This is a Shiba blog, but I thought I would share one of the emails I sent to someone posting on Craigslist about buying a Pomeranian for her mother for Christmas:
Hey, noticed you were looking for a Pom. Hold your breath, because you’ve attracted the notice of one of those Dog Obsessed People who is happy to tell you everything she knows about finding a purebred puppy! (Aren’t you happy? Be happy!) 😀
Here’s a link to the Pomeranian Club of Canada: http://www.pcoc.net/index.html
There is a breeder’s list in there and a host of other interesting articles – mostly geared towards the serious show breeder, but some that could be useful to you and your mother – training tips and grooming tips.
Here’s a link to a site about what questions to ask a dog breeder. A responsible dog breeder isn’t going to let you buy a puppy for a Christmas present as a surprise, but they will understand you paying for a puppy as a Christmas present if they get to meet you and your mother to reassure themselves that the puppy is going to go to a good home. There are many people, sadly, that buy puppies as Christmas presents, only to dump them when it’s clear that this Christmas present needs to be walked, fed, housebroken, trained… so don’t feel that it’s something about YOU that makes the breeder go “Well, uh…” It’s just the desire for the best home possible for their puppies.
You want a breeder who’s intense like this – a breeder who is determined to get the best home is a breeder who has spent a lot of time making sure that these are the Best Damn Puppies on the Planet and as close to what a Pomeranian should look and act like. They may seem a little crazed and INTENSE but try to look past that and focus on the quality of the dogs. (Yeah, I’ve been in the dog world a while – could you tell? haha)
They may not have puppies for Christmas – responsible breeders don’t produce puppies for money or for a specific timeframe. The money you pay is going to go towards the stud fees, care and testing of the mother during the pregnancy and the care and feeding and shots/worming of the puppies during their time with the breeder. $500 is a little low for a well-bred Pomeranian; rates go from $600-$1000 for a well-bred anything; I paid $1000 for my Shiba inu dog and that’s considered pretty much the going rate. However, there are cheaper Poms out there that you can consider… skip down to the bottom of this message if you’re more interested in them! But it’s worth it to keep on reading… 🙂
This list seems a little intimidating, but it’s not that bad, really. Since the breeding of dogs isn’t something governed by law, like the production of other merchandise (which the law does categorize dogs under, unfortunately), it’s up to you to ensure that the quality of the puppies that you’re getting is high. Buying a puppy from a pet shop or breeder who “doesn’t bother with all that fancy stuff” is like buying a house without doing a building inspection; you can’t get your money back and it could take thousands of dollars to fix any problems that crop up in the years ahead
You might not want a “show dog” but you do want a happy, healthy companion for your mother – the Pomeranian breed is afflicted with several problems, including knee problems, eye problems and skin problems. You definitely want a breeder who can tell you that they’ve taken steps (genetic testing, such as knee X-rays, eye exams, thyroid testing, etc) to prevent these conditions from showing up in their puppies. A puppy who doesn’t have this strong genetic heritage behind it is at high risk (toy breeds are especially susceptible to knee problems) for developing a painful condition that is expensive to fix or to manage.
Another option for you is rescue. These dogs do not have the genetic heritage of a well-bred Pom, but by the time they hit rescue, their physical problems are largely apparent; some rescues raise funds to help pay for operations and medical care. A good rescue will inform you of any problems with the dog before you rescue it. The contact info here is for the Pomeranian Club of Canada Rescue Co-ordinator, who can help you find dogs in need closer to home: http://www.pcoc.net/rescue-adoption.htm
http://www.petfinder.com is a great place to check for Pomeranians in need near you. Hey, what’s better than a puppy for Christmas? Giving a rescue a good home for Christmas!
Good luck with your search!
A happy, friendly letter may just get you a happy, friendly response… and educate people about buying a puppy through responsible channels. I don’t know what response this letter will get, but it’s a great antidote to the “Oh, shit another Christmas puppy buyer” feeling AND encourages the ordinary layperson to do their own research and get knowledgeable about what they’re buying.