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Choosing a healthy, happy puppy

When you've found a puppy you like, work through this checklist of what to look out for to make sure you've chosen a healthy, happy puppy.

  • Eyes: should be clear and bright, with no sign of dirt or redness.
  • Ears: should be clean with no smell or signs of wax inside that could mean ear mites.
  • Nose: should be cold and slightly wet, with wide open nostrils.
  • Breathing: should be quiet and effortless with no snoring, coughing, grunting or wheezing.
  • Skin: should be clean, dry, with no signs of soreness or folds that can become infected.
  • Mouth: should be clean, with white teeth and pink healthy gums.
  • Fur: should be shiny and soft with no sign of fleas.
  • Legs: should be strong and sturdy, with no limping or difficulty walking.
  • Bottom: clean and dry under the tail.
  • Ribs: not visible.

Your chosen puppy should also be bright, active and friendly. Avoid a puppy that appears timid or afraid, as you may well find that they experience behavioural issues later in life.

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.

Before you do, there's one more thing you can do to help ensure that you're buying from a responsible breeder. Ask your chosen breeder to complete the Puppy Contract 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 trade and sadly, another puppy will just take their place. Instead, walk away and report your concerns to us immediately.

Taking your new puppy home

Bringing a new puppy home can be exciting and a bit daunting at the same time. To help ensure you get off to a good start, take a look at our guide to your puppy's first year.

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