Visit the breeder

Your experience of visiting the breeder of your puppy should be a happy and positive one. Below is some information to help guide you through what to expect from your visit, and what warning signs you should walk away from.


Key Message

If you have any reservations about a breeder then it is best to trust your instincts and walk away. If you think that a breeder may be a puppy farmer, or is breeding irresponsibly, then never purchase a puppy from them, even if you think you are rescuing the puppy.  Your puppy may be better off going home with you, but by giving the “breeder” money you are funding them to breed even more dogs, possibly from the puppy’s mother, in horrible and unethical conditions.


The conditions the dogs are kept in

  • The breeder should want to show you where the dogs are kept, where they sleep and where the puppies were born
  • You should be able to see the whelping pen, comfortable bedding, food and clean water
  • The breeder should have a safe and clean home for all their dogs (both puppies and mum)

The puppies

  • The breeder should give you the opportunity to see and handle all of the puppies in the litter, rather than just the puppy you’re thinking of buying
  • The puppies should appear happy, healthy and inquisitive
  • The breeder should not be selling puppies that are unwell and show signs of illness (runny eyes or nose, weakness or diarrhoea)
  • The breeder should only sell you a puppy once it is eight weeks of age or older

The mother

  • The breeder should be happy and able to show you the puppy interacting with its mother and siblings. If you are unable to see the puppies’ mother you should consider walking away, even if an apparently good reason has been provided (irresponsible breeders will often use any excuse, i.e. the mother is at the vets/ ill etc.)
  • The mother should be happy and relaxed
  • The mother may still be feeding her puppies and so may be producing milk and have enlarged nipples

What the breeder should do

  • A good breeder may be in high demand so may have a waiting list
  • The breeder should be happy to help if things don’t work out, so ask if you can return the puppy if things aren’t quite what you expected
  • The breeder should be knowledgeable about their dogs and the breed
  • Read our top tips on finding a good breeder here.

Getting to know you

  • A responsible breeder will want to get to know you, and will want you to get to know the puppy and so will expect you to come to see your puppy at least twice
  • The breeder should ask you lots of questions to ensure that their puppy is going to a suitable home

 Information from the breeder

  • The breeder should be happy to provide you with details of their vets so you can check on the health of their puppies and breeding dogs
  • The breeder should be happy to show you any paper work (Kennel Club certificates, vaccination information, health test or screening scheme certificates).
  • The breeder should be happy to answer any questions that you have about their dogs, the breed or their breeding choices

When and where to never buy

  • Don't buy around Christmas (most responsible breeders will avoid sell puppies around this time)
  • Do not buy from a breeder who does not show you the puppy interacting with its mother
  • Do not buy from a third party (i.e. anyone other than the breeder)
  • Do not pick up the puppy from anywhere else other than the breeder’s house or premises

Who not to trust

  • Do not buy from anyone who says that they can get you any colour, breed or sex you want – they are probably a puppy farmer
  • Do not buy from a breeder who appears to have poor knowledge about the breed
  • Do not buy from a breeder whose dogs don’t seem to like them and doesn’t seem comfortable handling the puppies
  • Do not buy if the mother or the puppies do not seem happy - even if feel you will be rescuing the puppy  
  • Do not trust a breeder who says you can take a puppy from the first meeting. The breeder should be asking you to visit multiple times
  • Do not buy from a breeder who does not ask you questions about whether your lifestyle and home are suitable for their puppy. A good breeder will want to ensure their puppy is going to a good home

Always trust your instincts

  • Do not buy a puppy if you feel pressured to buy
  • Do not buy if you have ANY doubts about the breeder or their situation


What now?

Once you have visited the breeder it’s important that you don’t make a snap decision. Ensure that the breeder is happy for you to have plenty of time to make up your mind about buying the puppy.  Any breeder that pressurises you into buying a puppy may be looking to make a quick profit and should be avoided at all costs.



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Buying a Dog Buying a Puppy Dog Breeder Assured Breeder Scheme
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