When we blogged "How Could You?" a few weeks ago we didn't provide any suggestions on where you could go to get advice on buying a puppy or dog. The following might be helpful but the best bet is to talk to lots of people about their experiences of getting and owning a dog.
Read the short essay "How Could You?"and think seriously about whether dog ownership is really for you. (get a tissue and prepare to cry first)
The Dogs Trust has a great website which provides lots of good advice on buying a puppy or dog as well as downloadable factsheets. The Dogs Trust never puts a healthy dog down so they promote rehoming dogs rather than buying from a breeder. With a database of thousands of dogs who are looking for a new home it certainly gives food for thought!
The Kennel Club has a good section which provides advice on buying a puppy or dog. The site includes information on finding the right breed, finding a rescue dog and finding a breeder. Bear in mind that the fact that a breeder is registered with the Kennel Club doesn't in itself mean they are reputable. Always try to find one that comes recommended.
Surprisingly, the RSPCA website doesn't contain much advice on buying a puppy or dog, but does provide a pet finder search from which you can see details of dogs that need a good home in your area. The site does though provide some hard hitting information on puppy trafficking, where puppies are bred in large numbers of profit, often with little regard for animal welfare. You can of course expect to receive plenty of advice before you adopt one of their rescued pets.
German Shepherd Dog Rescue is one of many charities which is dedicated to the welfare of specific breeds. The site does though provide some good general information on what to think about before you buy a dog or puppy.
The English Springer Spaniel Club website is a great resource for anyone thinking about buying an English Springer Spaniel. Take some time to read about the breed as there are two distinct types: "Working" and "Show". Your first decision will be which you would like - ours is the "Show" type. The site also provides a "puppy register" and you can register your details if you want to go on a list which will allow breeders to contact you.
Last but not least, our great Springer came from Melverly Springer Spaniels - Thank you Ray Smith for giving us the best dog we could wish for!
Ultimately, all the web sites in the world are not going to make the decision as to what is right for you. Use some common sense when you are looking for a breeder. Don't buy from a website without seeing a puppy. Always go and visit the breeder - they should be as interested in you as you are in the dog. Be pleased not defensive if they ask you questions about your lifestyle and what you can offer thier dog - they want the dog to go to a good home!