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Old 04.12.2017, 20:37
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Buying a puppy in Switzerland or UK?

Hi Everyone,

I have recently moved to Switzerland but am not a resident and am on an L work permit. I am wanting to get a Labrador puppy in April but I was not sure what the procedure was in Switzerland.

My original plan was to go back to the UK and buy the puppy and spend a few months in the UK before driving it back to Switzerland (with all the necessary jabs, microchips and passport of course.)

Of course, it would be much easier to buy the puppy in Switzerland however I gather it is quite a complicated procedure?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04.12.2017, 20:56
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Re: Buying a puppy in Switzerland or UK?

If you have an L permit you're a resident - you don't get the permit otherwise.

First, does your work give you enough time to look after a puppy? They're pretty much 24/7 and unlike the UK you can't just go off to work in the morning and leave them alone all day here. There are rules and regulations on animal welfare which you should find out about. There's the SKN dog ownership course for a start - although no longer mandatory for dog owners it's still a good course to do to understand what Switzerland expects from you when owning a dog. Then there's your cantonal and commune/gemeinde rules as well. You need to know if or when a dog has to be on a lead, whether it has to wear a muzzle, etc.

Second, does your accommodation here allow pets? This should be checked with your landlord/agency before going any further. Try and get it written into your rental contract that a dog is allowed. And be prepared to agree to add doggy damage cover to your personal liability insurance - it only costs a few francs more each month.

Third - unless you'll be available to come home at lunchtime to feed and walk your puppy you'll probably need to employ a dog walker to do this.

Fourth - why a puppy? There are many, many dogs - old and young - looking for new homes in the various animal shelters here so why not consider giving them a new forever home? You can search here to see if there's anything that appeals to you:

https://www.tierdatenbank.ch/de/tiere.html

If you decide to go down the purchasing route - either here or in the UK - make sure you contact a reputable breeder. There are many unscrupulous breeders out there more than happy to take your money so check with the relevant breed associations to find a reputable one. If you buy in the UK use this to make sure you have done all the necessary steps to be able to bring your dog home with you.

http://blv.bytix.com/plus/dbr/default.aspx?lang=en

If it sounds complicated, well here it is. The Swiss take animal welfare seriously which, imho, is a good thing. All to often it's the poor dog who'll end up paying the ultimate price because of a bad owner. Please think very carefully about whether a dog/puppy really fits into your lifestyle.

Also understand that with an L permit you can only be out of the country for a maximum of 3 months before the permit becomes invalid.
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Old 04.12.2017, 21:28
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Re: Buying a puppy in Switzerland or UK?

Thankyou for your response ! Don't worry it is not my first rodeo- Of course I have time for a puppy- it is not a decision I make lightly. I have owned dogs in the past and have a property with a dog proof garden and a generous landlord! I work from home and have plenty of dog walkers available in my area whom I know and trust.

My question was mainly regarding the actual purchasing process.
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Old 04.12.2017, 21:41
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Re: Buying a puppy in Switzerland or UK?

Well, Meloncollie is our resident dog expert so hopefully she'll be along with more info for you soon. By googling I found this:

http://www.retriever.ch/welpen/zuechter/labrador

which seems to be the association overseeing labrador breeders here. I would get in touch with them to find out if there are any local breeders near you and then contact them directly. There's usually a waiting list for puppies so you need to make contact early to get a foot in the door.
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Old 06.12.2017, 14:20
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Re: Buying a puppy in Switzerland or UK?

Let me start by saying that the breeding world isn't my thing. The breeders I know are relationships developed via my rescue work, what I've been told about 'how it works in Switzerland' comes from their stories, as well as stories from colleagues who have purchased puppies here.

Also my world intersects with the breeding world in a few breeds, but so far I don't have contact with lab breeders. So again, bear in mind that some of my comments might not reflect what you may encounter.

I do, however, know a fair amount about the unregulated, evil side of the dog trade in Switzerland.

