Buy from a reputable breeder

Always go to a reliable breeder that has a good reputation. 

Do not buy from illegal puppy farmers and importers, they often sell puppies on the internet. If you do, you’re more likely to buy a sick puppy. 

Never buy a puppy from a pet shop, carpark or service station.

Be suspicious of a breeder selling several different breeds, unless you’re sure of their credentials. 

Buy from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. These breeders must follow rules to make sure puppies they sell are healthy.

Consider rehoming an older dog. 

Puppy health

Make sure you see the puppy at home with its mother. This gives you the chance to see how the puppy behaves. If you suspect the conditions are not right, do not buy the puppy. 

If you buy an imported puppy, they must be at least 15 weeks old. Any younger and they’re illegal. If someone reports it the authorities can take the puppy away from you.

You may have to go on a waiting list, but a healthy puppy is worth waiting for.

Ask to see the relevant health test certificates for the puppy’s parents. 

Get a rescue dog

If you’re thinking of getting a pet, think about getting one from a rescue centre.

There are many rescue centres across the UK who take in, assess and try to rehome unwanted animals.

Local animal rescue centres include:

Report a puppy farm

If you think a breeder is running a puppy farm, you should report it.

Phone 03454 040 506 to speak to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.

We put this guidance together in partnership with the Consumer Empowerment Alliance, which is a section of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

Find information about Lucy’s Law. This is a new law, introduced in April 2020. It means pets shops and commercial dealers are not allowed to sell puppies and kittens unless they have bred the animal themselves.