Sourcing your puppy is a process you should not do on a whim. There is big money to be made from breeding animals, particularly that of sort after dog breeds.
It is a common trend however to see stores, particularly independent businesses, selling puppies in their retail establishments. Not all will be bad stores, but the premise itself is reason enough to steer clear of buying a puppy from them = You would be buying a puppy from a building whose sole aim is to sell stock. The puppy, therefore is essentially a number. Stock.
Whilst there are some unscrupulous breeders who breed purely for profit at the expense of the animals welfare, most breed dogs with the aim to perfect and continue the breed they love. A breeder who only has to look after a single litter in their own home will be more likely to have the animals welfare in mind over a pet store of several pens of litters.
Puppies in pet stores are more exposed than litters raised by a home breeder. The foot fall from strangers in the shop opens up a greater chance that the puppies will be exposed to something bad for their health. The fact that several cages or pens of various litters will be in such proximity with each other means that bacterial viruses are more likely to spread. Parvovirus, referred to as ‘Parvo’ is a life threatening illness that is spread like wildfire between puppies kept close together. A shop floor is the perfect environment for the virus to spread and could cause death within 48 hours.
Since the environment is first and foremost a business, it needs to make money. Breeding a single litter may not always bring an economically viable return for the amount of effort invested and so a shop needing to source cheap puppies might look elsewhere for their animals. Puppies purchased in bulk from puppy farms will undoubtedly come with numerous health problems and may not have suitable paperwork to confirm the quality of the breed.
In a store environment, there is a good chance you will never be able to physically meet the mother and/or father of the litter. Behavioural traits are passed on from parent to puppy and so you want a puppy from a dog that is tame and friendly towards humans. You probably won’t be able to view this yourself in a pet store.
If you do end up buying from a pet store pay close attention to the cleanliness in the room and space the puppies have to move around. Even if the litter pens are across the shop from each other, contaminated items could still be introduced to each pen or crate.
Always ask to see papers. Breeders and pet stores selling litters should have paperwork for each individual puppy that has a record of the mother and father of the litter. This will often include contact information of the owners of the breeding dogs. Ideally the breeders will be registered to the Kennel Club who enforce quality in a breed and make sure the breeder is recommended.
As always, if in doubt – walk out. Don’t let the excitement of getting a puppy cloud your better judgement. You’ll save yourself a great deal of hassle and possible heartbreak in the long run.