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Before you buy a dog

People have many reasons for wanting a specific breed. Selecting a breed because of its appearance is fine, but make sure that you appreciate the other traits–such as personality, intelligence and trainability, energy level, purpose (hunting) for which the dog is bred, and grooming/upkeep etc–that go along with the appearance.

Welcoming a new dog into your life can be exciting and rewarding, but it is also a responsibility. Buying a puppy is an investment in a long-term relationship that can last 12 or more years. Looking for a preservation breeder is a worthwhile investment of your time. (How Do You Find a Responsible Breeder).

Questions to ask yourself

If you have decided you want to add an Irish Setter to your family, consider your lifestyle, situation, and expectations of what life will look like with a new dog.

  • What is your daily schedule like (commute, work, evening engagements, flexibility of schedule)? 
  • What amount of time are you willing to invest to train a puppy/dog? How long do you expect housebreaking and learning basic house manners to take?
  • What is your current lifestyle like (what activities do you typically do)?
  • What activities do you want to do with your dog? Companion that is ambassador for the breed in the community? Therapy work? Agility or other performance events? Showing? Hunting?
  • What is your living arrangement? Are there any rules or restrictions related to dogs?
  • How do you plan to ensure the dog gets enough exercise every day?
  • Do you anticipate any big changes–like moving, adding a baby–etc. in the next 1-2 years?
  • What are the personality traits that are most important to you?
  • Are their physical features that are important or unimportant to you?
  • If something happened to you, either temporarily or long-term, who are the people in your life you would count on to care for your dog?

Visit our FAQ page for answers to common questions about living with Irish Setters.

Questions to ask when searching for a specific dog

  • Are you working with a preservation breeder? Is this important to you?
  • How far are you willing to geographically search/travel?
  • Are you interested in only one sex, or would you be happy with either?
  • Are you interested in only a puppy, or would a slightly older puppy or retired show dog be a possibility?
  • What is your ideal timeline to bring home a puppy (as soon as possible, next 6 months, next year etc.)
  • Are there certain times of year you would prefer a puppy and is this the most important criteria?
  • Are you willing to wait for the right puppy?
  • What do you think is a fair price for a well-bred dog?

There are relatively few well bred litters available at any given time. Be prepared to wait for the right puppy.

Questions buyers should ask of breeders

  • What do you do to socialize your puppies?
  • What can you tell me about the temperaments and personalities of the sire and dam?
  • What health clearances have been done on the sire and dam? Where are the results of the health clearances recorded?
  • When you did this breeding, what were you hoping would come through in the puppies?
  • What are the best features of the puppy’s dam? What features were you looking to improve?
  • Why did you choose this sire for this litter?
  • Did you get what you predicted in advance of the breeding?
  • How consistent are traits across the litter?
  • Do you have a contract for puppy buyers?

Breeders will ask questions of prospective buyers

A Breeder will be interested in you, because they are interested in their dogs. Breeders have invested a lot of time and care to raise a puppy; it is only natural they should care where and with whom the puppy will spend its life

Most breeders will have a number of questions to ask of you, and many use questionnaires, including us. Sometimes breeders have several prospective homes, and need to evaluate which puppy/dog will be the most appropriate placement. For example, the dog that wants to be a good sofa sitter is ill placed if the prospective buyer wants a higher energy dog.

Our first step is a questionnaire that is designed to help us get to know you better and what kind of dog you are interested in. We select puppies or available adults for buyers based on the new owner’s expectations and plans for their new dog.