So with that in mind:

Key is finding a responsible ethical breeder, and staying away from the 'dark side'.

There are some universals to look out for in assessing a breeder, many of which are detailed in this thread:

https://www.englishforum.ch/pet-corn...e-breeder.html

This thread will give you some good pointers as to what to look for here.

---

The problem of the 'Hund Mafia', battery farming, dog smuggling, and plain ol' irresponsible idiots tossing two dogs together without any understanding of genetics or health, is a growing concern in Switzerland.

Swiss buyers are often, sadly, quite naive. There is a tendency here to think that 'because Switzerland' there is some magical shield against the dark side. This naivety, combined with Swiss wealth and lax animal welfare attitudes*, actually makes Switzerland a target for the bad actors in the business. Knowing that some Swiss buyers will shell out thousands for a puppy without due diligence, again 'because Switzerland', the Hunde mafia laugh all the way to the bank.

So if anything, you need to keep your spidey senses set to high, do your due diligence carefully. There are bad actors aplenty here, these are just a bit more sophisticated.

Here's a thread on the topic of the 'dark side', one thankfully with a happy ending:
https://www.englishforum.ch/pet-corn...cts-puppy.html

---

I bang on and on about the dark side because of the damage that inscrupoulous breeders have done to our dogs. If you have not owned labs before, please first start researching the various health issues, HD especially, as well as temperament issues. A good breeder first and foremost breeds for the good of the breed, putting emphasis on genetic health and sound temperament before any other consideration.

(The EF expert in all things Labrador is Papa Goose, by the way.)

---

So in looking for a responsible breeder the SKG breed club, linked by Medea, is a good place to start. Breed club members should all adhere to the club's code of ethics, but again - do your due diligence. Membership is a starting point, not a blanket endorsement.

(BTW, there are a few responsible, ethical breeders who have made a decision to work outside the club, for various legitimate reasons. If you find one of these, just be sure you understand why that path was chosen, and understand the ramifications.)

Start by contacting the breeders you have researched and believe have the right approach to breeding for health and temperament. The Züchwart of the club will have a list of all litters born or planned, this information is often on many club websites as well.

But be aware that once the puppies are born you may be too late. Establishing a relationship with the breeder is usually necessary, often well in advance. In some breeds it can take months or years in order to be 'chosen' for a pup.

The breeds I know tend to have very small litters, infrequently, and there are few breeders active anymore. Thus demand always outpaces supply - so it is common for breeders to interview prospective buyers well ahead of even a mating to draw up a list of potential candidates.

Often more people are selected at the first assessment stage than expected puppies. Once the litter is born the breeder then usually invites those on the candidate shortlist to meet the parents and pups for further assessment - then choses the lucky 'winner'. It is not uncommon for there to be many candidates for each pup - which means that one needs to be prepared for disappointment.

The breeder is doing the right thing for the pups by a rigorous selection process, but I imagine it can be heartbreaking to meet a pup and then be told you didn't make the grade.

Now - again, my breeds are not labs. Labs tend to have larger litters, and there are more lab breeders in general, so you might not run into this sort of process. Be prepared, ask upfront what the decision process will be - and be ready to put your best foot forward.

---

You might also consider looking for a breeder in Germany. The FCI club in Germany is the VDH:
http://www.vdh.de/home/

A quick scan o their site shows two lab breed clubs:
http://www.vdh.de/welpen/zuechter/mverein?id=113
http://www.vdh.de/welpen/zuechter/mverein?id=124

I am less au fait with breeding in France - but here is the link to the French FCI club:
http://www.fci.be/fr/members/members.aspx?iso=FR

---

So... whether to find your pup in the UK, in Switzerland, or elsewhere in Europe - really that is up to you. All I can plead for is to do it the right way, with a responsible breeder. The only way to defeat the Dark Side is to stop people from buying puppies from these evil bar stewards.

