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I am in the market for a Cairn and have found reading this site to be very helpful and often humorous, as I have owned a couple of dogs in the past but never had a terrier. I have contacted a breeder listed on this site and hopefully am going to see her puppies next week. As I have never purchased a purebred puppy, I would appreciate any advice in terms of what questions to ask the breeder. Should I contact other breeders or wait to see if I like these pups? Also, I've seen many websites where you can purchase a dog and have it shipped to you. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but it makes me nervous to purchase a dog that I have never laid eyes on, in spite of the health guarantees. Am I stuck in the stone age? I was wondering what people's thoughts were on purchasing dogs online.

Thanks for your input.


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As far as the online purchasing of puppies go, I guess I am old fashion too, although I have nothing against it. I personally want to see my puppy in person and hold it, etc. etc just in case there is something that pictures don't show. If the breeder is reputable then this shouldn't be a problem, anyway...shipping or not.

I found this online, but it's pretty good:

Are you a member of the Breed Parent Club, and do you follow the Parent Club Code of Ethics? Do you have a copy of the Code of Ethics I could review?

Do you belong to any breed clubs or breed organizations?

How many different breeds of dogs do you breed? How many litters of each breed do you have in a year? And at what age do you breed your dogs?

What are the known health problems with this breed, and what steps are you taking to minimize the chance of those problems occurring in your litters?

What criteria (tests, accomplishments) do you require of your breeding stock, and why?

Do you have test results (like OFA papers for testing hips) on both parents that I could review?

What requirements must a puppy buyer meet to receive one of your puppies?

Do you require a contract? If so, what are the terms and guarantees? What does your contract say about hereditary problems?, type of registration (limited or full)?, about spaying and neutering?

Do you take your dogs back at any time in their lifetime if a pet owner decides he or she no longer wants the dog?

At what age do you place the puppies in their new home and will the puppies have had their first set of vaccinations before placement

Edited by Amber and the zoo


We're the Cairns of America

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A blunt answer to this one is a big NO!

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER take a shortcut with the purchase of an animal that could be with you for up to 15 years. The decision to acquire a pet is a highly emotional decision. There is a real tendancy for many people to make a rash decision when it comes to these purchases, to need instant gratification. Slow down! Research. Contact and chat with breeders. The healthiest and best representative pets of the breed come from the exhibiting breeders. Brad L. has mentioned several times to go visit local dog shows. You can also contact cairn terrier breeder clubs, who all have representatives for the breeders. If you don't want to go that route, consider giving a rescue cairn a nice home. It would be a good bet that anything sold on the interenet is a puppy mill product.

For a glimpse into the world of puppy mills check out this link: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006...ppy_emills.html

This link address the issue purchasing puppies on line: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006...anada_pups.html

I think you need to do some research. There are many, many threads on this forum concerning how to purchase a cairn. In addition, the internet is full of information. Your research should include knowing everything about the tendancies and personalities of terriers, knowing where these cairns come from and what they were used for. Yes they are cute dogs, but are they the dog for you? You need to know that they are prey driven and feisty pack animals, bred by men in Scotland to flush and kill vermin in packs. When they face the "enemy" they are completely fearless and will not back away, even if that "enemy" is twice their size. This is their heritage and where their terrier tendancies come from.

Thank you for your queston. I apologise that it may seem somewhat blunt. You did the correct thing about posting what was on your mind, and hopefully you'll use this forum to learn about the breed. I do encourage you to do your due dilligence. Again these purchases are highly emotional. Try to temper your enthusaism, set a goal, do your research and find yourself a nice pet that you can live with for a long, long time.

Greg P

Edited by Greg P

Greg and Val Perry

Home of Kula RN CGC, Am. Can. Int'l. CH Cairngorm Coffee Tea or Me RA ME EE2/Can. SE NAJ NAS CGC (Kona), CH Clanmarr's Steele Princess (Hattie) and CH Scotchbroom Thistle The Patriot SE (Sully) Visit: CroftersDream.com

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I did find a breeder online and after several emails and phone conversations, I was interested in a pup from her. I flew up to her place to see her dogs for myself. I was able to see my pup's parents and the breeder's home. There are so many puppies available online. It kills me to see an adorable pup w/ the PayPal logo next to it w/ "Buy it Now" typed under the pup's picture. I can't imagine someone purchasing a puppy this way.

Here are some guidelines I found online that help you w/ what to look for in a breeder.

Look for a breeder who at a minimum:

Keeps her dogs in the home and as part of the family--not outside in kennel runs.

Has dogs who appear happy and healthy, are excited to meet new people, and don't shy away from visitors.

Shows you where the dogs spend most of their time--an area that is clean and well maintained.

Encourages you to spend time with the puppy's parents--at a minimum, the pup's mother--when you visit.

Breeds only one or two types of dogs, and is knowledgeable about what is called "breed standards" (the desired characteristics of the breed in areas such as size, proportion, coat, color and temperament).

Has a strong relationship with a local veterinarian and shows you the records of veterinary visits for the puppies. Explains the puppies' medical history and what vaccinations your new puppy will need.

