The Dos and Don’t of Buying a Puppy

Image of dog being looked after

With the increase in demand for puppies due to lockdown and the well-publicised case of a young puppy dying 4 days after being with his new home; there has been a lot of talk of the process of getting a puppy.  There is now a shortage of puppies and prices have shot through the roof.  With some people struggling for money, puppy breeding can be seen as ‘easy money’.  Sadly, many puppies bought from breeders who are not legitimate or don’t conform to regulations, can have health or behavioural problems.

Here is some advice on what to look for and how to make sure you’re getting one from a legitimate breeder.


• Check the Kennel Club website for KC registered breeders.  All breeders registered with the Kennel Club have to adhere to certain requirements in order to be approved.  This is a great way to start your search and know that breeders are genuine.

• Make sure the breeder is licensed.  It is a legal requirement to have a breeding license from your local council when breeding and selling puppies.  This is even if the puppies are a one-off litter.  The Pets4Homes website has a section for sellers to state whether or not they are licensed.  Ensure that breeders hold a license and are able to provide a license number.

• Check the vaccination records are real.  Puppy farms and rogue breeders are clever and will fake documents.  Ask to see and take a photo of the vaccination card.  Phone or visit the vets that have carried out the vaccinations.  Make sure the practise exists and even go in and show them the photo of the card to make sure they can verify it came from them.

• Do your online research, become a detective.  Google the breeder’s name to see if there are any negative reports about them.  Also search their phone numbers, if they are listing lots of puppies on different sites this is a red flag in itself.

• Familiarise yourself with Lucy’s Law.  This law was brought in to help prevent puppy farming.  It means that all puppies must be sold directly from the breeder, where they were born and where mum can be seen.  This is preventing the use of third-party sellers acting as a go-between to place puppies with buyers.


• Buy a puppy if you haven’t seen mum and seen mum interacting with the pups.  If you can’t, then this raises the question of where mum is and will also go against Lucy’s Law.  Some rogue breeders will use ‘fake’ mums.  These dogs will often show no real interest in the puppies so that is also something to look out for.

• Buy a puppy without seeing the house and set up.  Again, Lucy’s Law states they must be bought from where they were born.  Make sure you’re able to see this and that you’re happy with the set up and how the puppies, mum and other dogs are being kept.

• Meet them anywhere other than where the puppies were born and raised.  Any requests to meet them in a park, car park, friend’s house etc is a huge red flag.  It is both illegal and suspicious.

• Don’t use third party agents to get puppies from abroad.  The journey in itself can be long and traumatic and you have no way of knowing how the dog spent the first weeks of their life, or that they have been properly vaccinated or had the correct health checks.  No matter how genuine agents may seem, it is not worth the risk.

• Take a dog home before 8 weeks or without them being vaccinated or microchipped.  Dogs are not fully ready and developed to leave their mum before 8 weeks and any breeder trying to do this beforehand should be avoided.  Similarly, any seller who hasn’t provided vaccinations or microchips should not be bought from.

• Be pressured into buying.  A respected breeder will want their puppies to go to the best and right homes and will allow you to make the choice in your own time.  Anyone pressuring you into making a decision and handing over money is clearly in it for the wrong reasons.