How to spot a puppy dealer

Two dogs

How to spot a puppy dealer

Sadly across Europe there are puppy farms breeding dogs at an alarming rate. Many of these puppies are being bred in appalling conditions with very little, if any, concern for the welfare of the animals involved.

They are shipped across to the UK to be sold using ‘normal’ looking homes as a front for unscrupulous puppy dealing rings who want to sell you a sick and traumatised puppy for a quick profit.

Buying a puppy from one of these places could mean that you get a puppy with serious and long term health and behaviour issues that can be very expensive and difficult to treat and distressing for you and your new puppy. 

Although it’s tempting to ‘rescue’ the puppy, you’re actually just making space for another puppy to fill. 

Here is our guide to help you spot one of these dealers:

  • Many of these puppies are sold online and dealers may create many adverts providing the same mobile contact number. Try googling the contact number they give to see if it is being used on numerous puppy adverts.
  • Descriptions for puppies may also have been used multiple times. Copy and paste them into Google to again see if they have been used on other adverts.
  • Always visit the puppy in the place where they’ve been bred and reared - don’t agree to meet in a car park, lay-by or any other unusual place.
  • If the puppy is advertised as having a passport, the chances are it has been imported.
  • If the puppy has been advertised as being vaccinated, check the age of the puppy. A puppy cannot be vaccinated before the age of 4 weeks.

Be prepared to walk away if:

  • The mum isn’t present. 
  • You’re not invited past the doorway.
  • The seller makes you feel uncomfortable for asking questions or tries to pressure you.
  • The seller asks you which puppy you have come to see. This can indicate that they have different breeds available and the home is just a front.
  • The sex of the dog is different to your previous enquiries.

For more advice on how to spot a puppy dealer - please visit the SSPCA: Say No To Puppy Dealers website.

There are also many puppies born into the puppy trade in the UK. If you think you may have come across a Puppy Farm the best thing you can do is walk away and report it to: