Where Can You Get A Collie?
So you're really getting a collie? Great! Now, where are you going to get it from? Here's some ideas to think about.
Breeders and pet stores are usually the two most common places to get a collie puppy. Occasionally a collie puppy can be acquired from a breed rescue and rarer yet an animal shelter. All four of these avenues have pros and cons and I am in no way recommending one over the other because my mom and I encounter puppies and dogs that have been obtained from all of these sources and most have been very fine animals. All I want to do is let buyers have straight information.
Lets start with breeders. Some of the pros with getting a puppy from a breeder include having a searchable background on the litter you are interested in, having an opportunity to see the parents if the breeder is close by and has both, most offer good health guarantees which in some cases can extend to the life of the dog, a lot of breeders also offer guarantees on temperament and on occasion you'll come across breeders who offer benefits such as showing a show quality dog for you and giving private training lessons to you and your pup if you live nearby.
Some of the best breeders will take great pains to introduce many things to their puppies for early socialization learning. They will play a radio or TV, run a vacuum cleaner, have neighbors stop by to visit, let the pups in a kitchen with a running dishwasher and some even take the puppies on daily outside excursions all in an effort to get puppies used to daily life in the modern home. You can often even aquire an older pup or dog from breeders with much of the same gaurentees as a little pup.
One of the few cons to buying from a breeder is price. Because most breeders are out to better the bred they have chosen, it can cost them some serious money to produce to really good litter of pups and as a general rule, the more prominent the kennel name the more a pup will cost though there are many serious breeders out there who will charge substantially less for a pet quality puppy than their show prospects.
Another con to buying from a breeder is if the breeder is to far away for you to drive to pick up the puppy you may have to pay for shipping costs and any necessities needed to do so. If you are to far away to go visit the kennel in person, you have to trust that the breeder is an honest upstanding person who knows their dogs well enough to choose a suitable candidate for your family and has raised the puppy in suitable and healthy conditions.
Pet store puppies are next. Pet store puppies are generally more reasonably priced and because they are visited by store personnel and customers they usually have good "people" socialization skills. If the pet store is close to your home, you can usually visit the puppy a couple of times before you buy it. Most states require pet stores to have some kind of health guarantee but these are often limited. Check with your state to see what kind of "Puppy Lemon Laws" they have before buying.
Some cons to pet store puppies is the sometimes questionable background of the pups. Pet stores are the easiest place for 'puppy mills' to sell their unethically bred puppies since some pet stores do not check the background of the pups brought in to them. While the US Humane Society has done an excellent job in encouraging the government to crack down on these operations, there are still many more out there. You can't see a pet store puppy's parents and other than any papers, you have no idea what they were like. Where I live there was even a small pet store that was found to be giving false pedigree papers to unsuspecting buyers.
Pet store puppies aren't taken outside to go to the bathroom and will sometimes take awhile to house train since they think they are supposed to got to the bathroom whenever they have to and many don't mind going in their cages. Also, if the pup has been in the store to long, it could have socialization or behavioral issues that take a lot of work to handle.
Collie rescue groups will on occasion get in a collie that is about to have puppies or even a mother who already had her pups if the situation is desperate enough, but more often then not you'll find older pups and dogs in their care.
Some pros to puppies and even the older guys in a rescue group, is that many of the people who run these groups are dedicated folks who will often take the time to work with a puppy or dog that may have an issue. Those that know the breed well enough will gauge the temperament of a rescued dog and are usually very careful about placing it in the right home. Rescue groups charge very little for a puppy or dog obtained through them. If you're lucky you might find one that doesn't charge anything!
Cons to getting a pup from a rescue group are lack of parentage history and the sometimes over whelming cautiousness of those who run the group. Some of the groups can make it harder to get a dog than to adopt a ten year old child!
And finally there is the animal shelter. This is a particularly rare place to find a collie in general (usually because the rescue groups are so quick to get them out of there!) let alone a young puppy but it does occasionally happen. Sometimes a mother and her pups are picked up out of an inappropriate home or they are dropped off when the owners can't find enough homes for them all.
The first and foremost pro to a shelter collie puppy or dog is the fact that you may have just saved a life! Please don't kid yourself into thinking that all the dogs euthanized yearly are all grown and had bad problems. Almost half are puppies that just didn't find a home. Many shelters will charge no more than it costs to get shots for the puppy and perhaps half the amount of neutering if they were fixed through the shelter. If the puppy was to young to be fixed then you will probably be asked to sign a contract stating that you will have it done by a certain age and if not the pup will be taken back. Many different shelters have different policies and programs regarding these things so please remember to ask.
Some cons to shelter puppies is the lack of parental knowledge, often times there are not enough workers in a shelter to give a puppy the personal attention it needs to be a well socialized animal, many pups think that relieving itself in its cage is acceptable and may end up back in the shelter when a family discovers this and can't retrain it themselves.
As you can see, there are good and bad things to consider when looking at places to get a puppy or older collie and I am in no way encouraging one more than the others. You must do what is best for your family, situation, personality and needs.