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Buyers Guide

Choosing and bringing home the right dog for you

There are many things to consider as a dog owner. Your responsibilities to your dog and the community are very important to ensure that dogs and their owners are welcomed into society. It is important to know that each breed has its own characteristics, its own function. If you match these with your personality and lifestyle, it is much more likely that you will have a happy and fulfilling relationship with your dog.

Considering Buying a Dog?

Before buying a dog, you must ask yourself:

  • Can I afford to buy the dog I want?
  • Can I make a lifelong commitment to a dog – a dog’s average life span is 12 years?
  • Can I afford between £4.50 and £8.00 per week to feed a dog?
  • Can I afford veterinary fees?
  • Can I afford to insure my dog?
  • Is my home big enough to house a dog?
  • Do I really want to exercise a dog every day?
  • Will there be someone at home for a dog – dogs get lonely just like humans?
  • Will I find time to train, groom and generally care for a dog?
  • Will I be able to answer YES to these questions every day of the year?

If you have answered ‘no’ to any of the above, you should think carefully before buying a dog.

Consider whether you and the prospective dog are:

  • Energetic and lively or couch-potatoes
  • Strong-willed and ambitious or easy-going and indulgent
  • Friendly with humans or reserved with strangers
  • Playful or uninterested in toys
  • Friendly to other dogs or uninterested or incompatible
  • Friendly to cats and other pets or uninterested or incompatible
  • Affectionate or aloof

You can also use our online Find A Breed tool, which uses a few simple questions to help you find the perfect breed suited to you circumstances.

Search for the best dog to suit you, visit to find out more.

Considerations when buying a puppy:

  • A pedigree dog is more predictable as to its future size and temperament than a crossbreed.
  • Confirm that the puppy is registered with the Kennel Club and ask the breeder for then Kennel Club registration certificate or, if it is not available, ensure that the breeder undertakes in writing to forward it to you as soon as it is received from the Kennel Club.

For more information visit

  • The registration certificate will enable you to transfer your puppy into your name from that of the breeder and receive all the benefits associated with Kennel Club Registration, including 4 weeks free puppy insurance which breeders can set up on behalf of new owners – crucial protection for the puppy giving them the best start possible.
  • A crossbreed dog is not as expensive to buy. Try to find out as much as you can about its parents so that you can gauge its future character. You can also register your crossbreed dog with the Kennel Club on the Activity or Companion Dog Registers.
  • If you are keen to re-home a certain breed, the Kennel Club can help you find a specific breed rescue organisation and additional advice.
  • See the mother (dam), as she will provide a good indication as to how the puppy will develop.
  • A good match between owner and dog is essential for a happy long-term partnership. Whether it is a puppy, pedigree, crossbreed, rescue or adult dog, the right dog for your lifestyle is very important.
  • The Kennel Club strongly recommends that prospective puppy purchasers obtain information on breed characteristics, health and welfare needs prior to purchase by contacting the relevant breed clubs. The Kennel Club website provides information about the different breeds of pedigree dog, together with lists of breed club secretaries and links to welfare and rescue organisations.
  • Canine welfare organisations and rescue societies always have dogs and puppies available that need good homes. Both pedigree and crossbreed dogs can be obtained in this way from organisations such as Dogs Trust, Blue Cross and the different breed rescue societies.
  • Veterinary surgeries are an excellent source of information. Staff will give you general guidance on what you should do once you have made your choice.
  • Use the Kennel Club’s online find a Puppy Service, where you can search by breed and region. Kennel Club Assured Breeder litters are indicated at the top of the search results.

Search online at  or call 0844 4633 980 and you will be sent one of our Puppy Packs.

Reasons to be proud of your pedigree

Know your dog’s roots

The Kennel Club keeps a comprehensive family tree for around 40% of purebred dogs in this country. This family tree helps to ensure that puppy buyers get a true pure-bred dog, with the characteristics and care requirements they were led to expect for a dog of that breed, which includes their exercise and grooming needs, temperament and health conditions to test for.

Help future generations

The Kennel Club holds lots of information about the health test results and inbreeding coefficients of dogs on its register. This is vital information used by scientists at the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust when developing tests to help fight dog diseases. The Kennel Club also invests any profit that it makes from registrations into areas such as education and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust which supports research into dog diseases and gives money to dog re-homing charities.

Information at your fingertips

Some disreputable breeders may fake paperwork, such as health test certificates and pedigree certificates.  Puppy buyers can check with the Kennel Club if they have any doubt about the authenticity of a pedigree and can see relevant health test results for a puppy’s parents on the Kennel Club Health Test Results Finder site. This allows buyers to see whether the breeder has taken steps to help ensure the future health of their puppies.

