Buying a puppy
Get puppy smart
So you’ve decided to buy a puppy? How exciting for you and your family to be making the long-term commitment to get a dog.
Have you thought about what type of dog is right for your lifestyle yet? Please take a look at our advice that may help you figure out what kind of dog would suit you and your family best.
Buying a puppy from a breeder
If you've decided to buy from a dog breeder follow our top tips to ensure that you’re buying a happy and healthy puppy.
The RSPCA/AWF Puppy contract can help you avoid becoming another victim of the puppy trade.
Always make sure you see mum and her pups together, and never buy a puppy if you have doubts about the breeder or situation - buying the puppy will only fund their illegal operation.
Please contact us with any concerns about a breeder so we can investigate.
Have you considered adopting a puppy instead? So many puppies and dogs in our care are looking for loving homes - and we’ll help match you with your perfect dog!
Questions to ask the breeder
Before you visit a puppy, it’s recommended to phone and ask some questions first. Here are some examples of questions to ask a puppy breeder:
- Did they breed the puppy?
- Are the puppies kept where they were bred?
- How many puppies are/were in the litter?
- Have the puppies or their parents had any health problems?
- Have the puppies been treated for worms or other parasites?
- Have, or will, the puppies be given their first vaccinations before going to their new homes?
- Have the parents been screened for any inherited problems known to be a problem in that breed?
- Do the puppies have any form of identification, such as microchips?
Download more questions for a breeder (PDF 1.16MB) for more help on what to look for.
Visiting the breeder
When you meet the puppies:
- Make sure you see the puppies’ mum healthy.
- Look for clues that the puppy was actually born there.
- Ask to see certificates of screening for problem diseases, vaccination and microchipping records.
- Check for any signs of illness.
When it comes to choosing your puppy, try and look for a happy interactive puppy. Spend plenty of time with the dog and don't feel rushed, they'll be your responsibility for many years to come.
Taking your new puppy home
When you’ve chosen your puppy, you’ll need to get everything ready at home. You should also find a vet and book them in for a check up.
You'll need to make sure you guide and train them to develop into happy and much loved companions. This is just the beginning of the exciting adventure of dog ownership.
For expert advice on how to care for your new puppy grab a copy of our official RSPCA-endorsed pet-care guides. Each guide is filled with high-quality photos and advice covering all aspects of daily care.