Finding a Puppy
Who breeds dogs?

A good breeder will select dogs likely to improve the breed

Finding a nice quality, well reared puppy is not as easy as is sometimes imagined, there are several sources from which a puppy may be acquired some better than others and some to be avoided at all costs.

Puppy Farms

These are mass puppy producers who may sell direct to the public but often breed for the wholesale market, selling whole litters on to dealers or selling individual puppies to pet shops to fulfil orders. Ethical dog breeding is not a profitable pastime and puppies raised with a view to creating an income will not be reared in optimum conditions, indeed puppy mortality will be high and general health and care very poor. In some cases litters are bred in old chicken runs, even in old cars and vans dumped around the premises. There are three important factors to consider where puppy farms are concerned.
Firstly that the puppy farmed puppy will not have been bred for any purpose other than to make money so temperament, health and type will have been ignored any fertile bitch or dog will have been used even if aggressive, nervous, sickly or known to produce to genetic faults. These pups are produced for quick cash sales so once sold no further responsibility attaches itself to the puppy farmer. No socialisation will have been afforded to the puppy farmed pup, no careful handling, no confidence building care so that a puppy already nervous or aggressive of disposition through poor breeding will have these faults compounded by inadequate rearing. The puppy farmed puppy will at greater risk from hereditary defects and from the consequences for poor rearing in damp, dirty conditions with inadequate food and no veterinary attention except early inoculation to stave off the diseases that flourish on puppy farms.
Secondly suffering to the parents of the puppy farmed puppy is appalling, bitches bred from season after season year in year out, from the time they are puppies themselves until they are to old or weak to carry another litter and then dumped at the roadside or brutally killed. These are dogs who will never go inside a house, never go for a walk, never be stroked or spoken to, just breeding stock to be used until they have no further value and then discarded. Some will never see daylight and have no more room than allows them to stand and turn around, their living conditions are squalid and filthy, their care non-existent.

Thirdly any papers, documents or undertakings attached to puppy farmed puppies must be treated with scepticism, pedigrees are worthless, information unreliable and after sales support zero.

Pet shops and dealers

No puppy should ever sold through a third party nor from premises other than those of its' breeder, a responsible and caring breeder will want to make sure that her puppies are placed in loving permanent homes, will want to keep in touch and offer help and advice wherever needed. Pet Shops and dealers simply sell to anyone who has the money to buy, regardless their circumstance or sincerity. Pet Shops buy in their "stock" from puppy farms either on mass, or if they do not have the accommodating to keep puppies, to order. Money back grantees assume that no matter what the problems most people will not want to return a puppy shortly after purchase because it will still be small and appealing and buyers will (quite rightly) be fearful of the puppies fate if returned to the shop or dealer. By the time the purchaser becomes bored of the puppy or the problems become too sever to handle the puppy will be out of grantee and no longer the shop or dealer's problem. Pet shops and dealers thrive on the impulse buyer and the "must have now" mentality, they promote puppies for sale as Xmas presents and as toys for children. No decent pet shop will stock or order puppies for resale and thankfully some local authorities work hard to make sure that this kind of business is strongly discouraged in their area.
Dealers or dealerships are similar to pet shops but usually only stock puppies - and do so on a grand scale, dealers will buy-in in bulk offering puppies from all the most popular breeds, they work on the same principle as pet shops, depending upon the good nature of buyers not to return puppies and selling to anyone, especially the impulse buyer.

Backyard Breeders

Operating on a smaller scale than the Puppy Farmer are "Backyard Breeders" who keep collections of dogs of one or more breeds with the sole purpose of producing puppies for sale. Conditions are usually poor and dirty, with too many dogs being kept with inadequate exercise and insufficient care being taken over health, temperament and type. Breeders like this will have little concern for the suitability of potential puppy buyers and usually have puppies readily available for sale, they have little or no interest in the breed other than as a source of income and may breed from poor quality bitches and dogs or those whose health or temperaments are unsatisfactory. Backyard Breeders will have no on going interest puppies that they produce and will not offer help or support where problems arise.

Casual Breeders

Breeding for excellence in temperament, type, conformation and character is a long term proposition and very much a labour of love. Casual breeders are those who have no long term interest in breeding nor in the breed but for various reasons want to have a litter, usually from the "family pet". Motivations vary from wanting to have a son or daughter of their beloved pet to a flawed belief that every bitch should have one litter and of course the hope of making a bit of money. The problem with casual breeders is that by definition they will not be experienced or knowledgeable, they will not have selected their pet originally with the intention of breeding and so may not have the most suitable bitch. Also because their knowledge is limited they may be poor judges of their bitch's faults, if their bitch is nervous or snappy, hyperactive or over sensitive they may assume that all dogs of her breed display similar characteristics, consequently they may breed from poor or temperamentally unsound bitches. Without a good knowledge of the breed a casual breeder will not know where to find the most suitable stud dog and will be at the mercy of unscrupulous stud dog owners whose dogs might be avoided by more knowledgeable breeders. Good breeders will always agree to take back any dog or bitch that they have bred should problems or changed circumstance prevent the owner keep it, many casual breeders do not have the facilities or space do so and will have little experience to call on to offer advice if things go wrong.


