So you're thinking about getting a puppy... A friend has been sending you links to all sorts of cute puppies for sale online and theres so many to choose from. Or is there?
When you do your research to find out what a responsible breeder should give you, you'll discover a lot of people shouldn't actually be offering pups for sale as they are breaking the law and the Animal Welfare Code of Practice.
When you first start inquiring about puppies with a seller, you need to ask:
Are you a Registered Breeder?
Read about the importance of only dealing with registered breeders How to find Registered Dog Breeders in Australia
Do you also have your own Breeder Supply Number? (Qld Breeders only)
The Queensland Government has introduced new standards to promote responsible breeding of dogs which came into effect in October 2018. These apply to any dog owner or breeder within QLD. These along with the 2001 Animal Welfare Act state that;
In QLD a person who sells, advertises or gives away a dog, must have a Supply Number. The supply number indicates that the person has registered as a dog breeder with the QLD government. By law, the registration must occur within 28 days of the mother giving birth to a litter. The registration number is only valid for that dog and is not valid for the breeder themselves in perpetuity. When asking for a breeder number if might be best to do so over-the-phone as this will allow you to check a queensland breeders supply number online.
Do you have a Certificate of Registration and Pedigree to give me?
A certificate of registration and pedigree is currently not granted by the Qld or Australian Governments or the RSPCA. However, there are other 3rd party sources. The most commonly used in Australia is the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)
The ANKC manages, supplies and administrates the standards for purebred dogs within Australia. Its the controlling body for state-run dog show and breeding organisations such as Dogs Queensland.
A Certificate of registration within QLD should be granted by Dogs QLD and/or ANKC. Unfortunately, it's common for shady puppy farms to try and pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting buyers.
Common scams include using vet receipts, A4 printouts of Word documents and other tricks to fool people into paying more for mixed breeds or, to skirt around safe breeding practices mandated by law.
If the Breeder hands you paper work that looks like an A4 printed Receipt, it is just that. A receipt. Not official papers. See example below.
Above: A receipt that a Breeder has paid for a Vaccination from a Vet. This is not Breeders Papers.
Above: A Vaccination Booklet from a Vet. This also is not Breeders papers.
A true purebred pedigree certificate should include an official piece of paper as can be seen below. Issued by the AKNC and your local state operated organisation. It will list pedigrees, parents of the dog, the person who registered the dog and more. You can see an example below or, a closeup example with explanation here.
Above: A Certficate of Registration and Pedigree from ANKC - this is what you need to look for.
Have you microchipped the Puppy?
By law in most States of Australia it is compulsory that microchipping done prior to the transfer of ownership (ie being sold). For example in QLD, ACT, NSW, TAS, VIC & WA, it MUST be done by law by the breeder before you receive the puppy. But in NT and SA it is not compulsory before the transfer of ownership
Have you had the puppy vaccinated?
By law in QLD & NSW puppies must be vaccinated against common infectious diseases in accordance with best practice clinical guidelines, in consultation with a veterinary practitioner. Many other states are also adopting these laws so, be sure to check first!
Have you had the puppy wormed?
Just like the above, in almost all states and territories within Australia, all dogs and cats re-homed (or sold) must be microchipped and treated to remove parasites prior to release. Be sure to check your state legislation. It might just save your puppies life and, at the least, save you money paying for it yourself!
How old is the puppy?
Puppies aren't allowed to be sold under 8 weeks of age. So if it is young, perhaps ask when it will be available. For more information and good questions to ask the Seller, we suggest you check out the RSPCA Smart Puppy Buyers Checklist
So where are quality places to look for a Puppy?
There are a few main places that you can find a puppy that has a high likelihood of being purebred and not a scam. These vary largely by state.
Australia-wide websites for finding purebred puppies
- The RSPCA Adopt a Pet Website. They have puppies, young adults, and senior pets.
- The Perfect Pets website. This is Australian business that is committed to ethical and responsible practices.
- The DogzOnline website. It is an Australian pure breed dog community where you will find registered breeders across Australia.
State-specific resources for finding purebred puppies:
- The Dogs Queensland website.
- The Dogs Victoria website.
- The Dogs SA website.
- The Dogs NSW website.
- The Dogs West website.
- The Dogs Tas website.
Don't be naive about puppy farms and online ads on the internet - watch this video.
It’s super important that you visit the puppy in the place where it was born and meet its parents. Puppy farms will often use a house as a ‘shop front’ so you don’t get to see the poor conditions they breed dogs in. Never agree to meet a Breeder at a location other than the home the puppy was born in.
Don’t part with your money until you:
- Have a signed Health contract with the BRN (Breeder Registration Number) that you have cross-checked on the ANKC website.
- You have tested the Breeders phone and email works so that after purchase if any poor inherited genetic conditions display themselves you can contact them.
- Are able to visit its home, as you can’t check out the conditions in which the puppy was bred or know where it came from.
- Puppy Farmers don't typically don't allow potential new Pet Owners to enter their 'back of house' so insist on a tour. Transparency is important. If there's nothing to hide, the breeder should be willing to show you all areas.
- Access to fresh water 100% of the time in both play and rest areas.
- The home should be hygienic and clean.
- Are given Breeders papers from the ANKC
- Are given a Vet Vaccination Certificate - Puppy Farmers don’t like to spend money, it detracts from profits. They may also have so many puppies that they lost track and your pup got vaccinated twice.
- Have read the RSPCA Smart Puppy Buyers Guide
Can I Fly my new Puppy Interstate?
If you have spotted a cute puppy interstate and want to understand what its like for them to fly interstate to you and what it involves - they are loaded onto a baggage trailer, along with Passenger luggage, and driven across tarmac and loaded under the plane, in the cargo hull.
This is a screenshot of Airline Staff chatting in an Australian facebook group talking about puppies being flown interstate by Breeders to their new Owners, who are unaware of the what their new Pet will have to endure: