When we first started doing our research for a puppy, we asked you, our readers, for input. Almost everyone suggested we rescue a dog. This makes sense, given that we have a very compassionate group of followers–moms, dads, and grandparents who love children, animals, and our planet.
Like many of you, my husband, John, favored rescuing a dog. I, on the other hand, have always favored purebreds from reputable breeders. We may end of with one of each at some point. For now, I “won” this match, and we settled on an English Field Labrador.
Read on to learn why we chose a purebred dog, and to meet Koa, the newest addition to our family. I also share about our favorite dog training books.
Our last dog love, Mele.
It has been 5 years since our dear dog, Mele, died at age 15. She was a pure bred Welsh Corgi. I discovered Corgis when I fell in love with Tasha Tudor’s books when I was raising my children in Vermont. I love Tasha Tudor’s illustrations, her gardening books, and her children’s books, which feature Corgis under foot. She always owned at least three!
Mele (which means “merry” in Hawaiian) was a great dog and we still miss her terribly. Working at Gimme the Good Stuff allows John and me to be home or in the warehouse every day, so after several years of missing Mele, we decided that this was the perfect time to get another dog.
Why I wanted to get another purebred dog
There are so many good reasons to rescue a dog that my reasons for wanting a purebred may sound shallow to you, but here goes:
- I wanted a puppy that I could raise and train from a young age. It can be more difficult to find a rescue puppy.
- I was looking for a specific temperament. With purebred dogs, you can reasonably predict what the puppy will be like as an adult. We got Mele, the Corgi, because I was looking for a small dog with a more mellow big-dog personality, and that is what she grew up to be. Now that I am older, I want a big dog that won’t be too much for me to handle. It can be much harder to predict what a random-bred puppy will grow up to be.
- I wanted a puppy that had good influences from the very beginning. Random-bred litters are more likely to be unwanted and the puppies are more likely to be raised without the consistent care administered by dedicated breeders. As with human babies, the care that puppies get in the first 16 weeks of life can be critical to their long-term development. If done wrong, this can create problems that are very challenging to deal with.
- I wanted a specific breed. I generally like big dogs more than small ones, and I’ve always loved Field Labs. I grew up with them because my father was a duck hunter. When I learned about English Labs recently, I realized that they fit the type of dog that I’m looking for. They’re calmer and generally more relaxed than their American Lab counterparts, and tend to be easier to train. As you can see in the picture on the right, Koa already likes to chill out at my feet!
The breeder matters, too!
Not all purebred dogs are created alike, of course. How they are bred and how they are raised in the early weeks are really important factors, so we decided to with a reputable breeder, Endless Mountain Labradors.
We visited the Endless Mountain Labradors before deciding on our lab. Endless Mountain Labs is a wonderful breeder and breeds labs specifically for their temperament. Donna Stanley, the proprietress, has YouTube videos with lots of great tips on raising dogs, rescue or purebred.
She also makes these essential oil blends. We tried the Calm Puppy Blend for his first few nights in our home in the kennel. He slept all night!
One of the problems with purebred dogs is that they often suffer from diseases specific to their breeds. Reputable breeders work hard to correct these problems. Our puppy, for instance, was selectively bred and cleared with seven genetic screenings.
My favorite books on dogs and dog training
Either a rescued dog or a purebred dog can become an ideal companion provided that the right elements are present. Good training is one of these essential elements. I have been reading the books by the Monks of New Skete, who train German Shepherds and write great books on training and raising puppies.
I’m also reading The Art of Raising a Puppy as we begin the journey of raising Koa to be a companion and friend. It’s very important that he be well trained so that he will be welcome anywhere. I see so many wonderful dogs who are a nuisance because of their owners. How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend is another great book from the Monks of New Skete.
I will continue to blog about our journey and let you know how it goes. Thank you for your input and support.
Please share your puppy and dog stories with us. We love to hear from our readers! I am learning that a lot of our readers are dog lovers too, and look forward to sharing more about organic doggy beds, nontoxic toys, and more!
To your health (and the health of all your fur babies!),