Ban ‘Third Party Sales of Puppies'

We want a total ban on ‘Third Party Sales of Puppies‘ to bring an end to puppy farming.

Approximately 1.5 million dogs are sold in pet shops and they are most likely from puppy farms. Almost half the people who buy a puppy never see the mum. Puppies are mostly bred on farms in awful conditions, many from sick and injured mums. Around one in five puppies bought from pet shops or the internet suffer from parvovirus; an often fatal disease which can cost up to £4,000 to treat.

If you don't buy them, they can’t do this……………don't complete the cycle. Ask #WheresMum

The Kennel Club says that ‘A puppy farmer is defined as a high volume breeder who breeds puppies with little or no regard for the health and welfare of the puppies or their parents. A puppy farmer's main intent is profit. As a result, they typically separate puppies from their mothers too early (8 weeks is generally recommended), ignore guidelines about the maximum frequency of litters (the Kennel Club will not normally register more than four litters from any one bitch because of concerns that the current legal limit of six litters per bitch can be potentially detrimental to a dog's welfare), provide inadequate socialisation of puppies, sell puppies through third parties (i.e. away from the environment in which they are raised), keep puppies in poor husbandry conditions and fail to follow breed specific health schemes or to apply basic, routine health measures such as immunisation and worming. As a result, the puppies bred by puppy farmers are more likely to suffer from common, preventable, infectious diseases, painful or chronic inherited conditions, behavioural issues and shorter life spans.

According to the most recent Kennel Club Puppy Awareness Week (PAW) survey, one in five dog owners spend a lot more on vet's fees than they anticipated when first buying a dog. This increases to more than one in three (38%) when the puppy is supplied by a pet shop. In total 41% of people who have bought a puppy in the last year did not see the puppy with its mother and 53% did not see its breeding environment, meaning those puppies are highly likely to have been bred by puppy farmers and sold by third parties (2014 Kennel Club PAW survey).

Breeding of Dogs Act 1973

The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 (as amended by the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999) licences breeding establishments and the sale of dogs.  This legislation set out a regime for local authorities to license and inspect dog breeding establishments within their jurisdiction, which should have gone some way to tackle puppy farming.

However, problems with enforcement have meant that it has not curbed the activity of puppy farmers as local authorities lack the resources and expertise to properly address poor breeding practices and current guidance on selling puppies in pet shops is unclear.

Current legislation has not curbed puppy farming. We want the law to change so that every puppy (and kitten) has to be sold with it’s mum. We believe this will effect between 40 and 80,000 puppies immediately. It will halt the importation of poor and weak puppies from puppies farms in the UK and  abroad.

If you don't buy them, they won't do this.


  • Ask to see the puppy’s mother, which should be present.
  • See the puppy in its breeding environment and ask to look at the kennelling conditions, if they were not raised within the breeder’s house. If you suspect the conditions are not right, then do not buy the puppy.
  • For a pedigree puppy always go to reliable and reputable Kennel Club Assured Breeders which you can find here. If you want to find breeders currently with puppies visit the Kennel Club's Find a Puppy website here. Assured Breeders will appear at the top of the search with purple scheme logos next to their name. Click here for more information on the Kennel Club Assured Breeders Scheme, or call 0844 463 3980.
  • Be prepared to be put on a waiting list – a healthy puppy is well-worth waiting for.
  • Ask if you can return the puppy if things don’t work out. Responsible and reputable breeders will always say yes.
  • Be suspicious of a breeder selling more than one (maximum two) breed, unless you are sure of their credentials.
  • Consider alternatives to buying a pedigree puppy like getting a rescue dog or pup. Click here to find a rescue puppy.


  • Buy a puppy from a pet shop – these have often come from puppy farms.
  • Pick your puppy up from a ‘neutral location’ such as a car park or motorway service station. This is a common tactic used by puppy farm dealers.
  • Buy a puppy because you feel like you’re rescuing it. You’ll only be making space available for another poorly pup to fill.
  • Be fooled by a Kennel Club pedigree certificate. These are often faked by puppy farmers who are already operating illegally and have no qualms about forging paperwork. The majority of puppy farmers will not register their litters with the Kennel Club. If in doubt check with the Kennel Club.

Buy from a rescue or a registered breeder and always make sure ‘mum’ is there when you see the puppy. Mum will be confident with her pups and will not be nervous around them.  

Let’s change the law and the lives of these forgotten mums and puppies. 

Make it law to buy a puppy ONLY with it’s mum present. 

PupAid Campaign click here

Cariad Campaign click here 

IFAW  Campaign  click here      #NoMumNoSale

RSPCA click here

RSPCA Statement  11th October 2016: 

The growing legal and illegal puppy trade has meant life long suffering for huge numbers of puppies and dogs, and thousands of people have unwittingly bought seriously ill animals with potential behavioural problems. Many of these puppies are bred in appalling conditions that result in their physical and mental suffering. They are kept in squalor, the Mums are used as breeding machines, and their sick puppies are sold onto unsuspecting families

The RSPCA strongly believes that all puppies should be born and reared in a suitable environment with their mother that gives them the best chance of having a happy and healthy life. We believe that all puppies should be sold direct from that place of birth to their new forever home.

We believe that the best way of achieving this in full is the introduction of properly enforced licensing for anyone breeding and selling a puppy with strict but achievable standards that must adhere to the five freedoms of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.  These would cover all key aspects of welfare at each stage of the breeding, rearing and sales process, including a legal requirement that all puppies be sold direct from where they are bred and reared to their new permanent homes.  (The only exception to this being the rehoming of puppies and dogs by reputable rescue centres.) 

Such a system would help us achieve the key aims of: 

  • Elimination of breeding establishments where the welfare of breeding stock and puppies is unprotected and which would otherwise result in short and long term health and behavioural problems and chronic suffering.

  • A ban of all third party sales of puppies for commercial gain, thereby avoiding the serious health and behaviour problems associated with the additional travel from the place of birth to sale, change in environment and surroundings and often premature separation from the puppies mother. This will also help to stem the import of thousands of puppies into the UK. 

We - and other animal welfare groups - are calling on the Westminster and Welsh governments to introduce this tougher legislation governing the breeding and sale of all dogs. We believe these measures and outcomes would improve animal welfare and offer greater protection to the public when purchasing a puppy. It's time to act.

RSPCA: we rescue more dogs than any other charity

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals registered charity no: 219099 Registered office: RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 9RS