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Puppy Buying Guide: Finding the Right Breeder

13 min read

Finding the right breeder is crucial to make sure that your pup has received the best start to grow into a happy and healthy dog. Find out what to look for in a puppy breeder with this guide.

Adding a new puppy to your household is an exciting time, but it does come with its own little stresses. Before you get your hands on that adorable ball of fluff, there's a few things to consider, such as, am I ready to dedicate my life to a dog? And what breed best suits my lifestyle? Then, once you've answered all these questions you need to find a reputable breeder to ensure that you're buying a puppy that's in good health and is well-cared for. To make your lives easier, we've put together this puppy buying guide to help you on your journey to getting your new four-legged friend.


Buying a puppy checklist

Before buying a puppy, you will need to be able to answer yes to all the questions on our buying a puppy checklist. Dog ownership can be extremely rewarding as it brings you unconditional love companionship, a healthier lifestyle and a sense of joy. But are you ready for the commitment?

  • Can I afford to own a dog for its life? Things to think about are food, veterinary fees, possible grooming costs, kennelling fees and insurance costs.
  • Are my circumstances right for a dog? This includes work hours and size of home. Will there be someone at home if I work long hours?
  • Can I make a lifelong commitment to a dog? The average lifespan of a dog is around 12 years and so you will need to be able to commit for this length of time.
  • Will I be able to exercise the dog every day? Will I be able to train, groom and generally care for the dog?
  • Can I answer yes to all the questions on the buying a puppy checklist, 365 days of the year?

If the answer is yes then you can move onto and research the next steps.


Which dog breed is right for me?

The next step on our puppy buying guide is that you'll need to decide which dog breed is right for you depending on your preferred size, exercise levels, grooming needs and if they suit family life. There are many breeds out there and all will suit different sorts of people and circumstances. A Border Collie, for example, will not do well in a flat with no garden and no access to regular exercise, whereas a smaller breed such as a Chihuahua will likely not mind.

Things to consider are:

  • How much exercise are you able to provide a day?
  • What grooming requirements are you comfortable with?
  • Do you have any health problems i.e. asthma or allergies?
  • Do you live in the town or country?
  • What type of home do you live in?
  • What size garden do you have?
  • What size dog can you handle?


Breed Clubs for breed information and litters

One of the things that should be on your buying a puppy checklist is to find out as much information about your chosen breed. Breed clubs are always the best way to find out information as they're in place specifically for a particular breed and is run by people that are passionate and knowledgeable about them. Many also run a puppy list and so will be able to point you in the right direction of a current litter from a reputable breeder.


Forums and Facebook groups for breed information

These can be valuable for getting a puppy as many that are involved are very passionate about their breeds. But a word of caution, sometimes breed politics can become involved and this is not at all helpful. Also, some people in these groups pretend to be breed experts, yet have very little experience. Always look for accredited experts, and read reviews from other people who have bought puppies from them.


How to find the right breeder

Don't be tempted to buy a puppy from a pet shop, online (without meeting them first) or in other circumstances where the puppy's history is unclear (e.g. at a car boot sale or from the newspaper), no matter how cute they might appear! These puppies may have come from puppy farms or, worse still, been stolen.

Be prepared that you may have to wait for the right puppy. Not all breeds have huge numbers of litters bred each year and so puppies will possibly be scarce. Also, do not expect to be able to pop down the road for your desired puppy, you may have to travel considerable distance.

Dog shows are an excellent place to see and view a number of different dog breeds or examples of a particular breed all in one place. They will also give you the opportunity to meet both owners and breeders, many of whom love to talk about their chosen breeds, or even point you in the right direction of a reputable breeder. 


Questions to ask when buying a puppy

When thinking about what kind of questions to ask when buying a puppy, it's a good idea to do your research first. Find out as much as you can about the breed by talking to current owners and researching online, then think of any additional questions.

What to expect from a dog breeder

Your experience meeting a breeder should always be a positive one. They should be open and honest when answering questions, and prepared to show you how their breeding programmes work.

First and foremost, any breeder should fulfil the following:

  • Follow recommended breeding guidelines.
  • Make use of health screening schemes, such as testing for hip problems and eye conditions which will help owners to predict the future health of their puppy.
  • Ensure the puppy is seen with its mother, to give an indication of how the puppy is likely to turn out.
  • Be prepared to answer your questions about the breed.
  • Give new owners written information regarding the socialisation and training of the puppy.
  • Be there as a point of contact throughout the puppy's life to ensure that the dog and owner have a happy and fulfilling relationship.

How to spot a puppy farm

If you're looking to buy a new four-legged friend, you may be wondering how to spot a puppy farm. A puppy farm is a breeder that produces puppies in high volumes and often has no regard for the health or welfare of the puppies or their parents. It might surprise you to learn that these are still prevalent and where they may offer puppies for a cheaper price, you will not get a well-adjusted, health tested puppy like you would from a reputable breeder. A few tips for how to spot a puppy farm are as follows:

  • The prices may seem cheaper and too good to be true.
  • Never buy a puppy when you haven't seen the mother as this will likely be from a dealer.
  • A reputable breeder will always want to meet you before selling you a puppy and this will always be in their own home. Be wary of people that say that they will deliver a puppy or meet you somewhere.
  • If the puppy is free that's always a bad sign!

So that's our puppy buying guide! Now you know everything you need to know about buying a puppy from a breeder. Interested in adopting a puppy instead? Check out our article.