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Puppy Awareness Week 2018

The week of 3rd-9th September 2018 has been designated as “Puppy Awareness Week” by The Kennel Club, with the goal of raising awareness of the potential pitfalls of puppy buying and sharing information on finding and choosing a responsible breeder.

The Kennel Club hopes that educating the dog loving public about the demands of puppy ownership and the challenges of ensuring that the right puppy is chosen for good health will help to improve the health and welfare of the wider dog population of the UK, and enable puppy buyers to make informed decisions about their purchases.

In this article we will share some of the highlights of Puppy Awareness Week to get you started, and provide information on how to find out more. Read on to find out all about puppy awareness week 2018.

The background

Why has the Kennel Club decided to raise awareness with Puppy Awareness Week? It all begins with the results of a survey that the organisation conducted of puppy buyers during August 2018, which yielded some concerning conclusions.

The main points of concern are as follows:

  • One in three surveyed puppy buyers spent less than two hours in total on research before purchasing a puppy.
  • Almost one in three puppy buyers didn’t view the pup in the place where it was bred.
  • Almost one in ten of puppy buyers who didn’t view the pup where it was bred had the puppy delivered to their homes, rather than travelling to visit them in their original home.
  • One in four puppy buyers suspects that they might have bought a puppy that originated from a puppy farm or puppy mill.
  • Over one in three puppy buyers didn’t think they would have been able to tell if they had made their purchase from a rogue breeder.
  • One in five puppy buyers didn’t view the litter they purchased from with its dam, or had cause to suspect that the bitch shown with the puppies was not their true dam.
  • Just over one in ten puppy buyers paid online for their new puppy before they actually viewed it in the flesh.
  • Almost one in three puppy buyers who bought their pups remotely online found that the pup became ill within its first year of life, or even died.

For many of us, these results are rather shocking and reflect a lack of research, care and understanding when it comes to purchasing dogs. However, as the figures indicate, this is very widespread, and something that can only be tackled by raising awareness of the issues and their implications for owners and the dogs themselves.

Identifying rogue breeders and keeping yourself safe

In order to make it easier for potential first-time puppy buyers to learn about the risks of not researching properly or making an informed decision about who to buy from, look to the Kennel Club’s Five “W,s” of Puppy Awareness Week.

  • Who: View the puppy with its dam, and make an informed assessment about the dam and litter as a whole, including whether or not everything the breeder says is true. One in five puppy buyers doesn’t view their pup with their dam, or suspects that the dam might not be genuinely the mother of the litter.
  • Where: View litters in the home that they live in, and look at where they sleep, eat, and were bred. Just under a third of puppy buyers don’t view the whole breeding environment.
  • What: Ensure that the right paperwork (such as for pedigree registration and health testing results) is present for the pup, and that records on the pup and a formal contract of sale are provided. Around three quarters of puppy buyers don’t receive a contract of sale, or don’t check the parent dogs’ health test results.
  • When: Only make payment for a puppy when you have viewed it in its home environment, and avoid breeders that push you into making a decision, that try to encourage you to purchase and take the pup on your first viewing, or that want you to pay before you see the litter.
  • Why: Ask plenty of questions of the breeder you are considering, and expect them to interview you just as thoroughly to ensure that you’re the right owner for their pups. If the breeder isn’t interested in finding out more about you, this is a warning sign that they are best avoided.

Avoiding the pitfalls

So, how can a prospective puppy buyer learn what they need to know about choosing the right breeder and picking a suitable puppy?

  • Do plenty of research when deciding what type of dog you want, and then more research on the relative merits of each individual dog breed. Examine breed health, known health conditions and testing protocols and find a breeder that supports this.
  • You can find introductory guides to all of the UK’s dog breeds within our extensive knowledgebase.
  • Learn why puppy farms are bad news – and how to spot one here.
  • Find out how to tell a responsible breeder from a rogue, and some of the warning signs to look out for here.
  • Consider prioritising litters bred by Kennel Club Assured Breeders.
  • Shop smart – find out about some of the most important questions to ask a dog breeder here.

You can find out more about the Kennel Club’s Puppy Awareness Week and how you can get involved in spreading the word to other dog lovers here.


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