Finding your first pup begins with research—and word of mouth is a good place to start.
Spring is the time of the year most hunters are on the lookout for a new pup, one that will be ready to hunt in the fall.
If the person already has a good hunting dog, chances are a good breeder is only a phone call away.
But what if this is your first attempt at finding a good hunting dog? Where do you start?
First, stay away from the bargain dogs and stick with the quality dogs. When we look at quality dogs, it’s from $500 to $1000 a pup. You have to look at your dog as a 10- to 12-year investment, that’s why $500 to $1000 is fairly reasonable.
A person is looking at an investment of $1000 to $2000, even before buying the dog. There’s three visits to the vet a year, at least one bag of dog food per month, a car kennel, a backyard kennel, books, miscellaneous training tools, and the list keeps going.
My first recommendation is don’t buy a bargain dog, you’re buying into trainability problems and physical problems.
In picking out a specific breeder, word of mouth usually is pretty reliable, either going to an individual or a professional kennel. Also, there’s literature available from the North American Hunting Association, the Retriever Field Trial News, and Gun Dog magazine that lists reputable breeders.
There are a few precautions prospective buyers should take before deciding on a specific individual or kennel:
If breeders can’t walk you through some of these fundamentals, say ‘thank you’ and be on your way.
My final note of advice: If they are very well-bred, you might as well close your eyes and grab a puppy. They’re like bookends.