Selling your puppies and finding them a new home

puppy in basket

After you’ve bred a litter, it’s important that you find homes that’ll give your puppies a happy life. Choosing the best owners for your puppies, and making sure they’re suitable, isn’t always easy. To help you, we’ve created this guide on how to attract puppy buyers, what are the tell-tale signs of a good owner and what you need to do to ensure that they will look after the puppy that you’ve cared for since before birth.

When to advertise your litter

The best time to advertise your litter depends on you and the demand for your puppies.

  • Before puppies are born, some breeders, especially those which have a high demand for their puppies, may let people know that they have a litter on the way
  • Other breeders may only advertise once they're born
  • Breeders who wish to use our Find a Puppy service, which lists your puppies for sale on our website can apply to advertise once their puppies are registered with us, usually at 2 weeks old. Waiting until they’re 2 weeks old gives you a little space for things to calm down and lets you enjoy some quality time with your puppies.

Whenever you advertise, remember that your puppies must be with you until they’re at least 8 weeks old; it's the law.

Do I need a breeder’s licence?

You only need a breeding licence if you breed three or more litters a year, or if you advertise as a business that breeds or sells puppies. If you intend to breed more often, you should look into whether you need a licence – you may need to contact your local council about this as they issue licences for dog breeders. Find out more about breeding licences.

How much should I charge for my puppies?

It’s not nice to think of your puppies as a commodity, but if you’re selling them, then you’ll need to know what to charge. How much you sell your puppies for is entirely up to you and will depend on the benefits of your puppies (for instance, do they have parents that have been fully health tested or have succeeded in particular sports, activities or disciplines?), how much it has cost you to care for and raise your puppies, including health testing, and what the demand for them is like. Your most important concern should always be that your puppies find a good home, not how much profit you make.

It’s worth doing your research to see how much other breeders are charging, and think about whether you think this price is reasonable and how the benefits of these puppies compare to yours.

Finding buyers

To help attract puppy buyers, you could:

  • Reach out to friends and family – selling your puppies to friends and family can be an easy way to find homes for your litter. However, no matter who you sell your puppies to, make sure that they''ll be able to look after and care for them as they grow up. If none of your friends and family are interested in buying a puppy, ask if they know of anyone suitable who is.
  • Create a website - If you’re thinking of selling puppies more than once, and would like to build up your reputation as a breeder, then you could try creating a website. Make sure to add photos and create information that shows that you are a responsible breeder, outlining what you’ve done to ensure that your puppies are as healthy and happy as possible. Don’t forget to add information about your current litter and how you can be contacted.
  • Use an online puppy selling site, such as our Find a Puppy service – these websites allow you to create an online advert for your puppies. These are a great way to attract puppy buyers in your area. Find out how to create a Find a Puppy advert.

Advertise on our online Find a Puppy service

Our online service can help you advertise your litter to puppy buyers. Find a Puppy allows puppy buyers to search by breed, location and health screening status to find the perfect dog for them.

Breeders who have registered their puppies with us can advertise their whole litter for a period of two months from only £20. If you are an assured breeder or you are selling vulnerable native breed puppies, the service is free.

If your litter has already been registered with The Kennel Club and you wish to advertise the puppies for sale, please visit your online account where you can request a new advert, or manage existing adverts.

Benefits of Find a Puppy:

  • All adverts are free to view by potential puppy owners
  • Puppies advertised are registered with us, which gives peace of mind to the puppy buying public
  • Over 300,000 searches are made each month by potential puppy owners
  • Find a Puppy lists your town/region and your contact details (name and telephone), but does not give out your address, ensuring that only invited customers can visit you to view the puppies for sale
  • Customers can contact you via a contact form, to prevent possible misuse of your email
  • You can actively manage your advert within your account, including marking individual puppies as sold and removing your advert if you sell all of your puppies before the expiration date

Things to ask your potential puppy buyers

When you sell a puppy to a new owner, it’s important that you know that the puppy will be going to a good home. Your first contact with potential owners, whether that’s over the phone, by email or by direct messages, will give you a first impression of whether they’re a good fit for your puppy (speaking directly to potential owners will give you more of a feel as to their suitability). It’s important that you find out more about them and their situation by asking the following types of questions (either over the phone or asking them to fill in a questionnaire):

  • Find out if they have done their ‘homework’ on their chosen breed. What can they tell you about the breed and what do they know?
  • Ask them what they imagine getting a puppy and owning a dog would be like. Do the owners know what they’re signing up for?
  • Find out if they own, or have previously owned a dog or a pet before – will any pets that they currently have get on OK with a new puppy?
  • Do they have enough time to give the puppy the right amount of exercise they need once they are a fully grown adult?
  • Find out whether they’re just looking for a pet, or whether they may be interested in breeding at a later stage. If you have placed endorsements on the puppy's registration certificate, the new owners will need to agree to these in writing before or at the date of sale. The new owner may also want to compete at events licensed by The Kennel Club
  • Find out how much time they spend at home. It is not necessarily a bad thing if they are out all day, provided the dog isn’t left alone all that time. They may be able to take the dog to work with them, or book a dog walker/sitter on the days they’re away
  • Find out more about where they live i.e., do they have a fenced garden? Some breeders like to conduct a home check before selling a puppy. You could always ask for photographs if it is not possible for you to visit the house in person. Do not always automatically rule out people who live in flats - as long as they are willing and able to walk the dog regularly, they may be able to offer a suitable home
  • Do they have any children? How many people currently live in the house? Try to meet the whole family, including any children, if possible
  • Will they be able to commit to looking after a puppy and give them proper training and socialisation?
  • Find out if the potential owner has the time and inclination to groom an adult dog, particularly for long-coated breeds
  • Would the new owners be happy to keep in touch and give you updates on how the puppy is doing?

