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Buying a Puppy? | Checklist to Help You Find the Right Breeder

Puppy Breeder Checklist by Dogs Trust

To help you have the best chance of finding a responsible breeder, we got in touch with Dogs Trust to give you a checklist to follow when you are looking for your perfect puppy.

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  • Make sure you see the puppy interacting with the rest of the litter and its mother.
  • Remember – a puppy is not ready to leave its mother before it is 8 weeks old.
  • Visit the breeder at least twice before making the final collection. The breeder should allow you to handle the puppies each time you visit.
  • Check that the puppies have regular access to human contact and are raised in a home environment; that way they can become familiar with everyday sights, smells and sounds.
  • The puppies should be happy and confident around their litter mates and humans.
  • Make sure that the facilities appear clean and the puppy seems alert and healthy. There should be no discharge from its eyes or nose or any sores, bald patches or scabs on the skin. The puppy should be alert and show no obvious signs of illness such as coughing.
  • Ask the breeder for records confirming that the puppy has been wormed, vaccinated, and microchipped.
  • Ask if the puppy will be covered by insurance for any illness during the first few weeks in your care.
  • Check that the puppy’s parents have been tested for hereditary diseases. If no certificates are available go to another breeder. If you need help understanding the results, ask your vet.
  • Ensure all the relevant paperwork is available for inspection when you visit the puppy. This should include a vaccination certificate, a health check report from a vet, and a Pedigree or Kennel Club certificate. Remember, a Pedigree or Kennel Club certificate does not guarantee a perfect puppy; it’s up to you to carry out the appropriate checks above.
  • If you have any doubts, walk away – choose another breeder or consider rescue. Rehoming centres across the country do have puppies in their care, all waiting for their forever homes.

However, before embarking on your journey to find your perfect puppy from a responsible breeder, it is important you take the time to consider whether you can be responsible for a dog.

What to Consider Before Searching for Your Puppy


Ask Yourself – ‘Can I Commit to Owning a Dog?’

Dogs can bring you years of joy, loyalty and devotion; and any dog owner will tell you that, as the saying goes, dogs really are “man’s best friend”. However, pets are not a commodity and buying a dog should never be a snap decision. As a pet owner, you have a responsibility, by law, to cater for 5 core welfare needs throughout your pet’s life:

  • a suitable environment
  • a suitable diet
  • opportunity to exhibit normal behavioural patterns
  • to be housed with or apart from other animals (where appropriate)
  • to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

If you can’t provide any of the above, then please don’t commit to a dog. Dogs can live up to 15+ years and, like any pet, they deserve to live a long, happy and healthy life. With that in mind, and not to mention your time and money, deciding to give a dog a home is a big commitment and requires a lot of consideration and forward planning.

Ready to make the commitment? Then the next hurdle is finding your perfect forever friend. Every dog breed is different, and you should always conduct lots of research to find which breed will best suit you, your family, and your lifestyle.

Once you have a type of dog in mind, and before committing to buying a puppy, always consider rehoming an unwanted dog first by contacting your local rescue centre, or looking through our dogs page for older dogs in need of a home. You can even search specifically for dogs advertised by rescue centres – click here to find a rescue dog on Preloved, and you might just find yourself falling in love with a unwanted pooch in desperate need of a home.


Help put Irresponsible Breeders out of Business

If you are set on buying a puppy, then please search for your new forever friend responsibly. With the pet dog market in the UK being as lucrative as it is, you are likely to come across irresponsible breeders and sellers that are primarily out to make money; with little regard for the health and well being of the mother and her puppies. To add to this, by not taking care in your search, you may be buying a puppy that has been imported in the UK purely for profit – you can learn more about puppy trafficking here.

However, not all breeders are irresponsible, and you can help put bad breeders out of business by buying from a breeder who has lovingly provided a safe home environment for their dog to raise her puppies, giving them the best start in life.

Be sure to consult Dogs Trust checklist above when searching for a breeder on Preloved. If you ever have any concerns about a breeder you visited after seeing their advertisement on Preloved, please let us know.

After you have found your puppy…

Found the perfect pooch, from the best breeder possible? Don’t forget to check out our guest blog by Dogs Trust to help you prepare for your new puppy. You can also find a wealth of welfare information about dogs and other pets over on our pet welfare pages.

Justine Dench

Justine Dench

Creative Editor

Justine Dench is the creative editor for Preloved. Her key personal interests include sustainability, conservation and animal welfare. Justine also has interests in photography, music, gardening and home interiors.