In February 2017 I started researching for the perfect puppy to complement our family. The last time I was looking for a puppy was over 17 years ago, when the primary source of information on available litters was local newspapers, and you didn’t really know what you would find until you got there. Luckily, after a few visits to see puppies that for one reason or another weren’t suitable, I found a perfect black labrador pup and four weeks later welcomed him home where he brought much happiness for over 14 years.
This time round it was a different experience altogether. There are literally thousands of adverts all over the internet for puppies for sale, and lots of information about different breeds on blogs, breed club websites, large commercial websites, individual breeder websites, and the list goes on. This made researching which breed to get a bit overwhelming and very time consuming. A visit to Discover Dogs at Crufts was a must, to meet breeders and have first hand experience of interacting with the breeds that had made it onto the shortlist.
The decision was reached that a Cocker Spaniel would be the best fit for our family. Now I needed to find the perfect litter for us to choose the perfect pup. This is where I struggled. With thousands of free adverts posted all over the internet I had trouble narrowing down to my specific requirments – a KC registered pup, from working lines, with health tested parents, ideally chocolate or black in colour. I was shocked at the amount of adverts for pups that at best have been bred with not much thought for the heritage of the breed and the health of the pups, and at worst purely for profit, with so called breeders charging thousands for ‘rare’ colours and ‘designer dogs’. And these adverts were obscuring the genuine breeders who put so much care and effort into making sure the puppies they breed are free of genetic disorders that can affect the breed, and have the best chance of growing into healthy dogs with predictable temperaments and characteristics.
After many wasted hours/days/weeks trawling through advert after advert to try to find a pup meeting our requirements, it was through the Kennel Club find a puppy service that we eventually found a breeder who had litter with the characteristics we were looking for. This find a puppy service only provides you with the name and contact details of the breeder, no other info or photos. Luckily the breeder was very good at emailing the information – photos of the parents and grandparents – copies of the pedigree certificates etc. and we could then arrange to view the litter. But every time I contacted a breeder through this, or searched the online classified ad sites, I thought how much time I could have saved if there was a site that only advertises puppies from KC registered parents with all the info you need easily searchable. Yes, there are a few sites that try to do something similar, but none that are as comprehensive and searchable as I needed. So I thought, why don’t I create one? So I did, and here it is!
After a very positive first viewing of the litter, and several visits over the next few weeks to see the puppies grow, our search for our perfect puppy was complete. We had found Bracken – the most beautiful, intelligent, affectionate Cocker Spaniel we could ever wish for.