Remember to give a puppy buyer a bit of space after speaking to them. This gives them a little room to think and could stop them from rushing into any decisions. Never agree to sell to anyone if you are not sure that their home is right for your puppy and certainly not before you have met them in person.

Meet your puppy buyers

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of buyers, if any seem like a good match for your puppies, make sure that you invite them to meet the puppies. This is a great opportunity for you to answer their questions and get to know each other. It also allows you to find out more about them and show what you’ve done to ensure that your puppies are as healthy and well-adjusted as possible. Watch how they react to the information you give them; if they’re uninterested in the puppies or the information you’re giving them, it could be a sign that they’re not the right owners for your puppies. 

Keeping you safe

Inviting any strangers to your home can be risky, so, to help keep you safe, make sure that you ask them for a picture or a copy of some sort of photo identification before they visit and, where possible, try to have someone with you when you meet them.

Meeting mum

While your potential puppy buyers are visiting, make sure that you give them the opportunity to see the mother interacting with her puppies. This gives puppy buyers the reassurance that your puppies are well cared for and have not been separated from their mother. It also gives them a chance to see their mother’s temperament, which could influence how their puppy behaves when they’re grown up. While they’re visiting, make sure that they can see all of the puppies in the litter, rather than just the puppy they’re thinking of buying. Not only does this allow you to see how these potential owners interact with the puppies, helping you to assess their suitability, but it also gives the puppies an opportunity for socialisation too. You should make sure that buyers are shown where the puppies are kept, where they sleep and where the puppies were born.

Should I ask for a deposit?

Many breeders ask for a deposit if their buyers want to choose a particular puppy. How much they pay really depends on you, but a reasonable amount to pay is usually between 10% and 25%. Make sure that you don’t charge too much for a deposit, as it could put some potential puppy buyers off. Always provide a receipt for the deposit and write on this any conditions or stipulations. Puppy fraud is on the rise and many people have paid a deposit only to never hear from the breeder again, so some people might be wary of paying a deposit.

When should I sell my puppies?

In the UK, puppies can’t be sold before they are at least 8 weeks old. Taking a puppy away from its mum, brothers and sisters too early can affect their behaviour in the long run.

What do I need to do before I sell my puppies?

Before they go to their new homes, we recommend that your puppies are:

  • Socialised – the first 8 to 10 weeks of a puppy’s life are essential for teaching them how to interact with people, dogs and other animals. Introducing your puppies to vaccinated dogs, children and strangers can all help your puppies grow up to be well-rounded dogs. Always supervise children when they’re around puppies. Find out more about puppy socialisation
  • Habituated - as well as getting used to other personalities, it’s important that your puppies are exposed to new sights and sounds. Try taking them into your garden or play music or different noises to them. Let them see the TV and experience the washing machine and hoover
  • Kept clean – you don’t need to bath your puppies, but you do need to make sure that their mum is keeping them clean. If not, you can wipe them down with a wet cloth. Make sure their environment is regularly cleaned and that any faeces or urine is cleaned up
  • Microchipped – it’s the law that all puppies must be microchipped before they are 8 weeks old and that their unique microchip number is registered with a pet reunification database, along with your contact details. Once you have sold your puppies, it is the responsibility of the new owners to change the contact details to theirs
  • Wormed - puppies can be affected by worms, even if they haven’t been outside. It’s important to worm your puppies when they’re young, to help keep them healthy. Puppies should be wormed at least twice, sometimes three or four times before going to a new home
  • Vaccinated – puppies can be immunised against a number of very serious infectious diseases. Talk to your vet about when these should be given

What to give your puppy buyers

When you finally sell your puppy, make sure that you give your puppy buyers:

  • A signed copy of your contract of sale (otherwise known as a puppy contract) - This document protects you and the puppy buyer and ensures that there is documentation of all that was promised and agreed upon. The contract will need to be shared with the potential puppy buyer in advance so that they have time to read and think about the contract before they sign it. A template for a puppy contract can be found on our website. This contract will need to be signed by both parties and should contain:
    • Information about the puppy
    • The new owner’s details
    • Your details
    • Information about any endorsements
    • Whether you have mentioned that the puppy needs to be neutered
    • Any responsibilities or agreements that you and the owner have. Some breeders agree to take the puppy back if they aren’t a good fit with the family
  • Kennel Club Papers - If the dog is advertised as registered with The Kennel Club, you should provide the owner with a registration certificate and your puppy’s pedigree (family tree). The information you give them should also contain information and options on how you can transfer the ownership into your name.
  • Microchipping details – you should supply a microchipping certificate and information on where the microchip’s number is registered
  • Vaccination and worming details
  • Copies of the mother and fathers’ health certificates to show that they have been health screened and what those results were
  • Insurance details (if you’ve chosen to insure the puppy)
  • Information to guide the new breeder on:
    • Socialisation, exercise and training information
    • Information about the breed, including advice on grooming
    • Feeding advice, including information on the food and feeding schedule they were on while with you 
    • Worming regime (when the puppy was last wormed, the product used and when the next worming is due)
    • Immunisation regime (what vaccinations, if any, have been done or which vaccines are recommended)
  • A puppy pack - some breeders give new puppy buyers a pack of essentials to get them started. This might include toys, a square of bedding that smells of the puppy’s mother, dog food etc. Giving these things away helps the puppy settle in and is incredibly helpful to new owners.

Collecting the puppy

Ask your puppy buyers to come and collect their new puppy from you. Try to avoid dropping off the puppy at a mutually beneficial location, as this is a practice that is commonly associated with puppy farmers. Make sure that the puppy buyer pays you before you hand the puppy over.