Dogs Trust

New puppy buying advice

Buying a dog is an exciting prospect. However, it’s really important to do a lot of background research on how to find your perfect pup.

Some online advertisers care more about money than puppy welfare and won’t think twice about duping you into buying a dog that has been illegally smuggled into the country.

Follow these steps to avoid being dogfished.

Don't be dogfished

Follow these 6 simple steps avoid being dogfished.

Call ahead

Speak to the seller on the phone before visiting. But never pay a deposit up front.

Meet the pup's family

Always see the puppy and their mum together at their home. See them more than once, even if it is via video call.

Check paperwork

Make sure you see all vital paperwork including proof of a vet check, vaccinations, microchipping, and pedigree papers (if relevant).

Talk to the seller

Ask lots of questions. And expect to be asked lots of questions by the seller. A good breeder will want to know where the puppy is going.

Take your time

Don’t feel pressured to make a snap decision. Walk away if something doesn’t look or feel right.

Report suspicions

If you're worried about the pup's welfare, contact the RSPCA (or SSPCA). For other concerns, get in touch with the seller's local Trading Standards team.

Dogfish alert!

If you suspect a seller is acting suspiciously, or if you think your puppy may have been illegally imported, please report them to Trading Standards.

Report now

Puppy smuggling facts

fact 1

ThIn just five years, we’ve helped rescue 1,500 illegally imported puppies.

fact 2

Our undercover investigations found dealers and vets willing to falsify documents to say puppies were older than they were.

fact 3

If they’d been sold as planned, the dogs we’ve rescued would have put an estimated £3m into breeders’ pockets.

Rehome one of our dogs

Rehome one of our dogs

Instead of buying a puppy and risking being dogfished, why not consider giving a Dogs Trust dog a much-needed home instead? We’ve got pooches of all shapes, size and ages – and we’d love to help you find your perfect match.

> Find out more about rehoming

Don't be dogfished

Concerned about your new puppy?

> Take our new owner quiz

Want to know more about the issue?

> Find out more about puppy smuggling

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