Don't Buy From Puppy Farms


What is a Puppy Farm?

Where animals are bred for profit – with minimum effort

Puppy Farms

A puppy farm (also known as a puppy mill) is defined as ‘an intensive dog breeding facility that is operated under inadequate conditions that fail to meet the dogs’ behavioural, social and/or physiological needs.’

Illegal breeders make their millions from breeding puppies in dirty conditions. They force breeding dogs to produce litter after litter of puppies, until they have nothing left to give and then eventually discard or destroy them.

To feed the UK demand for purebred puppies – puppies are also brought into the UK from Eastern Europe. They come with fake documents and pretty photos that hide the real truth, and are advertised cheaply online for a quick profit. In some cases by fooling people through renting out homes and inviting prospective dog parents to meet puppies in what would otherwise be a clean and safe living environment.


Welfare Issues Include:

Where breeding dogs are confined to cages or small cramped spaces in sheds, garages or basements and never allowed to leave. These dogs get no exercise, human interaction, the opportunity to socialise, play or even go to the toilet. All in all, they are very poorly treated.

Lack of veterinary and general care – Routine health measures such as immunisation and worming are ignored, and breeding dogs are often under fed and mistreated.

Puppies separated from their mothers too early, some as young as 4 weeks (Before the recommended 8 weeks) Some puppies are severely traumatised by their treatment, and many don’t survive the ordeal.

Overcrowded and unhygienic living conditions with little lighting, no ventilation or heat.

As a result of no socialisation and poor breeding standards, the breeding dogs and their puppies tend to suffer with behavioural issues and or long-term health problems, which otherwise may have been preventable. Some may suffer with genetic diseases due to breeders not monitoring good lines of breeding and in-breeding.

Puppy Farm Signs

and questions to ask yourself

  • The advert for the puppy doesn’t have much information

  • A puppy farm will generally have a lot of outbuildings that you aren’t able to access.

  • They may also operate out of trailers, sheds, barns, garages and basements, as well as what may look like normal houses.

  • Avoid arrangements to meet at services stations or other locations such as car parks.

  • When viewing the puppy, is it in a cage or crate when you visit?  Keep an eye out for any soiling on the coat or if it’s been recently washed. Their coat and eyes should be bright, not dull.

  • Are there different breeds for sale? If you changed your mind, have you been offered an alternative litter to look at?

  • Are you seeing the puppy together with its mum and the rest of the litter to help determine the temperament?

  • A breeder dog should be over one year old and under 8 years.

  • If the mum isn’t there and the breeder gives excuses as to why she’s away, be very wary.

  • How does the relationship between the puppy and mother seem, do they interact with each other, as they would if they were related?

  • Do the puppies and mum seem happy in the environment they are kept in?

  • Does the mother recognise her nam

  • Does the puppy seem happy and inquisitive?

  • Does the puppy seem shy or nervous? (signs it hasn’t been properly socialised)

  • The breeder should be happy to answer all your questions. If they seem to have limited knowledge about the breed, this is a warning sign also.

  • The breeder should also be interested in you and ask lots of question to determine if their puppy is going to a good home.

  • They let you take the puppy home before it is eight weeks old

  • They offer no paperwork, certification or bill of sale, or they give you fake documents.

  • If you are buying a pedigree breed, make sure the pedigree chart isn’t handwritten or a photocopy. It should be an official document. The puppy should also be part of a registered scheme like the Kennel Club and have the registration certificate to show this.


Questions to ask the breeder

Good breeders will oblidge

  • Did they breed the puppies? ( Since 6th April it has become illegal to sell a puppy or kitten that you haven’t bred yourself. This does not apply to rehoming charities.)
  • Are they happy to use the Puppy Contract?
  • Written advice on training, feeding, exercise, worming and immunisation
  • Are they happy to arrange more than one meeting to make sure you and the puppy are compatible?
  • Ask to see their Local Authority Licence for breeding and selling pets as a business.
  • Ask to see where the puppies were born and check the kennelling conditions.
  • Will the puppy be microchipped before you take it home? (this is a legal requirement, unless they have a certificate signed by a vet)
  • Ask which vaccinations your puppy has had and which ones are still required
  • Have any of the puppies been poorly or had any health concerns?
  • Has the puppy had a health check by a vet as part of the first vaccination?
  • Will the puppies come vaccinated, microchipped and wormed with the relevant health certificates?
  • Ask for the breeders vet’s details so you can ask the vet questions about the litter and parents
  • Where do the mum and the puppies sleep at night?
  • Do they have regular human contact throughout the day?
  • What training/social interactions have the puppies had so far?
  • Will your puppy have started toilet training before you take it home?
  • Can the breeder provide evidence of screening for inherited health problems if this is relevant to the breed.
  • Will they provide all information in a “puppy pack” for care and guidance?
  • If there are any problems, will the breeder take the puppy back?
  • Do they keep contact with previous litters – will they keep in touch after you’ve taken the puppy home?

If you feel that things are not what they seem and you suspect an illegal puppy dealer – LEAVE and

Contact The RSPCA: 0300 1234 999