The Long, Arduous Road to Finding My Perfect Puppy

by DFS-Pet-Blog on March 5, 2010

Rudder, a young Newfoundland, wants to play

Rudder, a young Newfoundland, wants to play

Finding the perfect dog for me did not happen overnight. When it was time for me to commit to having a dog in my life, I was determined to do it the right way.  I had dogs in my childhood and early adulthood and then decided, through living circumstances and other commitments, that I was a cat person. But in 1992, I was living in the top part of Victorian house in Minneapolis with a fenced-in yard. I discussed it with my landlord, luckily a dog lover, and was able to start thinking about getting a dog again. But which kind?

  • My first stop was the library (I did not have access to the Internet at that time), where I researched and read everything I could. I found a book which I still have on my shelf called, “The Right Dog for You” by Daniel F. Tortora, PhD, which had handy charts for over 110 breeds on sociability, grooming needs,  whether a breed is a good watchdog, and other handy facts.  This was a great start, but I really appreciated a book called “Your Perfect Puppy: A Buyer’s Guide” by Michelle Welton, which went over a lot of things I needed to know being a first time owner of a purebred dog, including how to go about it, what to look for in a breeder, and helpful tips about temperament, personality, and behavior.
  • I made a list for myself (I am not very organized naturally, but knew this was an important decision, one that could impact me for the next 15 years at least) on wants and needs and “wouldn’t mind” and “no way”. I wanted a big dog, but I wanted one that would not be aggressive. I admired working dogs, but wanted one that would not need to be hunting or herding to be happy. I like fuzzy dogs, and I don’t mind hair in the house (and in the salad, and on the walls, and, well, we won’t go there!)
  • Several breeds made it to my list and two made it to my short list:  the Leonberger and the Newfoundland, a dog originally bred to help fisherman in the icy waters of Newfoundland in Canada. I read breed books on them both.
  • I researched dog shows in the area so I could see these breeds and meet with breeders. At the shows.  I paid close attention to what breeders were mentioned again and again, because those, in my view, would be the most reliable for someone of my limited experience. It took me 6 months to research my breed – and I settled on a Leonberger. Except for it wasn’t. After talking to two breeders, getting  approved (filling out long forms, numerous phone calls, being asked how I was going to care for an 8 week old puppy, asked if I was  prepared to spend money for vet bills, etc), and waiting another 3 months, it was a no-go: there was no successful mating in my area.
  • I went for my other choice, the Newfoundland. I started talking to Newf breeders again and ran the gamut of getting approved again. One breeder wanted me to meet the dogs so I knew what I was getting myself into. I visited and was greeted by an older female Newf, who must have approved of me, because the next thing I knew, the breeder was letting a slew of her Newfs in the house. This included a big gorgeous male, Sam, who came up on the couch and slobbered all over me. Later she told me that she always let a big slobbery Newf in so she could see how prospective puppy people reacted. I must have passed muster.  Again, the breeding had just taken place, and I had another 2 months of waiting for puppies to be on the ground.
  • It was not to happen with that breeder either. However, I got to know her better and she gave me the name of Sam’s breeder, Hannah, since I was so taken with him. I called Hannah and found out she had puppies available, but they wouldn’t be ready until a month later. That was fine with me – I had to do some planning – the puppy was in upstate New York!
  • Ebunyzar's Bozeman Frinjinsin 1993-2005

    Ebunyzar's Bozeman Frinjinsin 1993-2005

  • A month later I went to get Bozeman, my first Newf. I am living with my third and fourth Newf right now, it’s 17 years later, and I have not regretted my decision. I am convinced that all the research I did was the secret.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

brittany March 5, 2010 at 9:33 am

I’m curious- what was the name of Sam’s breeder?

I worked at an upstate new york newfy kennel for a while, and I’m curious if its’ the same!

Barb S. March 5, 2010 at 9:59 am

Hi Brittany- The breeder’s name was Hannah Hayman- Ebunyzar Kennels. Where did you work?

brittany March 8, 2010 at 8:28 am

Nope, not for her- I worked for a breeder in Bristol, NY, but at the moment her name is slipping me- her first name was Karen, but I never could spell her last name, sadly! She had some lovely dogs, and also bred Labradors.

Mary Nielsen August 1, 2016 at 11:50 am

Wow! So you really went out your comfort zone to research about how to pick the perfect puppy for you. This article is really helpful especially to those who are first time dog owners. They should read this prior to adopting their first fur baby.

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