Buying a puppy?

The Edmonton Kennel Club is committed to supporting and improving purebred dogs.  We recommend that you buy from a breeder and not from a pet store or puppy mill. Please take the time to do your research before you buy that “little ball of fur.” You will have years of loving companionship knowing that the dog you chose was the one that was just right for you and your family.

Choosing a puppy?

If you are researching which breed of dog would best suit you and your family, we recommend that you borrow the CKC Book of Dogs from the public library. Once you have narrowed down your choices to three or four breeds, visit as many dog shows as possible and see the dogs and meet the breeders. A visit to a breeder’s kennel to see the breeding stock will soon tell you if the kennel is a clean, businesslike operation. It will also give you an opportunity to visit with the mother and perhaps the father of the puppy you are interested in and check out the temperaments of these dogs. Breeders should be willing to show you pedigrees, health certificates, and copies of contracts. Many ethical breeders only breed when they know they will have homes for their puppies. For this reason, you may have to go on a waiting list.

Don’t be surprised if the breeder questions you on your knowledge of dogs and asks where you will house your puppy, if you have proper fencing, and whether or not you will attend obedience classes with your puppy. A breeder wants to know that their puppy is going to a well-prepared family and that it will have a caring and safe home. If you have no intention of breeding or showing your puppy, the breeder may stipulate that you spay or neuter your puppy. You should receive a registration certificate within six months of paying for your pup. It is against the law for a breeder to ask for extra money for the CKC certificate.

What is a reputable breeder?

A reputable breeder is:

  • a person who raises their dogs in a clean, healthy environment
  • a person who cares for his/her dogs and is doubly careful to whom a dog is sold
  • a person who breeds for the betterment of the breed and with the breed standard in mind
  • a person who breeds only after considering the availability of suitable homes for their puppies
  • a person who has established a good reputation for producing healthy dogs
  • a person who is knowledgeable in their breed, well aware of any specific breed problems and does his/her best to guard against these problems
  • a person who registers all puppies with the CKC as this is the only true indication that the dog is indeed purebred
  • a person who ensures that the dog is checked by a veterinarian and considered healthy before it is sold
  • a person who explains all the conditions of sale and gives you everything in writing before you leave with the dog
  • a person who is willing to give you “after sales” advice such as recommending a boarding kennel, a veterinarian, an obedience school or puppy kindergarten; who will instruct you on grooming, when to get shots, and generally how to take care of your new family member
  • a person who has spent many hours studying and caring for the breed…a person you can trust!

What does a pedigree tell you?

A pedigree is divided into two parts: the top part is the ancestry of the father (stud) of the pup and the bottom part is the ancestry of the mother (dam). A puppy is either linebred or inbred or is an outcross.

  • Linebred: this occurs when one or more of the same dogs appear in both parts of the pedigree.
  • Inbred: this occurs when there has been a breeding of closely related dogs (mother/son or father/daughter, etc.)
  • Outcross: this occurs when none of the dogs appear in both parts of the pedigree.

Any of these methods may be used by a breeder after they have carefully studied the health, structure, and temperament in the dogs—a pedigree. Linebreeding is the most common method, as the breeder can be more sure of the outcome of the breeding.


If you are purchasing a companion/pet puppy, you may be asked to sign an official CKC Non-Breeding Agreement. This Agreement is registered with the CKC and this ensures that your puppy is not used for breeding because the offspring cannot be registered. The best way to guarantee that your dog will not be bred is to have your dog spayed or neutered at an early age.

Your breeder may also have a personal contract that stipulates what health guarantees are given. It is important for you to know what a breeder means by a “replacement puppy” if the health of your puppy becomes a problem. Does it mean refunded money, or another puppy if you return or euthanize the original one? Can you keep your original puppy if it has been spayed or neutered? Will the replacement puppy have the same guarantees?

The breeder may offer you a reduced price if you leave the dog intact (not neutered or spayed) so that he/she can have a future litter or a stud service. These options should be discussed thoroughly with the breeder. A co-ownership contract may be drawn up that outlines exactly what the co-ownership entails, with time lines, the number of litters or stud services, and other details clearly stated. It would be wise to consult with other breeders and owners to get their views on co-ownership.

For more information

For online information for a particular breed or breeders, contact the Canadian Kennel Club’s website  under “Choosing a Dog” which includes a puppy list.  There is also a list of recognized clubs which can give you information on the various breeds.