Before you make the decision to buy a springer puppy, you should give full consideration to whether it is a suitable breed for your circumstances. It is an active breed that requires regular exercise - are you prepared to find the time and commitment for this important part of dog ownership? Will there be someone at home all day while the puppy is young to nurture and train it to be a well-behaved adult dog? Do you have access to a reasonably-sized, securely-fenced garden? Is there a space in your home which the dog can call its own? English Springers also need regular grooming - do you have the time to devote to this, or the funds to pay for a professsional groomer? Is your home suitable for a breed of this size? Do you have the financial means to feed, transport, insure and pay for veterinary bills?
On the plus side, springers usually make wonderful, loyal and loving pets. Their size makes them suitable for most home environments where they will want to spend as much time as possible with their owners. Their zest for life make them ideal and enthusiastic family dogs. They are an intelligent breed that can be trained to take part in a number of different activities.
Once you have finally decided that you want to give a home to an English Springer puppy, you will need to find a suitable breeder. Do not buy a puppy from a pet shop where you are unable to see the mother, or meet the breeder. Beware of puppy farms, or dealers advertising a number of available puppies of different breeds. Puppy farms are places where puppies are bred purely for profit, with no consideration given to the welfare and health of the animals.
DO look for a reputable breeder. Visit dog shows and speak to breeders, visit the Kennel Club website for details of English Springer breeders or alternatively, use the regularly-updated information on our Puppy Register. The puppies advertised on our website are bred by members of the Southern English Springer Spaniel Society and all members are encouraged and indeed, expected to follow a strict Code of Ethics for breeding.
A reputable breeder will register their puppies with the Kennel Club and provide registration documents at the time of sale. They will make use of any health testing schemes and be willing to show you copies of the certificates. A good breeder will offer you written advice covering feeding, worming, immunisation and socialisation.
Photo by David Tomlinson
Photo by David Tomlinson
VISITING A LITTER
Make an appointment to see the litter and arrive at the given time. Most breeders will ask you to wait until the puppies are around one month old. Wear something suitable, ie. jeans. Remember if the puppies have just been fed, they may be very sleepy! Normally, they will be alert and wanting to play. Meet the dam (and sire if owner has both, if not ask to see a photo) and any other springers in the household. Look at where the puppies are normally kept and satisfy yourself that they look healthy and are kept in clean conditions.
You may be asked to leave a deposit to book your puppy. This could be anything from 5-50% of the full asking price. Remember this can be non-refundable. If seeing several litters, do not commit yourself - you can always call later and book from the litter you most prefer.
COLLECTING YOUR PUPPY
Once you have decided and booked your puppy, you may wish to acquire suitable bedding, feeding items (check with your breeder what food to buy) and grooming equipment. Most breeders will provide you with a 'starter pack'. You may wish to buy a collapsible crate (minimum size 36" x 24" 27") for travelling, as sleeping quarters and for toilet training.
Take someone with you when collecting your puppy and plenty of old towels in case you have a travel sick puppy. The puppy will travel better if on somone's lap.
Make sure, when paying for the puppy, that you have received all the documents including the Kennel Club registration papers. Check the puppy is insured for the first few weeks before you leave.
Book an appointment with your vet for a general check up and advice on inoculation etc. when you get home. Let your breeder know how the puppy has settled within a few days. Keep in touch.
ENJOY YOUR NEW BABY!