First Things First: “The Basics”
- Young puppy, or older dog? Raising a puppy is rewarding, but it is also time consuming, demanding consistency, attentiveness, and patience. Older puppies (six months plus) and young dogs are occasionally available from breeders, and can be excellent family companions. Many are housebroken; some may even have begun obedience training. Both options — young puppies or older pups/grown dogs — are worthy of your careful consideration. Some local clubs have rescue programs through which older dogs may be adopted.
- How about health? You will want a sound, healthy puppy who will grow up to be a sound, healthy English Springer Spaniel, fully representative of the breed whether it’s a pet, hunting companion, field trial athlete, or show dog.
- How much? The price of a well bred, carefully raised puppy is not necessarily the same in Nebraska as it might be in California or Vermont. Prospects intended as competition quality and candidates for breeding may be more costly. Price is not always an indicator of quality. Be cautious of situations where prices are unusually high based on a “rare” coat color or markings pattern, especially when your primary interest is in what’s “inside” the dog. It’s always useful to contact more than one breeder (whether that person currently has puppies available or not) to benefit from different points of view in order to make an educated purchase decision, and these discussions should leave you with a sense of an appropriate range in price. You may find your choices much broader if you are willing to travel to pick up that “right” puppy, so don’t hesitate to contact breeders outside your immediate area.
- What does American Kennel Club Registration mean? It means that your puppy’s parents and ancestors are English Springer Spaniels who are also AKC-registered. American Kennel Club registration says nothing about the quality of a dog or puppy. Even “puppy mill” and petshop puppies can usually be registered.
- What is a pedigree? Pedigrees list three to six generations of ancestors. A pedigree may show competitive titles earned by a puppy’s ancestors and may offer some indication of future potential.
- Male or female? It’s an individual decision, but there is very little difference between genders in Springers. Neither is easier/more difficult to train or housebreak; both are equally intelligent, affectionate, and tractable. Both males and females should be excellent family dogs and companions. Males are somewhat larger and heavier in build than females, and males carry more coat than females. Spaying and neutering pets will eliminate sex-related behaviors and will help to avoid reproductive health problems later in life.
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