The recent news that the sale of puppies and kittens by pet shops and dealers is to be banned is without doubt good news in the fight against puppy farming.

A puppy curled up sleeping

Sleeping puppy

Unfortunately, that still leaves many unscrupulous or ignorant breeders who are selling poor quality, unhealthy puppies to unsuspecting families purely for the money.

There are of course lots of responsible breeders who care for their dogs well, choose their lineage properly and produce puppies to improve the quality of their line. They will be happy to provide Kennel Club registration documents, records of vaccination, microchipping, worming and other treatments and, depending on the breed, health testing results.

A good breeder will not be worried about you asking lots of questions and will be more than happy to answer them.  They will be concerned about where their puppy is going and will ask you lots of questions too.

So, how do you know the difference?

It can be difficult as some unscrupulous breeders can be well practiced at hoodwinking,  but there are some things to avoid:

  • A puppy advertised on auction sites or “buy anything” social media groups.
  • An inexperienced breeder with a female dog, who mated her with a friend or neighbours male dog because they look cute together.
  • Puppies from mating of siblings or parent and offspring – inbreeding can lead to health problems.
  • A breeder who won’t let you see the puppy or it’s mother – it is not uncommon to not see the father.
  • A breeder who will deliver your puppy to you or will meet you in a car park etc
  • Puppies kept in cramped, smelly, dark or unhygienic conditions.
  • Don’t be coerced to buy a puppy because, it’s the last one, she’s the smallest, he gets picked on by the others, he does have a limp but he’ll grow out of it etc.
  • If the puppy is cheap, there is a reason – an unscrupulous breeder may try to fob you off with an excuse like someone brought him back because they don’t want him any more.
  • If a puppy is described as being a rare, exclusive or desirable colour, check the breed standard with the Kennel Club before you buy.  Sometimes colours which are not recognised in the breed standard may indicate health conditions or cross breeding.  These “rare” colours are often offered at a greatly inflated price by unscrupulous breeders to make more money.
  • Don’t buy a puppy with any obvious health problems, deformities or behavioural issues-  it could end up costing you a lot of money and heartache as well as a lifetime of problems for the dog.  It is rare that anyone has the heart to return a puppy when a health problem is discovered at their first vet check and unscrupulous breeders know this.

ALWAYS walk away if you are in doubt – there will be a puppy out there for you, it just may not be the one you are looking at right now.


Need more help?

We recommend you get your puppy vet checked within a day or two of purchase, even if they are too young to be vaccinated.  Observe the puppies behaviour, toileting and eating habits as your vet will ask about this during the health check.  Your vet can also offer advice about choosing a breeder – they may even know some reputable ones.

The RSPCS produce a useful guide to buying a puppy which contains some questions you could ask a breeder before purchasing a puppy. It can be found by following this link

Information from the Kennel Club about finding a puppy, breed colours and breed standards can be found by following this link

It is also very worthwhile considering adopting a dog from a reputable shelter –  there are always dogs looking for their forever home.