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Preparing for Your Visit: Questions to Ask When Buying a Puppy

Preparing your visit

We do recommend you contact a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. This is a voluntary scheme promoting good breeding practices, giving prospective owners the best opportunity to bring home a healthy well adjusted puppy.

First, a few tips before you meet the breeder:

- Do ensure you know what health screening tests are recommended for your breed.
- Do make sure you have done your homework and be prepared for a breeder to not choose you if they feel that you are not right for their puppy.
- Do listen to the breeders' advice; if they say that they feel the breed that you have chosen may not be right for you then you should seriously consider taking their advice. Breed clubs are good place to get information, even non recognised breeds may have clubs which you should be able to find using Google.
- For more information, you can also download our Information Guides.

Head back to step 1 (finding a responsible breeder) and step 2 (contacting the breeder) if you've missed them.

Choosing the right dog for you (PDF)

Ask the breeder:

  • To see the puppy with its mother and the rest of litter. This is very important because it will not only give you an opportunity to see the temperament of the mother, but will also give you an idea of the future characteristics and size of the puppy.
  • If you can handle the puppies. Most breeders will let you do this providing you are sitting quietly and they can be assured no harm can come to the puppy.
  • For a Contract of Sale - it is recommended that the breeder provides you with this. Amongst other things this should detail both the breeder(s)' and your responsibilities to the puppy. Before or at the time of sale, you must give a signed acknowledgement of any endorsement (restrictions) that the breeder has placed on the puppy's records
  • For written advice on training, feeding, exercise, worming and immunisation.
  • Which vaccinations your puppy has had and which ones are still required.
  • Whether the puppy has received any other treatments such as worming and flea control.

And don't forget to:

  • Receive Kennel Club registration documents (if the puppy is Kennel Club registered), which must be signed on the back by your breeder. The registered ownership of your dog will remain in the breeders' name until you register ownership of your puppy details here.
  • Ask for copies of any health certificates for the sire and dam. Just like humans, some breeds of dog can be affected by inherited conditions. There are canine health schemes, which aim to detect and monitor certain inherited conditions, and there is now an array of DNA testing schemes that assist breeders in making sensible breeding choices. It is important that you are aware of these conditions and know the right questions to ask of breeders before buying a puppy.
  • Be prepared to walk away. Unscrupulous breeders can rely on people feeling sorry for their puppies and feeling obliged to buy them. In the long term this encourages the bad breeder to simply breed more frequently and cause even more suffering.
  • Have the opportunity to see all the puppies, rather than just seeing the puppy being offered to you.

Important note

It is the responsibility of the breeder(s) to register the litter with the Kennel Club and each puppy in the litter will initially be registered in the name(s) of the breeder(s). The breeder(s) chooses the official Kennel Club names for all the puppies.

Under normal circumstances, litter registration with the Kennel Club takes about 14 days, after which time the breeder(s) will receive the registration certificates for all the puppies in the litter. If there is a query with the application the Kennel Club will contact the breeder to resolve and further action may be required which may delay the registration process).