Ethical Guide to Buying a Puppy or Dog


Large numbers of healthy puppies and dogs need homes. Unless you have a specific requirement for a pet, consider adopting a rescue dog and save a life.  Make contact with your Local Pound,  Dogs Trust, or

Don’t Support Puppy Farms

Never buy from puppy farms – even if you feel sorry for the dog. More puppies will be bred to replace the dog you buy. It’s a vicious cycle. Look for breeders who have excellent welfare standards and raise the puppies in homes, socialising them so they adapt easily to their new home environment.

Visit the Breeder

Visit the breeding facility and see the environment where the puppy is being raised. It should be comfortable and clean. The puppy should also be clearly able to mix with people and other animals.

Black and White Dogs

Meet the Parents

Request the health history of the puppy’s parents and ask to see them. Be wary if the parents have needed surgery to enable them to breathe comfortably, correct eyelid issues, or to walk normally. Avoid buying puppies produced from mating closely related dogs. Consider also the parents’ temperaments, and avoid those that are aggressive or overly nervous.

Don’t Support Breeders who Produce Puppies with Severely Exaggerated Features

If buying a breed that has exaggerated features (flat face, large eyes, excessive skin, short legs, long ears), choose a breeder who is actively breeding away from extreme features.

Check how old the Mother was when Mated

The risks of pregnancy complications are related to the age of the female dog. Breeding female dogs should ideally be between one and six years of age when they are mated.

Ensure that the puppy’s health has been well managed

The puppies should be in good body condition, on a regular parasite control program, have had a vet check and received any vaccinations that are required.  Petmania provide a useful diagram to help you judge a dog’s body condition – click here to view.

White Furry Dog

Check the Puppy will be over Eight Weeks of Age when they are Released to New Owners

Puppies must be weaned and fully self-sufficient and at least eight weeks old before they are released to their new owners. Ten or even twelve weeks is preferred for smaller breed puppies.

Select a Breeder who will Provide Support and Follow-Up Care

A responsible breeder will also be knowledgeable about the breed and the care of new puppies. They will be keen to provide follow-up support to you and your new puppy.