BY MOLLY | EVERYTHINGSHIHTZU.COM
If you're ready to add a Shih Tzu to your family, then there are several ways you can go about finding the perfect puppy. You can, of course, rescue or adopt a dog in need of a good home, or you can decide to purchase from a breeder.
If you're set on finding a purebred Shih Tzu from a breeder, it is important to know that all breeders are not created equal.
The best way to find a reputable breeder is through personal references. You can get recommendations from friends or family that you know have used the breeder or from your vet.
Plus, any breeder you consider should be more than willing to provide you with a list of references that you can check on your own.
Of course, as you probably already know, getting your pup from a breeder is not the same as going to a pet store.
A good breeder should specialize in only one breed of dog, maybe two at the most, and a good breeder works with dogs because they love the breed, not to make a bunch of money.
When it comes to finding a reputable Shih Tzu dog breeder, there are several things you should consider.
As mentioned before, you can start your search through friends or family who has used a breeder or ask your vet. You can also look for reputable breeders through the AKC (American Kennel Club) or UKC (United Kennel Club).
However, no matter where or how you find your breeder, you will want to ask many questions and take notes on several different points before you make your final decision to purchase your Shih Tzu.
Just like a good breeder should be willing to answer all of your questions, a reputable breeder should have a lot of questions for you too.
Can't decide whether to purchase or adopt a dog? Read our article "Adopting vs Buying a Shih Tzu"
When you meet with the breeder, be prepared to answer more questions than you probably ask, and know that a good breeder may very well turn you down if she feels you are not a good fit for the puppy.
Here are some of the questions you can expect to answer before being able to purchase your pup from a reputable dog breeder:
In addition to these questions, a reputable breeder will also include a section in the contract that states you will return the Shih Tzu to them directly if you are unable to keep the dog for any reason.
This is because a good dog breeder always looks out for their all their pups and has the Shih Tzu's best interests at heart.
Once you've found a reputable breeder, you should expect the process to take a little time.
The breeder will expect you to provide references and proof that you can have a dog where you live, for example, if you live in an apartment or condo.
Plus, a breeder may also ask for character references to determine if you possess the abilities and qualities of a responsible dog owner.
Whenever possible, a legitimate breeder will also want to meet with you in person or at least have a phone conversation with you if you live out of state.
It is also preferred that you are able to meet with your potential new pup in person to make sure you are a good match for each other.
Depending on how picky you are about your new dog, you might be able to get your dog from a breeder within a few days if they happen to have what you are looking for.
However, keep in mind a reputable breeder does not have an endless supply of dogs, nor do they always have puppies available.
Therefore, you might need to wait for a while to get the puppy of your dreams, and the breeder will place you on a waitlist.
If you want a puppy, remember that a good breeder should keep a puppy for at least 8 to 12 weeks before letting the puppy leave its mother.
During this time, you can continue to interview the breeder, meet the puppy, and start filling out any necessary paperwork.
Once you and the breeder have dotted all of the I's and crossed all the T's, you'll be able to bring your new Shih Tzu home.
The bonus of using a good Shih Tzu dog breeder is that you can always contact the breeder even after getting your pup home if you have any questions or concerns.