Do’s and Don’t’s of Puppy Buying


Assuming that you have done your research and are sure that you know which breed is right for you and your lifestyle (see how to live with...) the next step is to locate reputable breeders. The best way to do this is to contact the relevant breed society or club for that breed, as they will be able to guide you toward suitable breeders and most will hold puppy lists. Word of mouth i.e. recommendation from someone who already has one of your selected breed is also a good way to be introduced to a breeder.

It is advisable to start looking in plenty of time as most breeders will have waiting lists and the availability of pups is often seasonal. Be prepared to look at several litters, and if possible meet the breeders and their dogs prior to putting your name on a list. Be prepared to wait, not to rush and buy the first available pup, as the right pup is worth the wait.

Be prepared to be thoroughly grilled by the breeder about all aspects of your life as they will want be quite sure that you and your home and lifestyle are right, so allow several hours for your visit!

How will you know that the breeder is reputable? A good breeder will demonstrate sound knowledge of the breed, they will supply as minimum a diet sheet, information about the breed, a guide to looking after your puppy, relevant health screening for the parents, and the pups will have been wormed, de-flea ed etc. They will want to keep in touch as the pup grows and will be prepared to take a pup back if circumstances dictate.

Meet the parents if possible, although it may not always be feasible to see the father it must always be ok to meet the mother. Any excuse not to meet her might indicate a problem. e.g. poor temperament, and remember the pups will be a mix of both parents genes so the parents will give a good indication of how the pups will be when grown up.

A healthy puppy will be lively, have a shiny coat, clear eyes and nose, a clean bottom, clean ears and have that lovely “puppy “ smell. There should be no signs of fleas or other parasites. It is advisable to check for umbilical hernias, but this needn't be a reason for not buying that pup unless you intend to show or breed.


It is not advisable to buy from a pet shop or commercial puppy farm as there is no guarantee that the parents or pups will have had the relevant health checks, it is also likely that the pups will not have been properly socialised which can lead to severe temperament issues as they grow up.

The above remarks also apply to buying from the free ads, reputable breeders do not need to advertise their pups!!

Don’t let your heart rule your head, it is very easy to see a litter of pups and fall for one because it is small or sickly, be sensible and realise that this could lead to major problems later on!

Don’t be fooled into paying extortionate prices for the pup. As a guide, the following chart displays a reasonable price to pay for the following breeds. The higher prices will be charged for pups from a breeder with many years experience in the breed who have achieved top honours in either the show ring or field ( maybe both) consistently.

Cocker Spaniel
Hungarian Vizsla