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How to make sure you are buying from a reputable dog breeder

Dog breeder with a bunch of Husky puppies

Make sure the pups you buy from a dog breeder look happy and healthy

© Shutterstock

Considering buying from a dog breeder? Here’s all the info you need to recognise a responsible dog breeder to make sure you take home a healthy and happy pup.

By Natasha James

Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:23

Are you thinking of getting a puppy and you are debating weither you want to get your pup from a breeder or a rescue centre? Both options are absolutely fine, as long as you make sure you get your puppy from a reputable dog breeder. Of course, many puppies and dogs are waiting in rescue centres to find their forever homes, but for whatever reasons you want to get a puppy, make sure you do your research.

Buying from a reputable dog breeder is key if you want to feel safe in the knowledge that you’re getting a healthy and happy dog. But, how do you make sure a dog breeder is responsible and you’re not contributing to cruel puppy farms? This article takes a deep dive into everything you need to know when buying from a dog breeder.

Is it okay to buy from a breeder?

At Wamiz, we always recommend checking out shelters and dogs’ homes for rescue pups before purchasing a puppy from a breeder but we also understand that there are multitude of factors that go into every decision to bring a dog home.

If you’re in the market for a specific breed or have individual needs then, providing you do your homework and find a responsible dog breeder, this could be the right choice for you.

What to know before buying a dog from a breeder

Before we get started, the most important thing you need to keep in mind is that responsible dog breeders and puppy farms are worlds apart. A reputable dog breeder will usually have a handful of dogs of their own and allow controlled breeding between their pups which they go on to sell.

Puppy farms, on the other hand, have little regard for the health and wellbeing of the dogs in their care and encourage continual breeding in order to produce multiple litters which they can then go on to sell.

How do I make sure a dog breeder is legit? 

A responsible dog breeder will usually be happy to spend time talking to you about the pup in question. They’ll arrange an initial visit for you to come and see the pup along with their mum and siblings. They’ll have paperwork and certificates of vaccinations (puppies have their first set of vaccinations at around four weeks and then you’ll be required to ensure they have their second set of vaccinations at around 12 weeks) and they’ll never attempt to rush you into a purchase.

Is it better to buy a dog from a breeder or pet shop? 

In the UK, it’s illegal for pet shops to sell puppies thanks to Lucy’s Law. The law was brought in in 2018 and is named after a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel pup who was rescued from a puppy farm with a huge range of health issues. Thankfully, the law goes some way to limiting the prevalence of cruel puppy farms so now potential owners can either visit a shelter or find a responsible dog breeder.

How do you tell if a breeder is a puppy mill? 

It won’t necessarily be immediately obvious if you’re buying from a puppy farm. Consider the following:

  • Can you see the mum? Pups should be kept with their mum until they’re at least eight weeks old. If the breeder claims that mum is out, or on a walk or otherwise unavailable, be very wary.
  • How does the mum react to the breeders? If the mum appears timid or frightened of the breeder, this should act as a red flag.
  • Do they try to sell you other breeds? Most reputable breeders will only breed one or possibly two different breeds of dog. If the place you’re looking to buy from has multiple breeds available, you should be concerned.
  • Can you see the puppy in the place they were born? If you’re invited into a normal home and see mum and pup interacting then this should go some way to setting your mind at ease. If, on the other hand, the breeder attempts to meet you in a public place or bring the dog to you, you should not make a purchase.

Should you pay a deposit for a puppy?

Most reputable dog breeders will expect a deposit to be paid before you purchase a puppy. This is a way of securing the pup when they’re first born as puppies shouldn’t leave their mums until they’re at least eight weeks of age. If a breeder asks for a deposit, this should actually be reassuring. A dog breeder is less likely to care about the age at which they sell the pup and will often ask for cash in one go.

If you change your mind and find you can’t take the dog after all, most breeders will be happy enough to give you a refund as their priority will be finding safe and loving homes for the dogs they breed.

What paperwork should I get from a breeder? 

When you bring your pup home, a reputable breeder will usually provide details of vet checks, microchips, and vaccinations. They may also provide additional info on the current foods the puppy is on and any other info they feel you may need.

5 tips when buying a dog from a breeder

  1. Visit the puppy in the place where they’re being raised. Never allow a dog seller to come to you or meet you in a public place.
  2. Make sure you meet mum. Puppies should be kept with their mother until they’re at least 8 weeks old, and any responsible owner will be able to let you meet mum.
  3. Ask about vaccinations, microchipping and any health tests. Reputable breeders will do this of course, if the breeder you speak to can’t answer your questions then walk away.
  4. Take your time. A responsible breeder will never try to force you into making a decision or taking the dog there and then. Meet the dog and it’s mum and then come away and make your decision.
  5. Look for a healthy pup. Does the dog have clear eyes, a slightly wet nose and friendly personality? If the pup looks healthy and well looked after then you should feel reassured about the breeder.

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