Some breeders will breed several litters a year some only one every two or three years, what separates the breeder from the casual breeder is their motivation and dedication. Breeders will specialise in one or two breeds, they will usually have started breeding as a part of their total involvement with dogs and their breeding programmes will be focused on selected objectives. The bitches from whom they breed will have been chosen with these objectives in mind, breeders will be seeking a balance of conformation, type, working ability, health and temperament, the order of priority dependent upon the breeders main objective. Such breeders will have acquired and will maintain a good knowledge of the breed, its bloodlines, strengths, weaknesses and fashions, they will know where to find appropriate stud dogs for their bitches and be aware of the pitfalls and problems in certain lines. Breeders will have a long term interest in their breed or breeds, they will seek to improve the quality of their line every time they have a litter, they will take pride in their dogs and value their reputation, they will be aware of and actively involved in, health schemes for the breed. In addition knowledge and experience will enable them to offer sound advice and support after a puppy is homed and they will be on hand to take back or assist in rehoming any puppy or dog they have bred.
It is important to remember that because breeders have a focus for their breeding programme you will have to compare your requirements to theirs, if you want a quiet family pet it is no good going to the country's top breeder of working dogs however successful they may be- your aims are totally different. Likewise if a breeder is single-mindedly breeding to produce outstanding exhibits for the show ring, temperament may have been sacrificed in the quest for the perfect body.

Breed Rescue Organisations

Each breed will have one or many breed specific rescue organisations operated by dedicated breed enthusiasts. These organisations, usually operated by volunteers will seek to assist in rehoming or take into care dogs of a specific breed that cannot be kept by their owners. Many of the dogs that come into breed rescues will be the result of puppy farms, dealers and back yard breeders. However some will come in due to the death or illness of their owners and rescues often have a number of older dogs awaiting rehoming who are used to a good life with people who have cared for them, these can make lovely companions although they are often overlooked. For younger dogs Breed Rescue Organisations sometimes have a waiting list and the typical request for a 2 year old, housetrained, obedient, healthy, Golden Retriever bitch is likely to result in a very long wait indeed!

General Rescue Organisations

Dog rescue organisations such as The Dog's Home Battersea and the National Canine Defence League do wonderful work with nice dogs who deserved better people. In addition the largest and best known rescue organisations will have knowledgeable and dedicated staff who will be well placed to give you excellent advice and guidance in your search for a canine companion. Most of the dogs in rescue will be crossbreeds, mongrels or "pure-bred?" dogs produced by puppy farms or sold to inappropriate homes by dealers or back yard breeders. At one time the biggest problem with getting a rescue dog was the difficulty of knowing about its' past and the unpredictability that that brought. Today however it is recognised that most of these dogs are there through no fault of their own and rescue organisations work hard to assess and rehabilitate dogs in their care prior to rehoming to ensure that dogs are not placed in inappropriate homes. Sometimes General Rescue Organisations will have pure bred dogs available to rehome so if you definitely want a specific breed it is worth contacting such organisations even if it means going on to a waiting list..

Points to Remember

  • Never buy from a Puppy Farm
  • Never Buy from a Pet Shop
  • Never buy from a Back Yard Breeder
  • Never respond to any advertisements that offer puppies of several different breeds, these will certainly be puppy farmed
  • Never respond to any advertisement offering to deliver a puppy to your home, this will be a dealer or puppy farmer
  • Never fool yourself that you are "rescuing" a puppy from a bad start - if you buy from Puppy Farms, Pet Shops or Back Yard Breeders you are supporting a cruel trade and encouraging more indescriminate puppy "production".
  • Consider whether you can offer a loving home to a rescue dog from a breed specific or general rescue organisation.
  • Never buy on impulse, a dog is a 12-16 year commitment, take time to find a suitable puppy.
  • Try to find a breeder whose breeding plans will suit your expectations of a puppy.


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Registered dogs and licensed Breeders
Health of the Bitch
Puppies Main Page
Inherited Problems
Breed Type
Homing Puppies
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Finding a Puppy
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Puppy Main Page
Bringing up Puppy
Puppies As Presents
How we home our puppies
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