Where to buy

Where should I buy my puppy from?  How do I recognise a responsible breeder?

Read on, for answers to these questions…

  Good
Breeders
Other
Breeders
Puppy
Farmers/Pet Shops
Puppy availability Sometimes have puppies available. Almost always have puppies available. Always have puppies available.
Waiting lists Almost always have a waiting list. Rarely have a waiting list. Unlikely to have a waiting list.
Advertising Rarely have to advertise. 
Word of mouth recommendations are the norm.
Usually have to advertise. 
Often advertise in local newspapers.
Always advertise. 
Usually advertise in “Finder” or “Trader” weekly publications.
Price Will be a reasonable price. 
Breeder will be lucky to break-even, after costs of food, vet, stud dog and developing their reputation through successes at shows.
May charge either significantly more, or less, than the good breeders.  Likely to be pricing because they “need the money” or see it as a way of “making money”.   Usually charge more than good breeders.
Demonstrable value
& Pedigree
Will be able to show you (and explain) pedigrees.  Will be able to show off prizes, trophies, photos and rosettes from championship and open shows.   Likely to “give you” the puppy’s pedigree, but unlikely to know much about the quality of its ancestors.  Unlikely to have any track record of show or breeding success. Not able to demonstrate any
value, or experience of the breed.  Unlikely to be able to provide a pedigree of any value.  Pedigree may not be worth the paper it is written on.
Breed Standard  Will be able to explain the Breed Standard and what a typical, healthy dog should be like. 
Will be honest about faults in their dogs (compared with the Breed Standard).
Unlikely to have a clue about the Breed Standard or faults in their dogs. Will know nothing about the Breed Standard.  More likely to tell you their puppies are “perfect examples”.
Temperament &
behaviour
Will be able to explain the expected behaviour of the breed.  Will be honest about potential temperament/behaviour issues.  Will consider the suitability of your home in relation to the breed’s temperament. Should be able to explain the expected behaviour of the breed.  May consider the suitability of your home in relation to the breed’s temperament. Only interested in the puppy as a commodity.  No interest in the suitability of its new home.
Deposit May ask for a deposit after you have visited to see the puppies before they are ready to go to a new home. Usually ask for a deposit before you have visited. Will usually either want a deposit, or full payment, as soon as you express an interest in a puppy.
Breed Club
membership
Will be a member of several Breed Clubs.  May be involved as a Committee member. 
Will be aware of the Club’s Code of Ethics.
Unlikely to be a member of a Breed Club.  Unlikely to be aware of the KC or Breed Club Code of Ethics. Unlikely to be a member of a Breed Club.  “What Code of Ethics?”
Health information
and faults
Provide comprehensive information about the breed’s current health issues and testing programmes.  Will be honest about health problems and the probability of health issues.   May provide information about the breed’s problems.  More likely to say their dogs have no health problems.   Unlikely to provide any information about the breed.
Health testing Will have health-tested parents and/or puppies (e.g. DNA tests) for known conditions, where applicable. Unlikely to be aware of the current health testing schemes. Unlikely to be aware of the current health testing schemes.  Will have no idea why this is important.
Vaccinations Will explain what vaccinations are required.  Will tell you to take the puppy to your vet in the first week you have it (for local vaccination advice). 
Will have had vaccinations done if older than 10 weeks.
Will probably explain what vaccinations are required.  Unlikely to offer advice on vaccinations.
Diet information Will provide a diet sheet for the puppy which explains what type of food to give, quantities and feeding times.  Will also explain how quantities should change as the puppy gets older. May give you a list of meal times and quantities. Unlikely to provide you with any dietary information specific to your puppy.  Pet shops will probably try to sell you something from the shop.
Puppy’s food Will always provide a supply of the puppy’s food to last the first few days in its new home. May give you food for the puppy. Will not give you food for the puppy.
Age of puppy sale Will be unlikely to let you take a puppy home at under 8 weeks.  Will expect you to visit to see the puppy and to check your suitability at least
once before the puppy goes to its new home.
Will be likely to let you take a puppy home any time after 6 weeks old.  May not want you to visit before the puppy is ready to go to its new home. Will want to let the puppy go as young as possible.  6 weeks old is not unusual.  4 weeks is not unheard of.  Will not want you to visit before you collect the puppy.
Through-life
support
Will offer advice and support for the life of the puppy. Usually will not provide ongoing advice. Will not provide any support after the sale.
Take your puppy
back if you cannot keep it
Will usually insist that you let them know if you cannot keep the puppy (for whatever reason).  Will usually be willing to take it back and/or help find a suitable new home. Unlikely to be willing to take a puppy back. Will not take a puppy back.
Training advice Will be able to offer advice on house-training, socialisation and general behaviour. Unlikely to be able to provide advice, or may provide unsuitable advice. Will not provide advice.
Kennel Club
Registration Papers
Will have registered the puppy with the KC.  Will provide the registration papers when you collect the puppy.  Will explain any “conditions” or “endorsements” (e.g. not to be bred from). Will probably have registered the puppy with the KC.  May provide the registration papers when you collect the puppy, or will promise to send them on.  May have registered the puppy with the KC.  May provide the registration papers when you collect the puppy, or will promise to send them on.
Insurance Will provide free insurance cover for the puppy for the first 4-6 weeks in its new home. 
Will explain options for further insurance after this period.
Unlikely to provide insurance cover. Unlikely to provide insurance cover.

 Download Hope-UK’s “Educate Yourself” leaflet on Puppy Farms.

Questions for puppy buyers to ask and be asked.

Find a Breeder…

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