Help to stamp out Puppy Farming 

Puppy farming is a cruel and abhorrent trade, where breeders churn out large volumes of puppies for money and without regard for their welfare. The Kennel Club has regulations in place to help ensure that dogs registered with it do not come from puppy farmers.  Breeders need a breeding licence from their Local Authority if they breed five or more litters in a year. The Kennel Club will not register puppies from those who breed this number unless they have been inspected under the Assured Breeder Scheme or by their local authority and have a breeding licence, except in exceptional circumstances. This should mean that you are not buying from a puppy farmer and not fuelling the cruel trade.

Sadly, some puppy farmers are still granted licences by over-stretched Local Authorities. Although the Kennel Club has to rely on the Local Authority licensing regime as it does not have powers to inspect all breeders’ premises itself, it urges anybody who has concerns about a breeder, to let it know. It will then take this up with the relevant authorities so that action can be taken against those who are not above board.

Improving the standards of breeding

The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme is setting the benchmark for breeding standards in this country and it is lobbying the government to make these mandatory for all breeders – and it recommends that people always buy a puppy from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. In the meantime, the Kennel Club educates breeders who register with it, to follow responsible steps.  Kennel Club research has shown that those who register with the Kennel Club are more likely to follow more of these responsible steps than those that don’t register with us or who breed crossbreeds.

Help throughout your dog’s life

The Kennel Club has a plethora of information and services for those who buy puppies registered with us, from training throuhg to insuring and exercising with your dog.


Where to look? Who to ask?

Finding a breeder:

It is important to start your search in the right place; as previously mentioned, the Kennel Club provides up-to-date contact information on breeders across the UK for all breeds. Breed Clubs are also an important source of contact for prospective puppy owners. Club Secretary contact details are also available on the website and within the Puppy Pack.

Seek out responsible breeders; the Kennel Club operates an Assured Breeder Scheme and full details can be found on the Kennel Club website, together with a comprehensive list of breeders with puppies currently available.

Visit or call 0844 4633 980 and you will be sent one of our Puppy Packs.

Buyers of puppies from Assured Breeders will gain the assurance that the breeder has undertaken to follow basic good practice as laid out by the scheme. Kennel Club Assured Breeders are flagged and will always appear at the top of the list of breeders with puppies for sale, online or in the Puppy Pack.

If buying a pedigree dog always go to a specialist breeder, not a dealer or a pet shop. A dealer usually advertises several breeds of dog, and these dogs may have been obtained from various sources, so their health and condition may be difficult to determine.

If you are browsing a newspaper, magazine or website for a dog, please follow the guidance issued by the Pet Advertising Advisory Group.

For more information visit

Contact the Kennel Club or any major animal welfare organisation for more information.

What to expect from a breeder:

The breeder should give you the opportunity 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 may also give you an idea of the future characteristics and size of the puppy.

Have the opportunity to see all the puppies and be able to handle them, rather than just seeing the puppy being offered to you.

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 breeder(s)’ name(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.

If the dog is advertised as Kennel Club registered, you should ensure that you take receipt of the Kennel Club Registration Certificate. You will not be the current registered owner of your puppy until you complete the transfer of registered ownership.

Register online at or by post.

Please be aware that you will require the signature of the breeder(s) to complete this. If the registrations certificate is not available at the time of purchase, ensure that you receive an undertaking in writing from the breeder that this will be sent to you when available.

Once you complete this important step, you’ll receive an official personalised Owner Registration Certificate and benefit from all the Kennel Club has to offer.

You should ask the breeder for information on the following:

  • A Contract of Sale

It is recommended that the breeder provide you with this. Amongst other things this should detail both the breeder(s)’ and your responsibility to the puppy. The contract should also list any official Kennel Club endorsements (restrictions) that the breeder has placed on the puppy’s records, and in particular on what basis the breeder may be prepared to remove the endorsement. Endorsements the breeder may place on your puppy include not for breeding and not for export. Before or at the time of sale, you must give a signed acknowledgement of any endorsement placed.

  • Written advice on training, feeding, exercise, worming and immunisation.
  • A pedigree detailing your dog’s ancestry – this could either be hand-written or a printed pedigree from either the breeder or an official one from the Kennel Club.
  • Copies of any additional health certificates for the sire and dam.
  • Just like humans, some breeds of dogs can be affected by inherited conditions. The Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association offer three canine health schemes, which aim to detect and monitor certain inherited conditions. It is important that you are aware of these conditions and know the right questions to ask of breeders before buying a puppy. There are also some DNA tests now available for certain breeds.
  • Ask which vaccinations your puppy has had and which ones are still required

The Kennel Club have an online Breed Health section on their website, where you can find breed specific health information for each recognised breed. You will find detailed information on the most up-to date health recommendations, Accredited Breeders, Breed Club contacts, Breed Rescue contacts and any other information that you should look out for when buying your chosen breed.