Is well versed in the potential genetic problems inherent in the breed--there are specific genteic concerns for every breed--and explains to you what those concerns are. The breeder should have had the puppy's parents tested (and should have the results from the parents' parents) to ensure they are free of those defects, and she should be able to provide you with the documentation for all testing she has done through organizations such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals(OFA).

Gives you guidance on caring and training for your puppy and is available for your assistance after you take your puppy home.

Provides references of other families who have purchased puppies from her.

Feeds high quality "premium" brand food.

Doesn't always have puppies available but rather will keep a list of interested people for the next available litter.

Actively competes with her dogs in conformation trials (which judge how closely dogs match their "breed standard"), obedience trials (which judge how well dogs perform specific sets of tasks on command), or tracking and agility trials. Good breeders will also work with local, state, and national clubs that specialize in their specific breeds.

Encourages multiple visits and wants your entire family to meet the puppy before you take your puppy home.

Provides you with a written contract and health guarantee and allows plenty of time for you to read it thoroughly. The breeder should not require that you use a specific veterinarian.

In addition to the above criteria, you'll want a breeder who requires some things of you, too. A reputable breeder doesn't just sell her puppies to the first interested buyer!

The breeder should require you to:

Explain why you want a dog.

Tell her who in the family will be responsible for the pup's daily care, who will attend training classes, where the dog will spend most of her time, and what "rules" have been decided upon for the puppy--for example, will the dog be allowed on furniture?

Provide a veterinary reference if you already have pets or, if you don't have other pets, she should ask which practices you are considering for your new puppy.

Provide proof from your landlord or condominium board (if you rent or live in a condominium complex) that you are allowed to have companion animals.

Sign a contract that you will spay or neuter the dog unless you will be actively involved in showing him or her (which applies to show-quality dogs only).

Sign a contract stating that you will return the dog to the breeder should you be unable to keep the dog at any point in the dog's life.

Edited by toomanypaws

<img src=&quot;http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/maiwag/terriersiggy.jpg" border="0" class="linked-sig-image" />

Beth, mom to Ninja (5), Hannah (7), Abbey (7 1/2), Kiara (10)

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I wouldn't purchase a dog sight unseen online. I think it's fine if you want to explore breeders online, but you should never buy a puppy of anykind without seeing it and obtaining necessary information on the dog. Meeting with the Dam and Sire I think is beneficial, you also want to know the condition of the puppies, how they are being raised, what type of direction they're being given until they come home with you. Responsible breeders do care what happens to their puppies and I find are not offended when you ask a lot of questions and show responsible interest in being a good pet owner. I know I had to sign a contract on both of the girls when I got them - and it went over guarantees of health and genetic defects, breed standards - it also had information about their vaccinations, and free veterinary examination at the place of my choice to ensure that everything was indeed fine. They also asked questions if I had an adequate home, what our lifestyles were like, if we had other pets already in the home. You really want someone that is willing to take the time with you - someone who really cares about the best interests of the puppy they are entrusting you to take care of for a lifetime.

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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Agree with all the above. Would you adopt a child over the Internet? It's a trick question because you might FIND a reputable agency USING the Internet, but you would be unlikely to put a child in your 'shopping cart' and check out using PayPal.

In this day and age, reputable breeders are beginning to have web pages and can be found on the Internet. I will also say that commercial breeders are getting VERY CLEVER and their web sites are more and more giving an appearance of saying "all the right things." This makes it more work for you to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Couple of clues to spot the differences: The pages of hobby/enthusiast/serious breeders tend toward being more like a 'brag book' - they highlight the many accomplishments of their dogs. Commercial breeders list their litters, upcoming litters, scrapbooks of happy customers, list payment and shipping terms, ordering methods etc. One is testimony; the other is advertising.

Particulalry insidious - I've seen 'dedicated breeder' web sites that appear to be focused on a single breed (to toomanypaws point) only to find the exact same breeder with another set (or more) of pages 'dedicated' to a different breed (or breeds). And so on. What are they hiding?

Multiple breeds can be a warning sign, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing. When 'dog people' marry or partner-up, it is not that uncommon for them to come from different breed backgrounds - in some cases a two-breed kennel can be a sign of people thoroughly involved in the dog world. Some very famous (and excellent) Cairns came from two-breed kennels. Again, look to the content and intent of their pages to try to spot the difference.

My bottom line, online is fine for some amount of research. But you need to do your due diligence. Also, once I found somebody I felt was legitimate, I would proceed on as described by others - meeting them, meeting their dogs, learning their history, seeing if this was someone with whom I wanted to form a lifetime bond, etc. Nothing beats personal, live interaction.

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CRCTC: Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club | 🗓️ 2023 Cairn Calendar



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Both of my "kids" came from breeders that I found with in this organization. Though, I trusted the CTCA's listing, I still asked questions of others in the know. Even Bradl. I still met with the breeders and met the pups before I was financially committed. I think we have been very lucky - and have two great kids.

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