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Soaring cost of sickly puppies as people buy mail order pups and pups smuggled in from abroad

The Kennel Club has released a film showing adorable five week old Basset Fauve de Bretagne pups, interacting with their mother, as part of a campaign to raise awareness about how to avoid buying puppy farmed pups.

Ahead of its Eukanuba Discover Dogs event at the ExCel Exhibition Centre on 17 and 18 October, which helps people find out more about the importance of buying the right breed from a responsible breeder, the dog welfare organisation is reminding potential puppy buyers about the importance of seeing pup interacting with mum, as it releases figures that show that more than one in four people (27 percent) think they may have bought a pup from a puppy farm.

One of the tell-tale signs of a puppy farmed pup is that the breeder, or the third party dealer tasked with selling the puppy, will not want you to see the mum or the home environment. The research shows that more than one in three (36 percent) of people did not see their puppy with its mum, 61 percent did not see its home environment and 70 percent did not see relevant health test certificates for their pup’s parents.

In some cases the pups may be brought from horrendous conditions into family homes, with fake mums, to fool the puppy buyer into thinking that all is well. The Kennel Club is reminding puppy buyers to check that mum is taking an interest in her pups and to ask to see the whelping area, where their puppy has been reared.

The research shows that a shocking one in ten people bought a ‘mail order pup’ from the internet or from a newspaper advert, without seeing it first. Many of these pups will go on to develop diseases and conditions common in puppy farmed pups. Almost one fifth of puppies purchased online, without being seen by their new owner first, ended up with serious gastro intestinal problems (19 percent), 15 percent with the potentially deadly parvovirus and one in ten developed kennel cough. A further 15 percent of people continue to buy their puppies from pet shops and almost one in five of these pups end up with the potentially deadly parvovirus (18 percent).

The Kennel Club is increasingly concerned about puppy farmers abroad supplying dealers with puppies to sell onto the public. Defra figures indicate that there was a 61 percent increase in pups coming into the UK from abroad in the first year since the controls were relaxed under changes to the Pet Travel Scheme in 2012, and that does not account for the undeclared dogs that are being smuggled illegally into the country.

The Kennel Club advises people to either go to a rescue centre or buy a puppy from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, who are inspected by the Kennel Club and have to follow rules for the responsible breeding of their pups. People can find out more about Kennel Club Assured Breeders and the range of breeds that they can select from at the Kennel Club’s Eukanuba Discover Dogs event, where more than 200 breeds will be under one roof, for people to meet and greet, and breed experts can give top tips for buying a puppy in the best possible way.

Bill Lambert, Manager of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, said: “Sadly pups are being born into appalling conditions, transported from overseas and throughout the UK when they are far too young, and then sold onto the unsuspecting puppy buyer. The puppy buyer is unknowingly helping to fuel the cruel trade and ends up paying the price emotionally and in vets’ bills. That is why we always urge people to go to Kennel Club Assured Breeders, who are inspected and comply with our rules for breeding responsibly, or from breed rescue.

 “Seeing mum is a basic step that puppy buyers need to get right, if they want to ensure that they are seeing their puppy in its real home environment. If the bitch is happy and well with a good temperament, you know your pup is likely to be the same and they should be kept together until they are at least eight weeks old.

“This video is a reminder of the wonderful bond between pups and their mums, and why you should do everything in your power to make sure your puppy hasn’t been torn away from its mother too young. People who want to find out more about buying a puppy in the right way are welcomed to our Discover Dogs event, which is a great family event full of wonderful dogs and interesting competitions but also packed with advice and information for the prospective puppy buyer.”

You can watch the video on the Kennel Club’s YouTube playlist

For information on Eukanuba Discover Dogs visit