Why do you want a Weimaraner? Unfortunately, far too many people reply, 'I just love the colour' And that is the worst reason for wanting one of these special dogs. Have you done your research? Have you spoken with Weimaraner owners or visited an event such as a dog show where you can meet lots of Weimars? Do you know what makes them tick?

The Weimaraner is not a beginners dog. Looking after such as a lab or retriever is a doddle compared with the Weimaraner. It is a breed that needs plenty of attention, exercise, and training. So before you rush out and buy your puppy take a long look at your lifestyle. Does it suit a dog? Be honest with yourself. So think about the following points.

Do you work? What will you do with the dog all day while you Do you partner or family member who will be at home with the dog? The Weimaraner is not a breed that you can leave at home all day, nor does it take well to being kept in kennels. So don't even think about buying a puppy if you are out of the house all day, even if a dog minder comes round to give it a walk, consider the cost. In London, dog walkers charge as much as £18 an hour to pick up and walk your dog.Do you have a garden

Do you have a garden? You really shouldn't buy a large dog such as a Weim if you don't have a house with a garden and of course, a flat is usually unsuitable unless its a ground floor with patio/garden.Do all the members of your family want a dog?

Do all the members of your family want a dog? It's important that everybody who will be living with the dog is in agreement about buying the dog in the first place. Do you have a young family

Do you have a young family? Can you cope with the demands of a puppy and young children? How will you manage to exercise the dog and give it 1-2-1 training it needs while running around after equally demanding children Obviously, there are many successful examples, but one of the more common reasons given for Weimaraners being rehoused is the difficulties of coping with young dogs and children? Will you mind if the puppy bites and scratches your children or even knocks them over in its exuberance. And of course, never leave the dog unsupervised with children. 

Can you afford a dog? It's not just the cost of buying a puppy, there is the ongoing costs of keeping a dog. To start with your puppy will need to be vaccinated which costs about £70 Then there is the food at £1-£1.50 a day, pet insurance from £30 + a month, leads, collars, beds, feed bowls, toys etc. What will you do when you go on holiday? Can you afford £12-£25 a day rate for putting the dog in kennels So, all this could cost upwards of £1000 per year.OK

OK you are convinced that you will make a great Weimaraner owner. Now you need to find the right puppy. Whatever you do, don't rush out and buy the first puppy you find. Too many people make the decision that they want a Weimaraner puppy and then they want to buy one straight away. They look on websites such as Pets 4U and Preloved and often end up buying a puppy from puppy farmer or through a breeder just interested in making money. So take your time.There are plenty of Weimaraner litters around so don't panic

There are a few tips

Look for breeders who are members of one of the 4 UK Weimaraner clubs. Members of these clubs follow a strict code of conduct. For example, the WCGB stipulates that members do not breed from their bitch before she is two years old and not after her eighth birthday, that she has a maximum of 3 litters and there is at least 12 months between litters. It is also recommended that the parents are hip scored. The breed average score is around 12.

These clubs have details of owners who have puppies for sale. If you can't find  litters through these clubs, then look on reputable websites such as Champdog.co.uk (dogs have to be health checked to have litters listed) Whatever you do, don't buy a a puppy farmer or through a pet shop (yes - some pet shops still sell puppies) and avoid websites such as Pets 4 U and Preloved.

How much should you pay? The price ranges between £800-£950. There is no need to pay any more unless the puppies come from an exceptionally good litter with show or working potential. Don't fall for puppy gazumping - there are stories of breeders increasing the asking price when there is a lot of interest. A respectable breeder will stick to the quoted price.

There are plenty of Weimaraner puppies around. About 1200 are born each year that's approx 150 litters. There will be certain times of the year where litters are few and far between, but during the summer and autumn months, there are plenty of litters.However, you may have to be prepared to travel as there may be few litters in some parts of the UK.

Docked or undocked The majority of Weimaraners are undocked as the breeders do not work their dogs. There is a Defra exemption that allows genuine breeders of working dogs to dock their pups. It is expected that the majority of docked pups will be sold to working homes. Sadly, some breeders see docking as a way of asking more for a puppy and attracting interest as some people want a docked Weimaraner solely for their appearance and have no intent on working. Beware if the pup comes from working lines and is docked it may not be as easy a pet as one from show or pet lines as it will be bred for field work, have more prey drive and require careful training.

A good way of finding a breeder is to visit a championship dog show, such as Crufts, or a breed show run by one of the Weimaraner clubs. You may not have any intention of showing, but these events are great as you can see lots of Weimaraners up close and talk to their owners. People at these shows are very friendly and more than happy to point you in the direction of owners who are planning litters. If you like a particular bitch you can talk to the owner and see if they intend to breed from her and get on their list of potential puppy purchasers.

Some breeders have lists of interested puppy purchasers and often their litters are booked before the puppies are even born. It's fine to go on such a list but don't feel obliged to buy a puppy once they are born.

Once you have located a possible litter, make contact with the breeder. Don't be surprised to be asked endless questions. The breeder will ask these questions to ascertain whether you are a suitable owner of one of their pups. A good breeder takes a lot of time and trouble to find the right type of purchaser as they want their pup to go to a forever home. Remember to ask questions yourself as you need to find out about the bitch and the stud dog- their pedigree, hip score, eyes, general health, breeding record etc. Check that the pups are Kennel Club registered

Most breeders don't let people come and see the puppies until they are three or more weeks old. There isn't much point seeing them as their eyes are closed and they just shuffle around.

When you visit, ask to see the bitch on her own before you see the pups. This way you can have a good look at her without the puppies getting in the way. When you see the pups, take your time and watch them play together before you interact with them. Pups tire quickly so ask the breeder not to play with them before you visit otherwise you could be faced with pooped out pups that show no interest in anything or anybody. Watch how the pups move, chase toys etc. You will probably find that one or two of the pups appeal more than the others. Most breeders use some form of identification (coloured ribbon collars or painted toe nails) so that you can identify the pups. A camera is a useful means of helping you to remember which pup you liked. It sounds odd, but see if you get on with the breeder. Is he or she helpful? Are they going to offer support once you have purchased the pup, be at the end of the phone or email when you have questions or problems? This is an important part of puppy ownership especially if it is your first puppy. Ask if you can to make a second or even third visit so that you can see the pups develop. Finally, find out when the puppy will be ready to leave the dam. 

Which pup? Not all breeders will allow you to choose the pup. In many ways, it is better for the breeders to make the final decision, taking into account your preferences. They spend all day with the pups so are in a far better position to match the puppy with the buyer. Some pups are more laid back than others and may be more suited to a family home, whereas people who want a working dog may choose a more outgoing pup who likes to explore at the bottom of the garden and may be a little too independent. A show dog owner probably wants a pup that says ' look at me' and is a real show off. Breeders should

Breeders should produce a pack of information telling you about the pup's diet microchip, vaccinations, worming advice and general info about dog training and socialization. Make sure you get a couple of weeks worth of food so you can continue the pup's diet during the stressful time of changing homes. Make sure you receive a receipt and copy of the pedigree as well as the Kennel Club registration form (sometimes this comes later in the post) You have to complete the transfer of ownership on the registration form and return to the KC. Some breeders produce a contract so read all the terms carefully.

Sally Morgan

Hon Secretary

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