Dogs provide lasting companionship and unconditional love – it’s no wonder they’re one of America’s most popular pets. But adopting a dog is a big decision, and there are many things to think about before you welcome one into your home. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Choose Between a Purebred and a Mixed Breed
Dogs can be either mixed breed or purebred. The only significant difference between the two is that purebreds have parents and other ancestors of the same breed. This allows you to be fairly certain about their appearance, temperament and care requirements. Both purebreds and mixed breeds have their advantages and disadvantages, which should be weighed against your requirements as you decide which is right for your home.
2. Research the Best Breed for You
If you’ve decided on a purebred, you’ll need to choose a breed. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes 184 breeds, and each of these has its own characteristics and care requirements. For instance, some breeds are great fits for apartment living, while others are more suited to farms and ranches. Researching each breed in detail will help you find the right one for you.
3. Find a Reputable Seller
Once you’ve decided on a breed, you’ll need to find a reputable seller. The person you choose should be someone who’s willing to answer your immediate questions and serve as a point of contact for many years to come. They should give you the opportunity to observe and interact with the dog in its natural environment. This is important because it’ll allow you to assess a dog’s suitability for adoption.
4. Request the Right Paperwork
Before adopting a dog, ensure that the seller provides you with a contract of sale. If you’re adopting a purebred, you’ll also require the AKC registration papers, which must be signed on the back by the seller. If these aren’t available right away, wait until the seller receives them before you pay for your dog.
5. Watch Out for Internet Adoption Scams
The Internet is an invaluable tool in the search for a dog, but it’s also rife with adoption scams. These often involve ads for nonexistent dogs that promise expensive breeds at reduced prices or free to a good home and ask you to pay for shipping via wire transfer. To avoid these scams, deal with local sellers whom you can meet in person.
Adopting a dog is a major undertaking, but when you choose the dog that’s right for you, you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime of love and affection.