If you’re just looking to buy a healthy Weimaraner pet puppy for your family, this article’s for you. (Alternatively, if owning a healthy dog isn’t important to you, you can stop reading here and just close out of this website altogether.)
Let’s start with what to do and what not to do, and why.
Do start with Weimaraner breeders who are members of the Weimaraner Club of America (WCA). You may have never heard of this club, or this may mean nothing to you. That’s okay. The WCA is our parent Weimaraner club. Most (but not all) of us in the greater Weimaraner community belong to this club. In summary, our membership is an oath and commitment that we’re being discriminate and responsible about our Weimaraner breeding practices. The theory is that these practices lead to healthy puppies. Begin with the WCA’s breeder referral page. If you are local to Southern California, you will eventually be directed to the Southland Weimaraner Club’s breeder referral page.
Do supplement with a Google search. It is possible to find good breeders who are not members of the WCA and therefore, won’t show up in your first search. Base your query on your location. For example, “Weimaraner puppy in Southern California.” You’ll see something like this:
You might also notice that search returns fall into one of three categories:
– Websites with Weimaraner puppies for sale.
– Weimaraner rescue organizations that may have puppies available for rescue.
– Weimaraner breeders who may have puppies available.
Don’t buy from a website that sells and ships puppies. Most online puppies come from puppy mills (and puppy mills are those commercial operations that produce puppies for profit, period). It’s the worst bet you can make because you have no idea who bred your dog, where it came from, what health issues (genetic and otherwise) it may be born with, what kind of upbringing (or lack of upbringing) it had before it got to you, and, equally important, you won’t have anyone to talk to for guidance when you hit rough patches with your new pup (It’s peeing all over my house, what do I do? …It’s shivering, what do I do? …It’s terrified of my cat, what do I do? …It won’t eat, what do I do? …I can’t get it to sit or come, what do I do? …She doesn’t know her name, what do I do?). The same principles apply to buying a puppy from a pet shop or from personal ads like Craigslist; just don’t do it. [Note – You might say that you already have a dog that you purchased from a pet shop, website or an unknown breeder… and “my dog is perfectly healthy and has no temperament issues.” I will tell you: YOU GOT LUCKY. ]
Do consider a rescue organization. Working with Weimaraner rescues is a little more difficult; puppies aren’t available often, and they’re snapped up quickly. If your timing isn’t imminent and you’re okay with the unknown of your puppy’s history (health, pedigree, and otherwise), this might not be a bad option for you. Unlike purchasing from websites, volunteers within rescue organizations are more than happy to be that resource you will so desperately need after you bring your puppy home.
Do research local breeders. The most straightforward approach is to work with a local reputable breeder. Find out how to determine whether or not you’re dealing with a reputable breeder by reading this article. In a perfect world, these local breeders are also members of the WCA, but don’t rule them out just yet if they’re not. Unless there’s a very specific reason why you want a puppy three states away, you should be able to find a puppy available in your area within a reasonable timeframe. For logistical purposes, it’s also just easier working with someone who’s near you. For example, the State of California has regulations about rabies vaccinations that don’t apply to other states. It’s helpful to work with a breeder who is familiar with these local/geographic specifics. And, you’ll want to meet with whoever you’ll be getting your puppy from. More on that below.
Do be patient. Buying a puppy shouldn’t be something you just decide to get one morning over breakfast, and then go pick-up that same afternoon. Or even that weekend. It takes a little bit of time, and a little bit of research. Just do it. Don’t be that guy (or gal) that buys on impulse, ends up with a horribly sick puppy, and then spends thousands and thousands of dollars trying to get it better, all because you’ve bonded, and how can you walk away now??? (Also don’t be the asshole that dumps your dog at the pound because you decide you can’t handle it.) [See also: You’re contributing to the problem.]
If you know you don’t want to go through a rescue, it’s probably better to do a more specific search on Weimaraner breeders. (This also cuts out most of the websites that specialize in shipping puppies, although a few manage to slip through; just ignore them.) Here’s what “Weimaraner breeders in Southern California” looks like on Google:
Ready to get going?! Here are Ten Steps to get you on your way.
- Make a first-pass list. This should include all the breeder contacts you can find by starting with the WCA and in the first two or three pages worth of Google returns.
- Do your initial research. Take a look at who these people are, where they’re located, what they’re all about, and what their criteria is going to be for them to sell you a puppy. Realize that breeders are like boutiques; no two are alike. Know that you’re dealing with real live people who do this because they love the Weimaraner breed. Note: This may take a couple of hours, but it is well worth your time. If you need help figuring out what makes a breeder reputable or irresponsible, read this article; it includes a checklist to make it easy.
- Make a short list. Prioritize/sort your first-pass list based on your first impressions of the breeder. This is because whoever you end up getting a puppy from will be a long-term resource for you; it’s critical you have a good feeling about them. Important: At this point in the process, do NOT exclude breeders who state they don’t have any puppies available when you want to bring yours home. You’re still in due diligence mode and should be connecting with as many people as you can.
- Reach out to breeders on the short list. Come up with a list of questions to ask them. Make an effort to introduce yourself, why you want a puppy, when you want a puppy, and then ask them about their next available litter.
- Ask for additional referrals. Your Google search was a good first-step, but it isn’t by any means exhaustive. There are plenty of breeders out there who don’t have websites and operate entirely by word of mouth. This doesn’t make them bad, just harder to find. In actuality, these are likely the “veteran breeders,” people with up to 50 years of knowledge and expertise. Find them by asking the breeders on your short list to provide you with a few names. Also – Don’t be afraid to pick your phone and call them directly if you have to. Believe it or not, there are a lot of old-school breeders out there who don’t have websites and prefer to be contacted by phone over email.
- Keep a dialogue with potential breeders. Ask them a bunch of questions. Really get to know them. Meet them if you can. Meet their dogs if you can.
- Nail down your timing. Decide on a window of when it’s good for you to bring a new puppy home. It’s perfectly okay if you decide to shift your ideal timing in order to work with your favorite breeder.
- Refine your short list. Now is the time to exclude breeders who won’t have any litters available in your ideal timeframe. Also exclude breeders you decide (after meeting with them or talking to them), that you’re just not a good fit together. Maybe their expectations are entirely different than your own. For example, you already know that there’s no way you’re going to let some breeder co-own your future dog, and that’s a non-negotiable item for you (and for them). Hopefully, you’ve coordinated with them enough to understand their philosophy; you just agree to disagree. It happens; totally okay. Go ahead and take those breeders off your list.
- Send the breeders you don’t select a thank you note. It’s just a nice thing to do. You will have also realized by now that most of us are breeders because we love Weimaraners and we’re more than happy to talk to potential owners even if we can’t place one of our puppies with you. There’s a lot of heart that goes into these discussions. “Close the discussion loop” so you don’t leave the breeders hanging, especially if you were on an interest list.
- Select a breeder. Congratulations, you should be pretty close to getting that perfect family dog you’ve been waiting for!
One final note. Of course, you absolutely don’t have to follow the above exactly as written, but it’s a good guide to get you started and on your way. At the end of all this, the goal is to help you find a happy, healthy little puppy you can share the next 10-15 years of your life with. And, if you have any questions for me specifically, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.
– Kim/Barrett Weimaraners