Finding a good puppy breeder

If you've decided to buy from a dog breeder, you'll want to make sure the puppy you're buying is healthy and happy and that you're not unwittingly funding the cruel puppy trade. Here are some great tips for working out whether you're buying from a responsible breeder or one whose only interest is profit.

A responsible breeder will:

  • Spend time chatting to you on the phone.
  • Arrange a time for you to visit to meet their puppies, along with their mum and siblings, in the place where they were born and raised.

  • Be happy to have more than one meeting to ensure you and the puppy are compatible.
  • Be happy to answer all your questions - and ask you just as many to make sure their puppies are going to a good home.
  • Be happy to show you their Local Authority licence if they're breeding and selling pets as a business (to make a profit).
  • Provide genuine paperwork/certificates for puppy vaccinations, microchipping (which is a legal requirement), worming and any health test results.

A responsible breeder won't:

  • Rush you into parting with cash in exchange for a puppy.
  • Stop you seeing the mother by saying that the mother is at the vet's, asleep or out for a walk. If mum isn't there, then the puppy wasn't bred there.
  • Offer to deliver a puppy to you or meet you somewhere random like a car park.

  • Hand the puppy over before it's 8 weeks old - it's illegal to sell them younger than that.

  • Say 'it's normal for the breed' about health issues such as snoring - all puppies should be born with the best chance of living happy, healthy lives, whatever breed they are.
  • Use Kennel Club registration (or any other registration) as a guarantee of quality or health and happiness.

If anything seems suspicious, it means it is. Check out our tips for spotting adverts from puppy dealers for more on avoiding rogue breeders.

Visiting the breeder and choosing your puppy

When it comes to choosing your puppy, try to look for a happy puppy who wants to interact with you, and check out our top tips for spotting a healthy, happy puppy

Spend plenty of time with the puppy and don't feel rushed - they'll be your responsibility for many years to come. Don't buy on the first visit, and use our visiting a puppy checklist to make sure you've asked the right questions.

Use the puppy contract

If you're satisfied that the puppy you've chosen is healthy and happy, and you're confident you've chosen a good breeder, it's now time to think about taking your puppy home.

There's one more thing you can do to help ensure you're buying from a responsible breeder. Ask your chosen breeder to complete the Puppy Information Pack and contract for the sale and purchase of a puppy. A good breeder should be happy to do this.

Remember, if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. Although it's tempting to 'rescue' the puppy, you'll be financially supporting the puppy trade and sadly, another puppy will just take their place. Instead, walk away and report your concerns to us immediately.

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