated against fleas if appropriate.
Ensure a puppy is the correct age for homing
The ideal age for homing age is around 8 weeks old
We’ve heard of cases where puppies have been rehomed as young as six weeks of age this is completely unacceptable, Puppies of six weeks are age have not yet learnt correct bite inhibition nor are they completely digestive stable after weaning, it is also against the law.
Expect to pay a reasonable amount for a puppy
Generally breeders don't breed for money if they wanted to just earn money the Vizsla would be a bad choice of breed they are expensive and physically demanding to rear correctly and they command a small price compared to fancy coloured bull dogs or designer cross breeds which sell for thousands of pounds.
The costs are high for rearing a litter properly but most of the cost of the puppy you are purchasing comes from years of planning and 10 weeks of 24/7 care, we worked out that the average breeder earns the equivalent of around an £1 hour for those 10 weeks, they are un paid for the rest of the year!
As you see there isn't much of a margin to cut costs so if you're getting a cheap puppy something has been compromised along the way.
At the time of writing (May 22) the average cost of a well bred KC registered puppy are as follow-
West Highland white £2750
Hungarian Vizslas £2600.
These are the prices taken from public websites of Reputable breeders there are regional variations and dependant on the package given the increase is due to demand and Covid 19 changing people lifestyles with more people working from home and wanting a dog.
I have read on various FB groups where people are making comparisons to prices pre covid and saying you shouldn't pay more , what you pay is a personal choice if you feel prices are too high you may wish to consider a rescue or wait a couple of years to see if prices reduce when Covid has gone.
What ever you do don't compromise on health, ethics or quality to save money.
Please also read the dont's section as regards paying over the odds for a puppy.
Send standard requests to multiple breeders.
If ever you want to not be taken seriously by breeders the way to go about it is to send multiple emails to breeders that all read the same.
The dog breeding community in the UK is quite close knit, breeders talk to each other and will from time to time discuss potential owners and if the same enquirers name comes up over and over again people will just be discounted.
Breeders only want to sell their puppies to people they think are dedicated to their puppies welfare and having the right puppy from the right breeder asking multiple people at the same time for a puppy does not demonstrate that.
You should begin by contacting one breeder at a time making your email or completed enquiry form appropriate to yourself and that breeder giving as much information as possible.
You should complete all dealings with the first breeder before contacting a second so if you have arranged the meeting you should attend that prior to contacting other breeders.
Never visit multiple breeders on one day
You could potentially spread life-threatening disease from breeders premises to breeders premises, These diseases that are fatal to puppies are not always obvious to the naked eye.
Never buy a puppy because you feel sorry for it.
Buying that puppy gets the seller the income they required and a new puppy will Soon be filling its place.
If you have genuine welfare concerns about the condition of the puppy have seen you should report them to the RSPCA.
Never collect a puppy from a location other than the breeders premises.
It is very important that you actually see where your puppy has come from it is not considered good practice for breeders to meet people in service stations or even at dog shows with puppies.
Dont use social media to ask quesions about a litter
You should be asking the breeder not strangers on facebook , facebook is full of self proclaimed experts all of which will have their own breeder to recommend or people they dislike.
If you are communicating with a breeder and they can not or are unwilling to answer questions in a reasonable time frame then you should be cautious.
Never presume one sales outlet is safer than another
Everywhere we go we have people telling us where we should buy a puppy.
The bottom line is the Kennel club, The breed clubs or any other club or sales outlet can only police things in retrospect.
It is down to you to vet the breeder regardless of where you found them and if you find misdemeanours please do report them to save another not so diligent person being duped.
Free adds do attract the less reputable breeders but they are also good ones too.
Do ask to visit and don’t part with any money until you are absolutely sure all your questions have been answered .
Do not get duped into paying lots of money or thinking your getting a bargain
During the Covid 19 time we have seen puppies become the new toilet roll with people panic buying and being duped into paying high amounts sometimes £4000 plus.
During the August - October 2021 we have seen some prime examples of this.
NON KC registered puppies being sold at £2500
KC registered puppies from non health tested parents being sold at £3000
KC registered puppies from basic health tested parents being sold at £4000 or worse still by sealed bids.
Price does not equate to high quality in fact the high price is likely to indicate a breeder whose primary interest is profit .
so dont forget before cost you must get the other boxes ticked.
Breeder traceable via own websites/club memberships or via those of a mentor
Good pedigtree with low inbreeding.
FULL health testing on both parents.
Good rearing environment.