It is a huge, life changing decision and not one to be taken lightly, with lots of personal considerations regarding space, impact on family time, adequate vehicles, losing your family garden or spare room, even converting your property to house and contain such a large dog. Then there is the cost. Not only to buy but to care for and feed. There is so much to think about, but here is a list of some of my top DO’s and DON’Ts to use as a guide in your quest for a quality pup.
1 DO lots of research. Visit and speak to as many breeders, fellow owners and enthusiasts as possible
2 DO take the time to see things with your own eyes. Ask to see the oldest dogs in the kennel. Check the condition of the eyes, skin and free movement and be sceptical about excuses made for visible problems in these areas. Most of them are genetic weaknesses and very costly to put right.
3 DO ask as many questions as possible from more than one breeder. Especially about health issues in the bloodlines. If information not forthcoming, move on. If someone claims perfection they are dishonest.
4 DO join the breed club, ask for recommended breeders and any breed specific health information/survey results that they have available
5 DO enquire about common health problems in the breed and what a breeder is doing to improve.
6 DO expect that to be demonstrated in the dogs they own and you can see.
7 DO buy from a breeder recommended by other owners and ask the owners what, if any, problems they had with their dogs.
8 DO expect to wait for a high quality puppy and expect to be subjected to a home visit and lots of questions. This is a RARE BREED for a reason and it means the breeder cares.
9 DO your utmost to ensure you select right at the start as will save you heartache and empty pockets at the vet later
10 DO go into ownership with your eyes wide open. There are NO guarantees of perfection. Show quality litters DO NOT EXIST.
1 DON’T pay a deposit before pups are born. Wait until the expected puppies are alive and well, passed 2 weeks.
2 DON’T pay a large deposit under any circumstances. A maximum of £300 should be enough just to reserve.
3 DON’T buy the cheapest puppy you find on the internet
3 DON’T agree to buy a puppy without visiting the breeder in advance
4 DON’T buy a puppy without seeing it with the mother and being given extensive information about the sire.
5 DON’T buy a puppy because it runs to you and/or is cute.
6 DON’T buy a puppy who is unnaturally quiet/timid/appears unheathy or is not strong in movement.
7 DON’T buy a puppy to remove it from bad living conditions
8 DON’T buy a puppy from the boot of a car at a service station
9 DON’T assume the more you pay for a puppy the better quality it will be.
10 DON’T fall for the common sales pitches, eg ‘working type, true Italian type, from Champion bloodlines, the biggest and best in the world, etc. There is ONE breed standard. Read it, know it, understand it. If you want to show, pay particular attention to serious and disqualifying faults. Ask to pay less if you spot a serious show fault and only want a pet