Puppy Awareness


What are the dangers to puppy buyers?

There are lots of fantastic, passionate dog breeders out there who want to produce happy healthy puppies, however, there are also other individuals who put profit before health and welfare, keeping their dogs in poor conditions and producing puppies that are unhealthy and may eventually require expensive veterinary treatment. 

Why you need to know the signs of an irresponsible breeder

Many puppy seekers are unaware of the dangers of buying from an irresponsible breeder, or are unable to differentiate between a good and bad breeders.

A recent Kennel Club survey* found:

  • Nearly one in five puppy buyers think they may have bought from a puppy farm.
  • One in three could not spot if they were buying from a rogue breeder.
  • Over a quarter of people don’t see the puppy in its actual breeding environment and amongst these 4 per cent had their pup delivered to their door.
  • One in five either don’t see the puppy with its mum, or see it with a dog that they suspect was not the real mum
  • 8 per cent pay for their puppy before they have even seen it.
  • Almost one in five (18 per cent) who buy online, without seeing it first, has a pup that gets sick or dies in their first year.

How to spot an irresponsible breeder

All puppies are cute and unless the puppy itself is unclean, or has a visible health condition, there is no way of telling from just the look of the dog in what conditions it has been bred, or what it will be like when it grows up.  Before you hand over any money, ensure that you are convinced that you a dealing with a responsible breeder.

Find out what to look for when visiting a breeder and what to avoid here, or visit our top tips for finding a good dog breeder infographic.

What happens on puppy farms or in the premises of irresponsible breeders?

  • Dogs may be kept in awful dirty conditions which are too small for comfortable movement, with little or no light or ventilation and no socialisation.
  • The females are often repeatedly bred from, with no time to recover between litters, sometime being given hormonal treatment to bring them into season more quickly.
  • Puppies are often taken away from their mothers distressingly early and will be moved far away, with some puppies not surviving the move. The ones that survive will be sold on the internet, in pet shops or through puppy dealers to thousands of unwitting owners in the UK.
  • Parents won’t be health tested before they are bred from, so you don’t know how healthy the pups are likely to be
  • They won’t show you the mum (or may show you a fake mum who won’t be interested in the pups) so you can’t see how your pup is likely to turn out in terms of temperament, looks and health

Find out more about puppy farms here.

Buy from an Assured Breeder

The Kennel Club strongly advises puppy buyers to go to a member of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme. Assured Breeders all agree to follow good breeding practices and are inspected by the Kennel Club. 

  • On average, owners who bought from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder spend nearly 20% less in vet bills throughout the lifetime of a dog, compared to those who do not buy through the Assured Breeder Scheme (statistics provided by Agria insurance).
  • Assured Breeders are required to comply with breed specific health screening, as well as maintain high standards of welfare and provide pre and post-sales assistance to puppy buyers, ensuring your puppy has the best possible start in life.
  • Every single applicant to join the Scheme receives a visit from a trained Assessor when they join, and every three years after that, to ensure they comply with the scheme’s high welfare standards.

If searching for a puppy, Kennel Club Assured Breeders will appear on the Kennel Club’s Find a Puppy Site with a Scheme logo next to their name.  You can search on the website by area and your chosen breed.  You can also search the full list of Kennel Club Assured Breeders here.

The Kennel Club recognises that there are responsible breeders outside of the Assured Breeder Scheme, but it can be difficult for buyers to identify who those breeders are. Ask friends, family, breed clubs, training clubs or your local vets to see if they have any recommendations. 

Finding a puppy takes research

Buying a puppy should never be quick or instant, and if it is, then you may want to ask yourself why the breeder is so keen to sell the puppies so quickly. We’re so used to being able to buy things online (usually with next day delivery) that sometimes we forget that some things should not be so effortless to buy.  A responsibly bred puppy will be loved and cared for by its breeder who will be reluctant to give them to anyone other than the ideal owner. 

Find out more about what research puppy buyers should do before buying a puppy here.

Find out more about finding the perfect dog for you and speak to breed experts who will be able to answer all your questions at the Discover Dogs event held at ExCeL London on 12-13 October 2019.

Find out more about responsible breeders


*Figures based on survey of 2,256 dog owners carried out for the Kennel Club by Censuswide, in August 2019.



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