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Thinking of buying a puppy?

Before you buy a puppy you should check its general health, appearance and the conditions it has been raised in, where it has come from and whether it has any paperwork. This page provides advice to help you in your puppy purchase so that you get a healthy dog from a reputable breeder.

Buying a Puppy

Buy from a registered breeder

Ask to see the trader's breeder's licence. A list of registered breeders in the county can be viewed below:

Icon for pdf County Durham registered dog breeders (PDF, 156.4kb)

Checklist for buying a puppy

To avoid the disappointment of buying an unfit or unregistered puppy follow our advice below.


  • Do ask for the pedigree/breed certificate, and find out what it means. Some registration schemes do not guarantee anything - information might have been provided by the seller with absolutely no checks at all.
  • Do ask for the vaccination certificate, as all puppies over 8 weeks should have had at least one vaccination. Check the date and place of birth.
  • Do check veterinary documents if the puppy has a docked tail, as all puppies with docked tails should carry a relevant certificate. Contact the vet on the documents if you are worried.
  • Do check the puppy is microchipped, all breeders are required by law to ensure all puppies they are selling are microchipped. A sticker with a chip number should be provided.
  • Do ask to see the breeder's license. If you have any concerns regarding breeding contacts us (link).


  • Don't be afraid to walk away if any of the paperwork is absent, looks fake or indicates the puppy has come from outside the UK.
  • Don't take a child with you to buy a puppy.
  • Don't hand over your address or personal details to anyone in advance of checking out the puppy's documentation.
  • Don't leave with the puppy but not the paperwork.
  • Don't think a high price is a guarantee of good breeding, practices or animal welfare.

Even if you are happy that everything fine with your puppy, we advise that you get a puppy vet check within 72 hours of purchase.

For a full list of guidance on buying puppies please view the checklist below:

Icon for pdf Buying a puppy checklist (PDF, 76.8kb)

Buyers beware

We are working with the RSPCA and Durham Constabulary to tackle problems caused by unlicensed and dishonest puppy traders who have little thought for animal welfare and who leave buyers with little hope of redress should something go wrong.

Concerned about an animal's welfare?

Anyone who wants to report animal welfare concerns should contact the RSPCA

Contact us
Animal health
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Environment, Health and Consumer Protect
  • Durham County Council
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
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