The UK Rules
Buying a Puppy

Advice about Buying a Puppy UK

You should be ready for a long commitment if you are thinking of giving a home to a young dog. Use this guide to check some basic legal advice and get some pointers before buying a puppy.

GETTING A PUPPY: There are several important things to consider before you buy a puppy. Besides committing time and money:

Note: You do not need a licence to keep most common domestic pets. But, failing to microchip your puppy in the first eight weeks can result in a fine of £500.

There are several places to get a new dog. It can come from a breeder, from an animal shelter, or as a result of a private sale. In fact, some councils also sell stray or unwanted dogs and puppies.

A dog breeder is a common 'reliable' source for a family to buy a small dog. The puppies will have been bred for selling. Even so, always be extra cautious when buying a puppy advertised in the media. It can be a risky option to buy a new dog via the Internet or a local paper.

Consider using a puppy contract from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Several websites from the RSPCA provide more details on buying puppies, including:

Note: It is not uncommon for puppies bred 'illegally' to have health conditions. They may also have behaviour problems as well as infections and diseases.

Thus, buying an illegally-bred puppy can result in substantial vet bills. It might also limit the dog to a short and miserable life bringing heartache for the dog owner and the family.

In most cases, the way puppies are bred and raised has a lifelong effect. Buying from a responsible puppy breeder can help to make sure it has a happy and healthy life. So, before buying a puppy make sure it is eight weeks old and try to see the pup with its mother.

Buying a Puppy from Overseas

Before you consider buying a puppy born outside of the United Kingdom, you must make sure that the animal is:

Note: A different section explains the process for travelling with pets abroad through the Pet Travel Scheme.


Dogs Welfare | Dog care tips, advice, and health information about owning one of 'man's best friends'.

Toxic Dog Foods | A long list of common foodstuffs that humans eat which are poisonous for canines.

Importing a Puppy 'Illegally'

There would be consequences for a new pet imported illegally (not complied with disease control rules). As a rule, the owner would have to pay for animal quarantine and for veterinary charges.

In some cases, the authorities may have the young dog 'put down' if its owner cannot pay the costs. Along with the local council, they may also choose to investigate any potential criminal offences committed.

Advice on Buying a Puppy in the United Kingdom