Avoid choosing a breed because it is in fashion. Popular Breeds may have a higher incidence of inbred diseases or poor temperaments. Some pet breeders are not as careful when they are under pressure to supply an increased demand for the animals they breed. Do not limit yourself to purebred pets. Dogs of mixed heritage may give you the advantage of a variety of breeds all in one. Hybrids may also be less prone to inherited health problems seen in purebred pets. Also, many mixed breed dogs and cats in animal shelters need a good home.

If possible, arrange to meet one or both of the dog’s parents, as many temperament traits are inherited. Also, try to visit the puppy two or three times before making a decision, and take notes.


Personality & Instincts

  • Sociability– try to choose a puppy that follows you, not a shy pup that hangs back in the corner.
  • Prey instinct– roll a ball and observe the puppy’s reaction. If it chases the ball, it may be easier to motivate for training. Encourage the puppy to return the ball to you, to gage his/her cooperativeness.
  • Dominance– can the puppy be rolled onto its back with minimal struggle? Most pups will resist some, but an even-tempered dog will not panic or become aggressive.
  • Confidence– do not confuse dominance with confidence. A confident dog is calm and trusting, not “king of the mountain.”



Steer clear from:

  • Runny nose/eyes
  • Bloated bellies


In General

Look for a “middle of the road” puppy. An average pup will have a better chance of developing only average, and not extreme, problems. Remember that with proper training from the start, even difficult puppies can grow into exceptional pets. Good Luck!

Developed by Dr. Hadley Warwick, with additional credit to Stephanie Schwartz.