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Puppies for sale in your area

When you're buying a puppy, it's vital to know you're buying a healthy, happy animal from a good breeder. Farms across Europe are breeding puppies at alarming rates, in appalling conditions, and transporting them to homes in the UK to sell. These normal-looking homes are a shopfront for unscrupulous puppy dealing rings who want to sell you a puppy who's likely to be sick and traumatised. But what are the signs to look out for?

Close-up of two mixed-breed puppies faces

Spot online adverts from puppy dealers

Dealers use the internet to their advantage when it comes to advertising and selling farmed puppies. 87% of puppy trade calls we get are about animals bought over the internet.

If you're looking to buy a puppy, make sure you read adverts carefully and look out for these telltale signs that something may be amiss:

  • Same contact number on more than one advert. Try Googling the number to see if it's been used on any other puppy adverts.
  • Descriptions may have been copied and pasted and used on more than one advert. Try Googling the text and see if it's been used before, word-for-word.
  • Words like 'miniature' and 'teacup' can be a sign of dealers trying to capitalise on popular terms.
  • Photos of the puppies may have been used in other adverts. Right-click on the photo, select 'search Google for image' and see if it's been used on other ads.
  • Vaccinated early. If the advert says a puppy has been vaccinated, check how old he or she is. A puppy cannot be vaccinated before they're four to six weeks old. If someone's advertising a three-week-old vaccinated puppy, they're lying.
  • Pet passport? If the puppy is advertised as having a passport, it has most probably been imported.
  • Are they really Kennel Club registered? We've seen dealers claim they're Kennel Club registered to help them look legitimate, but be wary of this. Ask for original documents and check with the Kennel Club before buying a puppy.
  • Promises of 'free insurance' and 'puppy packs'. These don't mean the advert is from a legitimate breeder.

If you see a suspicious advert, please report it to us so that we can investigate. For more information, see our puppy trade campaign.

Finding a good puppy breeder

While looking out for these signs can help you identify a bad breeder's advert, there's still more you can do to ensure you aren't funding the cruel puppy trade and to ensure you're buying a healthy, happy puppy.

Follow our top tips to finding a good puppy breeder, which include questions to ask the breeder and things to look out for when meeting your puppy.

Could you rehome a rescued dog?

Don't forget, you can also rehome a dog from us. Every year, we rehome thousands of dogs and each one comes microchipped, neutered and with a complete health check. You can even filter the dogs in our care by breed, age and more.

Find out more