How to spot false advertising when buying your puppy

Dealers are using the internet to their advantage when it comes to advertising and selling farmed puppies.

If you are looking to buy a puppy online make sure you read adverts carefully and look out for the tell-tale signs: 

  • Dealers may use the same contact details on more than one advert. Try Googling the number or email address to see if it has been used on any other puppy adverts.
  • Descriptions may have been copied and pasted and used on more than one advert - try Googling the description and see if it has been used before, word for word.
  • Words like ‘teacup’ can be a sign of dealers trying to capitalise on popular terms.
  • Photos of puppies may have been used on other adverts. Right-click on the photo, select 'search Google for image' and see if it has been used on other ads.
  • If the advert says a puppy has been vaccinated - check how old he or she is. A puppy cannot be vaccinated before four - six weeks of age. So, if a person is advertising a three-week-old vaccinated puppy, they are lying.
  • If the puppy is advertised as having a passport, it has most probably been imported.
  • Some dealers claim that the puppy is registered with the Kennel Club to convey legitimacy – but be wary of this. Only Kennel Club Assured Breeder members are inspected by Kennel Club officials which is totally different to simply registering a pup. Ask for original documents and check with the Kennel Club before buying a puppy.
  • Promises of "free insurance" and "puppy packs" do not mean the advert is from a legitimate breeder.
  • If buying online, do not agree to have the pup delivered to you, always visit the premises they are being sold from. If the seller refuses to supply an address, do not meet them, or purchase a puppy from them.
  • Many dealers use pay as you go phones in order to make sales. They then discard these sims so they cannot be contacted if any problems do arise. Always ask for a landline phone number as extra protection.

If you are worried that you have come across a puppy dealer, you can report your concerns.

Find out more about what you should expect when viewing online adverts here.