What to do when you want to buy a puppy

Buying a puppy is exciting. When you decide to have a dog in your life, it can be the best decision you ever make. But buying a puppy can also be a little daunting at first. It is the first step in a lifelong commitment that comes with hard work and responsibilities.

Use our handy online to make sure you are your family are prepared for everything dog ownership brings. Are you dog ready?

So, here are some simple steps to successful puppy ownership. 

Do your research before you buy

You wouldn’t buy a house or a car without putting careful thought into it. It’s the same with buying a puppy. The more time and thought you put into it now, the more wonderful your future together will be.

If your heart is set on buying a puppy, the best place to start is researching breeds and breeders. For an extra check, you could visit the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme for advice on breeders.

Be aware of online ads. Puppies which are illegally smuggled into the UK are often sold to unsuspecting dog lovers via online ads.

Find out more about puppy smuggling and the devastating effects it can have on dogs, and new dog owners.

Don't be Dog Fished.

Ask the breeder questions

Speak to the seller on the phone before visiting. Ask lots of questions about the puppy and be prepared to answer a lot of questions in return. A good breeder should be as curious about you as you are about them.

When you arrange to meet, make sure you do it at the puppy’s home. You should be suspicious if the seller wants to deliver the dog or meet at another location.

 Meet the pup … and their family

When you meet your pup for the first time, ask to see their mum. It's important that you can see your puppy interacting with their mother and other litter mates (if any).

This is a good sign that they've been bred properly.

Ask for a full health history of both parents.

Take your time

Visit more than once. Don’t feel pressured to make a snap decision. Making the right decision is better than a rushed one.

Walk away if something doesn’t look or feel right. We know that can be hard – especially if you’ve already fallen in love with a cute pup. But it is the best thing you can do.

If you have any concerns about the welfare of any of the dogs you see, please contact the RSPCA (SSPCA in Scotland)

If you have any other concerns about the manner in which the puppy is being sold, contact the Trading Standards team at the seller's local authority.

Paperwork and health

Ask for proof of any vet checks, vaccinations (where applicable), microchipping, and/or pedigree papers.

Be aware that the puppy should be at least eight weeks old at the point when it goes home with you.

A responsible breeder would never send you home with a puppy younger than that.

Use a Puppy Buying Checklist 

The first time you meet your potential puppy, you might be so excited that you forget to ask something. That’s to be expected.

We can save you the bother of trying to remember it all. Request a Puppy Buying Advice checklist and we’ll send you a mobile friendly version to take with you when you embark on your puppy buying adventure.

Request a Puppy Buying Checklist

Alternatively you can download and print the puppy buyer advice checklist (PDF 65KB)

Training your puppy

OK, you’ve now got a lovable pooch who will need training. Check out Dog School , our fun, friendly and educational classes for owners and their dogs.