How you can buy a puppy dog explained in wake of ban on callous breeders

It’s been revealed the sale of puppies and kittens from pet shops and commercial dealers will be banned under plans put out for consultation by the Government.

The announcement comes on the back of the Mirror’s long-running Lucy’s law campaign which has been calling for an immediate halt to the sale of young pets by third-party commercial dealers.

A petition supporting the change in the law was signed by nearly 150,000 people.

Lucy’s Law aims to hold breeders accountable for the animals they earn money from and reduce serious health problems and socialisation issues which afflict pets who have been poorly bred.

Many people are asking what the changes will mean if they want to buy a puppy or kitten in the future – and what breeders they should look out for.

How to buy a puppy or kitten?

Providing the animal is over six months, puppies can still be bought from third-party dealers, like pet shops.

But anyone wanting a pet younger than six months will have to deal directly with the person breeding that animal.



The Kennel Club, the UK’s governing body for canine activities, advises buyers should be aware of key rules and regulations when dealing with a breder.

They advise a buyer should always be given the opportunity to see a puppy with its mother and litter – and be given the opportunity to handle all puppies.

A buyer should also check the litter has been registered with The Kennel Club and should be made aware of background and socialisation of a particular puppy, including how to best introduce the puppy to a home.

Trying to buy from a breeder that lives in a household as similar to yours as possible is also advisable.

When it comes to asking a breeder questions, The Kennel Club stresses the importance of asking for a Contract of Sale, a document which details both the breeders’ and owners’ responsibility for the puppy.

A buyer should also ask for written advice on training, feeding and exercise, as well as documentation of a dog’s ancestry and any health certificates.

Buyers should ask what vaccinations a puppy has had and which ones are required.

Breeders can also offer four weeks free Kennel Club insurance with a new puppy, starting from the moment the dog is collected.


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What should breeders be aware of?

Lucy’s law brings about changes to the threshold for which a dog breeding licence is now required.

Since 1999 the threshold by which a dog breeding licence is required was anyone in the business of breeding dogs for sale regardless of numbers of litters produced in a 12 month period.

A licence was also needed for anyone breeding five or more litters in a 12 month period, assuming they’ve sold at least one puppy, regardless of whether they are in the business of breeding and selling dogs.

From 1 October anyone breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs, regardless of numbers of litters produced in a 12 month period, will need a licence.

In addition anyone breeding three or more litters in a 12 month period, assuming they’ve sold at least one puppy, regardless of whether they are in the business of breeding and selling dogs

Changes in the law now mean breeders will be held more accountable for the welfare of the litters they breed.


The law states anyone breeding dogs must obtain a dog breeding licence before a vet or inspector will visit a home to check it is a suitable environment to breed.

The Kennel Club advises dogs should not be bred from if they have already had four litters, are over the age of eight, or the dog was under one year old at the time of breeding.

The Kennel Club will also refuse to register a litter if it is the result of mating between father and daughter, mother and son or brother and sister or a dog has already had two litters via caesarean.

Dogs should be checked by a vet and had at least one normal season prior to breeding.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: "We are absolutely delighted that Michael Gove has announced that Defra will be issuing a consultation on an outright ban on third party sale of puppies, which is a vital step forward to tackling the cruel puppy farming industry.

"When this policy is implemented it will stop the suffering of many dogs and send a very strong message to puppy buyers that it is never OK to see a puppy in any environment other than the one it was born and raised in, and with its mum."

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