The Advantages of a Reputable Breeder
When you buy from a hobby breeder, you can meet your pug's mother in the flesh and sometimes the father if he's in the same locale. (Females are often shipped long distances to be bred with the right male.) Even if the father isn't in the area, the breeder may have photos or videos of him. You may also be able to meet other relatives of the puppy you're considering. This is a plus because it gives you a good idea of what your pug will be like as an adult.
When he breeds a litter, the reputable breeder handles the pups frequently and accustoms them to the sights and sounds they'll encounter in a typical home. This helps them adjust quickly when they go to live with their new families.
Breeders can also become mentors. They're there to answer questions as your pug goes through adolescence — which can be a trying time — and if you want to show your pug, they can guide you through the process. If you live in the same area as the breeder, she may board your dog while you're traveling, allowing him to stay in a familiar place and giving you peace of mind that he's being well cared for. And if there's ever a reason you can't keep your pug — because of divorce, or a death in the family, say — a truly reputable breeder will take the dog back and keep it or place it in a new home.
Sometimes reputable breeders can be difficult to find. It takes patience and persistence to find the one who's right for you. But if you want to get your money's worth, a hobby breeder is the way to go. You will know that your new pup is the offspring of healthy, high-quality dogs and has been raised in a home by a knowledgeable breeder who provides her pups with good nutrition, veterinary care, and early socialization to the world around them.
Buying through a well-known breeder is a good way to find a strong, healthy pug.
Finding a Breeder
Word of mouth is a good way to start your search for a breeder. Ask a satisfied pug-owning friend for a recommendation. Your veterinarian may have a reputable pug breeder as a client. The veterinarian can advise you on the health of that person's dogs and confirm whether he had proper preliminary health certifications performed.
Visit a dog show, and talk to the pug breeders there. They won't have puppies for sale at the show, but it's a good place to get to know a breeder informally. Be sure to wait until after breeders have come out of the ring before you try to talk to them. Before they go in, they'll be too busy getting their dogs ready to be able to spend much time with you.
If you meet some breeders you like, ask to set up an appointment to visit their homes and meet their other dogs and puppies. Talk to several breeders and look at lots of puppies so you can get a good overview of the breed.
Dog shows are often advertised in your local newspaper. You can also buy a copy of the AKC Gazette at most newsstands and check its calendar listings to see if there are any upcoming shows in your area.
The AKC's Web site provides a link to the PDCA Web site (www.pugs.org), where you can find a directory of breeders organized by state, along with an extensive list of breeder selection tips. If you don't have Internet access, the PDCA's address is listed in Appendix A. The club's secretary or breed information representative can refer you to reputable breeders in your area. If you write to the club or to a breeder, be sure to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply.