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Where do I go for a puppy?

Malamutes are becoming more popular in the UK but unfortunately, the growing popularity of the breed has encouraged puppy farmers to breed unhealthy dogs and sell to unsuitable homes. Often, you find that these people charge more than the reputable breeders just because they can provide puppies there and then. In a culture where you can buy what you want when you want, these people are cashing in.

So, how do you tell whether a breeder is reputable or not? Where do you look for a puppy? What do you look for in a breeder and what can you expect?

Firstly, just because someone has a fancy website, doesn't mean that they are a reputable breeder. There are reputable breeders out there without a website at all and so don't think the internet is the one way to find a puppy.

There are websites out there advertising puppies for sale. In general, my advice would be to steer well clear of these "Free Ad" sites as these are favourite places for disreputable breeders to sell their puppies. "Can deliver", "teddy bears", "snow dogs" are just some of the terms which send alarm bells ringing!

Some websites such as Champdogs, have a list of breeders and amongst them are some extremely reputable breeders as well as some who are unfortunately not. It is up to you to do your homework and to ensure you are armed with the information you need to get a good quality puppy.

You can always take yourself off to dog shows or to working rallies and take a look at all of the dogs. At the largest Championship shows including Crufts, there will be many breeders with their dogs and when I was looking, I found it a great way of working out the "type" I liked. Sitting at the ringside with a catalogue, you can see at a glance the breeder, sire and dam of a dog and so by marking the ones you like, you are able to see if there is any particular "line" that catches your eye. Most breeders will be happy to chat unless they are getting ready to go into the ring! At rallies, it is a far more relaxed atmosphere and you will find people are happy to talk about their dogs and point out breeders. You also get the added benefit of seeing the dogs having fun!

A reputable breeder will expect you to visit them at home to meet them and allow them to ask you questions about your lifestyle, your home and your family before considering you for a puppy. If you arrive at a breeder's home and they show no interest in you or your background and offer you a litter of puppies to buy from, then as hard as it is, walk away. These people are not interested in you and so obviously show no interest in their puppies.

The Alaskan Malamute Club of the United Kingdom has a code of ethics by which all breeders should abide. This will give you a good list of questions to ask breeders when contacting them. Should the breeder be unable to answer a question or start giving reason why they don't health check etc. you should simply look elsewhere. The Alaskan Malamute Club (AMCUK) has a list of breeders who agree to abide by the code of ethics although this is by no means exhaustive.

Please be aware of the terms "Registered Breeder", "Licensed Breeder" and "Accredited Breeder". A Registered /Licensed Breeder is simply someone who breeds more than 5 litters a year, generally for profit. Once a breeder reaches 5 litters annually they are classed as a business and require a license to operate. An Accredited Breeder is somebody who pays the Kennel Club to go on a list. Unfortunately, the Kennel Club seems unable to monitor the ethics of breeders on this list and so this is not a guarantee of a good breeder!


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