This post brought to you by American Kennel Club. All opinions are 100% mine.
For his kindergarten class, my son Warren had to draw a picture and finish the sentence, "I have a dream…" in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. When he brought his home, I couldn't help but smile when it read, "I have a dream that every kid in the world can have a pet." I felt a bit guilty since we don't currently have a pet. I know that my kids would be great with one, especially a dog, since I see them interact with my parent's Yorkie. But I also know the responsibility that goes along with taking care of a dog. With my oldest being seven years old and most of my family gone during the day, I know that a lot of the responsibility would be mine. It isn't a decision that I take likely. Both my husband and I had pets growing up and we do want that for our kids.
For the past few months we have been researching breeds to find out what type of dog would be best for our family. This includes everything from the dog's energy level to temperament. When I was in my teens my parent's got a dog for our family. He was a Yorkshire Terrier and we named him Tippy. His parents had been show dogs. He was pure-bred and registered with the American Kennel Club.
Tippy with my niece in 2001.
Since we were older when we got him, temperament with kids wasn't something that my parents had really worried about when they brought him home. But when my sister had her first child four years later, we got to see his response. He was nothing but sweet. Except for one time when he got a bit annoyed and was scolded, he was an absolutely angel. My sister's kids were very hands on with Tippy, but he would let them do just about anything to him.
I feel like any dog we get will be compared to him. I can't help it. That dog was a very special dog and our whole family was devastated when got sick.
My parent's have had three Yorkies and all have had very different personalities. Some may be due to breeding and life experiences which have shaped them. But all three dogs have been loving and fabulous additions to the family. I would never hesitate to add this breed into our family, although we are open to other breeds.
The American Kennel Club is a great resource for not only researching breeds but also what questions to ask before bringing a dog into the family.
Questions to Ask if Buying from a Breeder
If you are buying your dog from breeders, it is important to find a responsible breeder. The AKC can help with that and offer tips and questions that need to be asked including:
- Visit the breeder's home or kennel and ask to see at least one of the puppy's parents. Get an idea of what the future holds for your dog in terms of temperament and appearance.
- Observe the premises. Is the house/kennel clean? Odor-free? Dogs and puppies should be clean, well fed, lively and friendly. Look for signs of malnutrition such as protruding rib cages or illness such as runny nose/eyes, coughing, lethargy and skin sores.
- Pay attention to how the dogs and puppies interact with their breeder. Does the breeder appear to genuinely care for the puppies and their adult dogs? Both dogs and puppies should not shy away from the breeder and should be outgoing with strangers.
See the full list of questions here.
Questions to Ask if Buying from a Shelter/Rescue
Did you know that the AKC Rescue Network is America's largest network of dog rescue groups and can pair you with a pure-bred dog in need a loving home? If you are planning to find your new dog from a shelter or rescue group, the AKC offers some great advice and questions that need to be asked including:
- Why is this dog in a shelter? Was he surrendered by the previous owner, is it a stray, or a rescue? Why did the owner surrender him? If he was a stray, where was he found and in what condition? Is the dog from the local area? Is the dog here because of an animal cruelty charge against its previous owner?
- What was the health condition of the dog when he was brought to the shelter?
- Has this dog been adopted out before? How long has the dog been in the shelter?
- What veterinary care has the dog received since arriving at the shelter and can you provide copies of the records?
See the full list of questions here.
No matter which way we find our special dog, we appreciate the resources that the American Kennel Club can provide. We can research everything from importance of having a pure-bred dog to breed tempermant and get tips on finding our dog from a reputable source. Later we can enjoy the benefits AKC offers once we have a dog.