Articles Index/Buying and Selling
Posted 12/18/97



Whether you are interested in purchasing a Norfolk puppy, or have one for sale, there are certain basic issues that must be resolved. First-time Norfolk buyers may be put off when they are asked a series of questions about their experience with dogs, whether or not their yard is fenced or whether they are looking strictly for a pet or have visions of showing. but, an experienced breeder will soon be able to put a potential owner at ease if these critical questions are asked in a straightforward, non-threatening manner.

Potential owners should be prepared to tell breeders whether they live in a country home with a fenced yard, or whether they are city apartment dwellers. While Norfolks are an adaptable breed, some are more suited to city life than are others. Certainly, apartment dwellers will find a lead broken, older puppy that can "get through the night" (over four months of age) easier to cope with than a baby who may need to make a midnight trip to curbside or garden.

And, speaking of gardens, responsible breeders must remind callers, who may have only seen the breed in a colorful book or who are calling on the recommendation of their veterinarian, that these dogs are terriers -- and terriers do love to DIG. For a potential owner who is a fanatic about lawn care, it is only fair to issue strong warnings about the advisability of a separate kennel or run where digging will not be cause for permanent exile.

Puppies are placed at various ages, according to circumstance and breeder preference. If an older Norfolk is being introduced to a new home, or if a puppy is being introduced to an aging household pet, it is important for the buyer to be up front with the breeder so that any problems can be anticipated and any "special" arrangements regarding finalization of a sale can be worked out in advance.

And let's not forget sex. For some reason, the current fashion seems to be recommending females as pets, because they are "more affectionate and never wander."

In Norfolks, at least, this is hogwash! Some Norfolks are cuddlers and some are wanderers, regardless of whether they are male or female. Some long-time breeders swear that males are more honest, more meticulous and more responsible than are females, who are often the true hunters of the breed. In any case, anyone who is serious about obtaining a Norfolk as a pet should also be serious about spaying a bitch or altering a dog. Then, the question of sex can be eliminated, once and for all.

Another issue that is a frequent topic of discussion is whether a puppy is pet or show quality. Actually, all Norfolk breeders produce pets. Some produce pets on purpose, while most serious breeders hope for pets with show potential. Buyers should understand that while having a Norfolk with titled parents is not an infallible guarantee of correct conformation when a puppy reaches adulthood, it is more of a guarantee than getting a pup with no recent winners in its background. A surprising number of people assume that because their dog is "AKC registered" or that it comes with a five generation pedigree means that it will be a sure winner in the show ring. Once again, responsible breeders need to be up front with puppy buyers about what they are getting and why the breeder does or does not consider the dog a potential show specimen.

If a breeder has any doubt about the merits of a given dog for show or breeding purposes, the AKC's limited registration is an option to consider. Some pet owners may not readily understand what the limited registration entails, and some may even balk at purchasing a dog with "restrictions" on the registration, but this is a viable alternative for breeders who are concerned about what happens to their stock. And, the limited registration can be removed should the dog show unexpected promise as it reaches adulthood.

Most pet buyers simply want to own the best example of the breed they can afford. Buyers should realize, however, that even if they are buying "just a pet," that pup has cost the breeder the same amount to feed, house and care for as has its more glamorous littermates.

Placing a Norfolk in a good home, where it will provide love and companionship for a dozen or more years, is serious business. But, when buyer and seller agree, and the carefully nurtured pup climbs into the arms of its new owner, it usually seems that living "happily ever after" is, indeed, possible.


ANTIC, Autumn 1992


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