So you have read all the books, talked with other owners, saw that cute Bulldog puppy in the pet store window... now you are ready to make a ten-plus year commitment to a dog. Please make sure you do understand the commitment needed to raise a dog BEFORE you buy one. Never buy a puppy on impulse or as a Christmas present. On this page we will assume that you have already taken the time to research the breed and made sure you will have the time and ability to care for a pet.
Where do you go to find one? Well first, STAY CLEAR OF PET STORES. If you learn nothing else from this article than that, it was worth the time to read it. You may have heard this advice before and wondered why. The answer is simple: Pet stores buy from pet brokers and puppymills. They will all tell you that they have a special breeder they work with or that the puppies are from a "local breeder", but you can't contact them or even get the breeder's name without buying the dog. No ethical dog breeders will sell to a pet store because ethical breeders want to be the ones to screen the homes to which their puppies go. The puppies in pet stores are acquired from puppy mills through brokers. To learn more about the "business" of raising puppies, please visit our "What is a Puppymill" link and remember as you are reading that this is the origin of the puppies in pet stores. Now that you have identified the breed that suits you and your lifestyle best, its time to find a responsible breeder.
So where DO you find a bulldog puppy? Try our Bulldog breeders link on the home page or you can contact the Bulldog Club of America for a breeder referral in your area, or the American Kennel Club's Breeder Referral Program is a valuable new service designed to assist all members of the general public who wish to acquire a companion animal. You may also talk with the people in your local Bulldog club and get suggestions from them. We have a link on Bulldog breeders you can look at and contact any of them. Nearly every breeder listed on our site is a member of the BCA. Often if an ethical breeder doesn't currently have puppies, they can suggest others who may have a litter. Most breeders will screen you and verify to their satisfaction that you will make a good owner for one of their puppies. This is not only common, it should be expected. Be wary of someone who is willing to sell you a puppy without properly checking you out. Ethical breeders care about where their puppies end up and will be your best resource to answer questions you may have in a week or in five years.
A responsible breeder is the best source for a well-bred, healthy dog. The breeder will carefully select the parents of each litter to emphasize desirable attributes and minimize faults in their progeny. Some people breed dogs only to produce puppies to sell. These individuals have no regard for the advancement of that breed; they are motivated solely by profit. Responsible breeders will never breed a litter without considering the advancement of the breed. Each litter should improve the quality of breeding stock, resulting in Another good reason to buy a puppy from a breeder is that gives you the opportunity to interact with the puppy's siblings and dam, also possibly the sire. You can, therefore, form a general impression of what the future holds for the puppy you take home. Buying from a breeder means that you are part of an extended family. Most breeders expect a call if the dog has a crisis at any stage in its life so they can help you understand and cope with the problem. This can be especially comforting for the first time dog owners who can't even imagine what kinds of questions they'll have in the future.
Visit as many breeders as possible for your breed. Examine the premises to make sure they are clean and that the dogs appear to be well cared for. Puppies should be clean, well fed, lively and friendly, without any signs of illness such as runny nose or eyes, skin sores, or dirty ears or fleas. Your puppy may be sold with a requirement for spay/neuter or on limited registration. Breeders who carefully evaluate the puppies their dogs have produced will want only those dogs who have something to offer the breed to be used for breeding. As the puppy buyer, it is your responsibility to respect the wishes and experience of the breeder. Talk with the breeder and get all the details worked out in advance. A written contract with all terms and conditions carefully laid out and understood by both parties is a necessity. Keep in mind that not all provisions of a contract need to be enforced, but a carefully written document, fair and agreed to by both breeder and purchaser, is the best protection both can have.
While it is possible that a dog acquired through an ethical breeder or through a referral from BCA can turn out not to be of the quality you would wish, working through those channels certainly reduces your chance of disappointment. Every breeder at some point will have a puppy that does not meet the standard or has one of a number of problems. That doesn't make the dog inferior, but you need to know what you are getting. Buy from an ethical breeder and ask questions, look at the dogs, see if things sound right, then make your decision. Below will be some helpful questions to ask a breeder.
Questions to ask a breeder before buying a puppy from him
Are your Puppies A.K.C. Registered?
Do you have the litter Registeration forms now?
Do you have a Pedigree available for me to see or have.
How Long have you been breeding Bulldogs? (if only a short period of time, from where or whom did you learn about bulldogs?)
How many litters have you raised? How many litters has this bitch produced? Are the sire or dam on your premises for me to see? (you should see at least the dam)
Have your pups been check for entropian?
Are you a member of any recognized Bulldog clubs?
What food are you feeding the pups?
Where does the breeder keep his Bulldogs? Inspect their living conditions.
Do you have a sales and/or breeders contract? What type of health guarantee do you offer?
Do you provide some type of "Care Package of Instuctions", to help me care for my new puppy?
How is the puppy being sold, Limited or full registration, and/or a spay/neuter contract?
Do you have a record of the shots, med's, Vet visits, etc., that the pups have had?
These questions should be asked and answered to your satisfaction. The same will apply to the breeders questions to you. It's a great breed and the needs is very simple, give it respect and care, be responsible!
In this day of the Internet it's possible to buy a puppy from another state and have it shipped to you. Keep in mind that doing this requires absolute trust in the other party. Get recommendations, talk with other buyers, and don't skip checking the references. There are many sides to the shipping issue. Some people don't think twice about shipping a puppy based on faith in the breeder, others will only buy a dog this way if they can personally pick up the puppy. Still others won't fly a puppy or adult dog for any reason. It's a personal choice you have to make after carefully checking out the alternatives. There are merits to all sides of this issue. The most important thing to keep in mind is that Bulldogs and heat (and stress) are not a good mix. Part of the formula for decision is knowing the personality and health of the puppy or dog.