If you do buy from outside Switzerland, follow the import regulations Medea links. Be aware of the age issues. A pup too young to be fully vax'd can be imported with specific supporting documentation - but please, please do it right! Improper importation can, worst case, lead to the dog being seized and euthanized. The papers regularly runs stories of idiots being caught, the poor innocent pups then have to be killed.

When you get to that stage, pop back here if you have any specific questions.

---

It will be important to follow the rules once you get your pup here as well. The new(ish) AMICUS database traces the pup from birth to death. A breeder outside CH will not know the process, so if you are importing make sure you have the requisite paperwork to satisfy AMICUS from the breeder before you bring the pup here.

https://www.amicus.ch/Account/Login

Registration in the database must be done by your vet, within 10 days. If you don't yet have a vet, find one as soon as you know the pup is coming to you.

You also need to regisger the pup with your Gemeinde, and pay the annual dog tax. The dog tax is ca 150 per year, but varies significantly by canton/Gemeinde. Speak to the folks at yours for specifics.

Dog control law is generally the compentency of the cantons and Gemeinden, and varies widely by canton/Gemeinde. Make sure you know what is expected of you in your canton/village.

The law in VD (Verbier is VD, oder?)
https://www.vd.ch/themes/vie-privee/...ce-des-chiens/

Be aware that you will need liability insurance.

---

And then there is training the pup once he's here... While the mandatory SKN courses have been abolished at the federal level, there are still courses required at the in some cantons. A quick scan shows that VD does not require courses, but I'll toss in my standard plea:

Training is key to being a good canine citizen and good owner. Expectations here might be different from what you are used to elsewhere, so I encourage all owners to get involved in regular training.

As a replacement for the now-abolished SKN, a new set of courses, purely voluntary, are being offered starting in 2018, the National Hundehalterbrevet: See this thread here:
https://www.englishforum.ch/pet-corn...g-program.html

I think it's a good idea for anyone new to dog ownership in Switzerland to take the theory course prior to a pup coming to you, as again there are things you will likely find quite different here.

And of course you'd want to start with a puppy course. Finding a good Welpenförderungkurs also takes some due diligence. You could start with the list of trainers on the Vaud site, here:
https://www.vd.ch/themes/vie-privee/...canins-agrees/

There are many course/training activity options available in Switzerland. Whether sports or socialization, you can find a group you feel comfortable in. Just ask any dog owner you meet, that's the best way to learn what is available in your area.


---
And a last idea, 'cause it's my thing:

Should you think that you could offer a home to a pup or dog in need, keep an eye on the Swiss wide database of homeless critters - who knows someone there might steal your heart:
https://www.tierdatenbank.ch

And a labrador rescue, based in Germany:
http://www.retriever-in-not.de/notfaelle.html

(There are other breed rescues in Germany, btw.)

---

So a long-winded post, but there's a lot to think about when looking for a puppy.


Wishing you and your future furry friend all the very best.




* Yes, Switzerland has some impressive animal welfare regulations on the books. Where Switzerland falls down, though, is enforcement. Often regulations are ignored, winked at, selectively enforced. Much of animal welfare is based on the hope that people will follow rules voluntarily, and so few resources are allocated for enforcement. Combine that with an attitude not uncommonly found here that that 'any rule that I personally dislike cannot possibly apply to me', and you have the present situation where wrt animal welfare IMO all that glisters is not gold. It's as if, having put the regs on paper, the Powers That Be then said 'Job done, back to sticking our heads in the sand.' Switzerland can do better - and I hope that one day it will.
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Old 06.12.2017, 16:04
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Re: Buying a puppy in Switzerland or UK?

Hi Meloncollie!

Thank you so much for your response it was incredibly helpful. I am very much open to adoption as well as purchasing. I have had a look through your site -https://www.tierdatenbank.ch/fr/animaux.html and have certainly seen a few furry faces I like. I would love a puppy as I have had a puppy in the past and I fully understand and enjoy the training process that is involved (as stressful as it is sometimes)!

