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Buying guide | Health of pedigree dogs | Benefits pedigree dogs

Buyers guide to getting a healthy puppy

As a puppy buyer there are certain steps that you can take to help ensure that the puppy is healthy and well adjusted. This starts at the point when you decide that you want a puppy and continues throughout the rest of its life.

What breed to buy

There are no naturally unhealthy breeds – but there are breeds in which certain conditions tend to surface more. It will inevitably take time for these conditions to be eliminated but where there are known health problems, which can be tested for, the Kennel Club runs specific schemes aimed at the breeds concerned. Tests such as hip and elbow scoring enable potential owners to have a good idea about the future health of their puppy. Pedigree dogs also carry a breed standard which is an indication of their likely care needs. The following steps are important when choosing your preferred breed:

  • Firstly make sure that you can afford the purchase. A dog is not just a one-off expense and you need to make sure you can afford all of those other costs – such as food and Vets’ fees – that will be ongoing throughout its life.
  • All pedigree dogs carry a breed standard - a blueprint for their likely character and health needs. Once you have a breed in mind that is suitable for you check out the Kennel Club breed standards and talk to the relevant breed club.
  • You can also find out more about the 209 different pedigree dogs registered by the Kennel Club at Discover Dogs, at Earls Court on 8 – 9 November. This event showcases every breed and is the perfect way to find out which breed would be right for you.

Where to buy

When sourcing a healthy puppy it is the breeder that is the most important consideration - buying a dog should not be done ‘on the cheap’ nor should it come from a disreputable source. By going to a responsible breeder you stand the best chance of getting a dog that will enjoy a happy and healthy life.

  • Seek out responsible breeders; the Kennel Club operates an Accredited Breeder Scheme.  The Kennel Club provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date list of breeders and Accredited Breeders with puppies currently available. Log-on to or you can phone for a printed list on 0870 606 6750 and you will be sent one of our Puppy Packs.
  • Kennel Club Accredited Breeders sign up to follow recommended breeding guidelines. They make use of health screening schemes, such as testing for hip problems and eye conditions, which will help owners to predict the future health of their puppy.  They will ensure the puppy is seen with its mother, to give an indication of how the puppy is likely to turn out. Any responsible breeder should be prepared to answer your questions about the breed. They will also give new owners written information regarding the socialisation and training of the puppy and will be there as a point of contact throughout the puppy’s life to ensure that the dog and owner have a happy and fulfilling relationship. If a breeder doesn’t follow these guidelines and if the puppies do not appear happy and are not kept in good conditions, then look elsewhere.
  • Never go to a pet shop as their breeding stock may have come from puppy farmers – breeders out to make a quick profit often at the expense of the health and welfare of the puppies.

Caring for your dog

Ensuring the good health of your puppy is ongoing through its whole life so there are also steps that you, as the owner, can take to ensure that the health and welfare of ALL dogs is protected throughout their lives.

  • Get advice – By transferring ownership of the puppy from the breeder’s name into your own you will get full access to Kennel Club advice and services.
  • Training – Your immaculate home probably won’t stay that way when you buy a dog but a dog needs to be taught boundaries and the Kennel Club organises Good Citizen Dog Training Classes to this end.
  • Exercise and attention – Your puppy will need regular exercise and you will need to be prepared to clean up after it on walks. Every dog needs care and attention but some need human company more than others – if you are out at work and can’t take the dog with you, consider whether a dog is for you, as it may be unfair for it to be left alone all day.

Buying guide | Health of pedigree dogs | Benefits pedigree dogs