The breeders will give your puppy a series of vaccinations against common communicable diseases. They sometimes give the first shots as early as 5-6 weeks of age, although they frequently do not give them before 8-9 weeks of age. Many breeders (and Vets) differ on what is the appropriate timing for the shots.
If they give shots at around 8-9 weeks, the shots are usually given in a series of three, spaced a month apart and provide combined protection against distemper, infectious hepatitis, kennel cough, Parainfluenza, parvovirus, and sometimes leptospirosis. A series of shots is required, since the maternal antibodies, which are transmitted thought the mother's milk and protect the puppy from birth, may interfere with getting immunity from the shots. The multiple shots ensure that the vaccination will take effect shortly after the maternal antibodies lose their strength. At four months, your puppy will need vaccination against rabies.
By the time you get your dog, he will have been inoculated against some or all of the diseases discussed. Shots should be renewed on a set schedule to ensure continued immunity. Your breeder will let you know what shots your dogs got and when he got them. Your Vet will tell you when the next shots are due and which ones to get. Be sure to follow-up with your Vet to make sure inoculations are kept current. If you take those simple precautions, your dog will probably never have any of the diseases against which they vaccinate him.
If your dog will be coming in contact with many other dogs (either in shows or in a kennel) they recommend the widest range of inoculations.
Rabies is a fatal disease of warm-blooded animals and is a growing problem in the United States today, especially in the Northeast. Any wild animal that appears friendly, lets you approach it, or froths at the mouth should be avoided as suspect.
State laws require vaccination against it, but differ on the frequency of the vaccination. In New Jersey, vaccinations boosters must be given every year. In New York and Pennsylvania, a three-year vaccine is permitted. The live virus provides longer-lasting protection.
The protocol below was accepted by all 27 veterinary schools in the United States.
Know the Core and Non-Core Vaccines. Recommendations about core and non-core vaccines have changed. Core vaccines that every dog should receive include parvovirus, canine distemper, rabies and adenovirus-2. Non-core vaccines depend on your dog's age, geographic location and lifestyle.
Annual vaccinations. Many vaccines don't require annual boosters because immunity can last for years. Other vaccines are essential for puppies but aren't necessary for adult dogs who have strong immune systems and are less likely to contract the disease. Rabies shots, however, should always be kept up to date. Guidelines and laws for rabies vaccinations vary from state to state.
Risks vary by region. Some vaccines, like those for Lyme disease and rattlesnake bites, are only relevant if your dog lives in a high-risk area.
Lifestyle. House pets and urban dogs who aren't exposed to wild animal habitats and the outdoors may not need the same vaccinations for diseases as dogs used for hunting, herding or outdoor activities. Dogs that aren't exposed to other dogs in kennels, colonies or dog shows may not need vaccinations against bordatella or coronavirus.
Talk with your veterinarian about the highest risks for your dog based on location, age and lifestyle in order to find the best vaccination schedule.
Summary of AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines
Recommended Core and Non-Core Vaccines