Ideally I would like to get the dog in Switzerland as it is less of a journey for the dog to get home. By the way Verbier is Valais not VD, is the SKN mandatory in VS?

If I choose to adopt what would the process be? Will I have had to be a citizen for a minimum amount of time? How far in advance should I look? Ideally I would like to pick the dog up in April!

In terms of puppy classes and training there is a 'pet community' page on Facebook for our town which is very useful and I have already met with some dog owners who can point me in the right direction!

Sorry for all the questions. It is very important to me that I have all the facts.

BW!
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Old 06.12.2017, 16:37
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Re: Buying a puppy in Switzerland or UK?

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If I choose to adopt what would the process be?
A quick search of the forum will bring you lots of resources. A good starting point for adopting is this thread:
https://www.englishforum.ch/pet-corn...ue-centre.html
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Old 06.12.2017, 17:17
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Re: Buying a puppy in Switzerland or UK?

ijwalker, the SKN course is no longer mandatory anywhere in Switzerland. This was a federally mandated course, but they decided a little while ago that because only 4 out of 5 owners were doing it, it wasn't up to scratch (go figure) and they dropped it. You can still do it, it comes in two parts: a theory which can be done in English and a practical which you do with a trainer. It's still a good intro to Swiss dog ownership and the practical bit let's you meet up with others and make new friends - human and doggy. The new course is a voluntary one at the moment, but as MC said you need to check with your commune admin office on what, if any, courses may be required at cantonal and communal levels.

Adoption shouldn't be too difficult, there's no minimum residency period before you can adopt as far as I know. Some shelters do work on the principle that you are only "loaned" the dog for its lifetime and they keep the actual ownership. Providing your accommodation/arrangements meet their requirements it should be possible to adopt here. Check with the individual shelters on what their various policies/requirements are:

http://www.spavalais.ch/

http://www.tierschutzoberwallis.ch/
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Old 06.12.2017, 20:15
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Re: Buying a puppy in Switzerland or UK?

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. By the way Verbier is Valais not VD, is the SKN mandatory in VS?
Oops, I really should get out of my Innerschwyz bubble more...

(Actually, I've been boycotting Valais since 2006 when they instituted a draconian BSL and started killing puppies, but that's another story. And my personal boycott of course did not make one whit of difference. But those dark days are largely gone...)

Labs are fine in VS, they are not on the list. Do, though, be aware of what the banned breeds/mixes are just in case something else tugs at your heartstrings. You don't want to fall in love and later find you cannot bring the dog into the canton.


As of today, there are no mandatory training classes in VS, but according to an article in Tierwelt the VS parliament is mulling over instituting the a new course mandate, likely the NHB courses referenced above. So keep your eye on cantonal news for updates.

Here's the Tierwelt article:
http://www.tierwelt.ch/?rub=4485&id=45304

The current situation in VS:
https://www.vs.ch/fr/web/scav/veteri...tRedirect=true

And the TIR summary, with links to the actual text of current law:
https://tierimrecht.org/de/recht/hunderecht/wallis/

All the best...
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Old 07.12.2017, 14:19
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Re: Buying a puppy in Switzerland or UK?

My friend adopted from a schelter. If you need the info lemme know

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Hi Everyone,

I have recently moved to Switzerland but am not a resident and am on an L work permit. I am wanting to get a Labrador puppy in April but I was not sure what the procedure was in Switzerland.

My original plan was to go back to the UK and buy the puppy and spend a few months in the UK before driving it back to Switzerland (with all the necessary jabs, microchips and passport of course.)

Of course, it would be much easier to buy the puppy in Switzerland however I gather it is quite a complicated procedure?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08.12.2017, 17:12
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Re: Buying a puppy in Switzerland or UK?

Hi ijwalker

I live in Verbier and I adopted a border collie last year, happy to chat.

This site could help you with finding a reputable breeder http://www.retriever.ch/chiots/eleve...t_language=fr&
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