For breed specific health information search online at

What to look for in adult dogs:

  • If buying from a breeder, find out why the dog is for sale.
  • See the dog in its home environment before making a decision.
  • If buying from a breed welfare or rescue organisation, be prepared to be questioned and possibly expect a home inspection. Dogs in welfare or rescue organisations have often suffered neglect and ill treatment in their early lives. It is therefore the first priority of these organisations to ensure that the dogs in their care will spend the remainder of their lives in good, caring and suitable homes.
  • Consider the problems which can be experienced when bitches are in season and the cost of neutering, should this be necessary.
  • The Kennel club run Find a Rescue Dog which is an online service where you can search by breed and region for pedigree rescue dogs.

For more information and to find your local breed rescue centre call 0844 4633 980 or

When you have bought your dog, what next?

If you have purchased a Kennel Club registered puppy, the Kennel Club will send you the Puppy Handbook – an essential guide to caring for your puppy – when you transfer the ownership of the puppy into your name. The Puppy Handbook will give you essential advice and information to help you to get off to the best possible start with your puppy.

Those early days

Here are some other key considerations any new dog owner should take into account when bringing a new dog into the home:


  • The Control of Dogs Order 1992 advises that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it, or an identification tag. Your telephone number is optional.
  • Train your dog to use the kerb correctly.
  • Always clean up after your dog.
  • Keep your dog under control at all times.
  • Keep your dog close to you when walking it on a lead.
  • Respect the Countryside Code.
  • Give your dog the correct amount of exercise and play it needs.
  • Feed your dog a balanced, nutritious diet with adequate food and water.
  • Worm your dog routinely.
  • Register your dog with your local vet, attend annual health checks and ensure your dog is adequately immunised/vaccinated.
  • Don’t forget to ask your breeder about the Kennel Club 4 weeks free puppy insurance to protect your puppy in their first few weeks in their new home.

Pet Insurance

Just like us, pets will at some point fall ill or have unexpected injury.  But with pets there is no NHS to absorb the cost – pet insurance helps owners plan for unexpected veterinary bills.

The Kennel Club offers an affordable lifetime pet insurance policy with a flexible range of pick and mix benefits, cover levels and excesses to suit your budget.

Call our UK based Customer Service team FREE on 0800 369 90 90 or visit to to find out more.

  • Order your engraved personalised collar tag from the Kennel Club online shop.
  • It is highly recommended that your dog is microchipped and registered with Petlog, the largest pet reunification scheme in the UK, as this can prove extremely effective in locating a lost pet. The Petlog Premium service can even alert local vets and dog wardens when an owner reports where their pet was lost. This can be done by telephone, SMS text message or via the Petlog website. However, it is vital to the effectiveness of this service that people keep their records up-to-date, informing Petlog of any change in circumstances.

Contact Petlog on 0844 4633 999 or visit to find out more.

  • Attend dog training classes. The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme can provide you with a list of classes in your local area.

Call 0844 4633 980 or visit to find out more.

  • Children and dogs are often very good companions and can learn a lot from each other. Teach your children about Sashi’s Safe & Sound code.

Learn your doggy do’s and don’ts play the Safety Factor Challenge game online or call 0844 4633 980 for more information.

  • The Kennel Club believes pet insurance to be an essential part of responsible dog ownership. We’ve redesigned the NEW Kennel Club Healthcare Plan to provide flexible, through comprehensive cover to meet your needs and budget.

Call 0800 369 90 90 or visit for details.

  • Groom your dog regularly.
  • When booking holidays, make suitable arrangements for your dog – do not leave it too late and ensure all vaccination certificates are up-to-date before booking your dog into kennels.
  • Consider that adult dogs of either sex may be neutered to prevent unwanted puppies.
  • When travelling with your dog always ensure your dog has plenty of ventilation and shade in a car and that fresh drinking water is always available. Never leave your dog unattended in a car for long periods of time, and NEVER in hot weather.
  • Make sure all children in the house understand how to be safe around dogs – take the Safe and Sound challenge!

Visit or call 0844 4633 980 for more information.

REMEMBER – not everybody loves dogs. Only a minority of the population are dog owners – respect the views of others


  • Don’t allow your dog to foul footpaths, parks or public places. Local authorities have the power to make it an offence punishable by a fine. (Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005).
  • Don’t allow your dog to interfere with passers-by in the street.
  • Don’t allow your dog to make unnecessary noise.
  • Don’t take your dog into food shops or places where dogs are not allowed.
  • Don’t allow your dog to roam freely in grazed fields or through crops.
  • Don’t leave your dog tied up outside shops unattended
  • Don’t allow your dog to chase livestock or wildlife.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone for long periods of time – dogs feel lonely just like humans.
  • Don’t allow your dog to roam the streets or countryside unsupervised.
  • Don’t spoil your dog – spoilt dogs are as bad as spoilt children.
  • Don’t leave your dog unattended in a vehicle for any period of time or in vehicles on hot days.
  • Don’t leave a young child and a dog alone together.

This information is courtesy of The Kennel Club, reproduced with their permission.