Having decided that a sheltie is for you there are a few things you should know before you make that big step. On the AISSC website there is a list of breeders that you can contact to see if they have puppies available, or alternatively you could telephone the Irish Kennel club and they will put you in touch with the sheltie club secretary.
There are websites you can buy puppies from but you have to be very careful that the pups for sale are not from puppy farms. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. There is very little difference in price between these pups and those from sold from an experienced breeder, plus you are getting a wealth of experience and a backup service for your puppy when you buy from an experienced breeder. If you buy from a show person you are getting a puppy from good stocks that have been health tested etc.
Always go to the breeder’s house and see how the pups are reared. NEVER meet someone in a car park or halfway mark, appealing as it may seem at the time. Remember you will have this dog for 15 years so buy the best you can and do your research even if you only want a pet!! Make sure you see the mother with the puppies, the stud dog however, is not always the breeders but ask to see his papers and a picture if possible. If the breeder claims that the dogs are champions ask to see the dogs’ certificates. No breeder will guarantee your pup is a Crufts winner but they will try and do their best for you. Beware of the ones who make these claims!!
When you go and see the litter make sure they are clean, fat and well socialised. Ask about a worming regime and whether they have had a first vaccination and if the pup has been micro-chipped. If you have a choice of puppies ask the breeders advice on which to choose and what suits your lifestyle best. When you buy your puppy you should get his pedigree, change of ownership papers, a diet sheet and a pamphlet of valuable hints about the breed .If you don’t want an 8 week old puppy you can sometimes get a young adult that was run on for showing and did not quite make it. These can often be the best pups as the owner will have kept the best in the litter to run on, and it will be well socialised lead trained and house trained etc. I hope this has been helpful to all you new owners and that you are more informed before you make the big step and purchase your puppy, and I hope you have many years of joy ahead with your new member of the family.
by Cathrina Dunne
Vice Chairperson of the All Ireland Shetland Sheepdog Club.