The disturbing reality of puppy farms and how to buy a dog from a safe breeder

Buying a puppy from a safe breeder isn't as simple as it might seem. As BBC1 documentary Dog Factory investigates, we look at the rules to follow to ensure you buy safely...


Dogs are a man’s best friend, the saying goes. But BBC documentary The Dog Factory shows we don’t always treat them that way…


A third of all dogs bought today are believed to come from massively lucrative puppy farms – some legal but many not. Many farmed puppies die of the highly contagious Parvovirus which they aren’t properly vaccinated against. If they survive, they are often so unused to human contact that they are difficult pets for the family who buys them.

Many puppies from illegal farms are then distributed to dog sellers (below, being secretly filmed) who work under fake names and don’t provide any paperwork or information about the breeder to the new owner.  

Dog Factory raises many questions about dog breeding legislation and suggests that it might need a serious, urgent rethink. But even more importantly for pet lovers, the documentary reminds us that the onus is on us to stop buying from those abusing the system. You might think it’s better to save the puppy from its unhappy life, but experts say the only way the maltreatment can be stopped is by harming the puppy farm business itself. 

So here’s how to buy a new dog safely, without helping those who care less about animals than you do…

How to buy a puppy safely

DON’T buy a puppy from a pet shop – these have often come from puppy farms

DO see the puppy in its breeding environment, and if it was not raised within the breeder’s house ask to look at the kennelling conditions. If you suspect the conditions are not right, then do not buy the puppy

DON’T agree with the seller to pick up your puppy up from a ‘neutral location’ such as a car park or service station. This is a common tactic used by puppy farm dealers, because it means they won’t get recognised and don’t have to show you the other dogs they are breeding

DO ask if you can return the puppy if things don’t work out. Responsible and reputable breeders will always say yes

DON’T buy a puppy because you feel like you’re rescuing it. You’ll only be making space available for another badly treated puppy to fill

DO ask to see the puppy’s mother, which should be present

DON’T be fooled by a Kennel Club pedigree certificate. These are often faked by puppy farmers who are already operating illegally and who won’t think twice 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

DO be prepared to be put on a waiting list – a healthy puppy is well-worth waiting for

DO be suspicious of a breeder selling more than one (maximum two) breeds, unless you are sure of their credentials

DO consider getting your dog from a rescue home rather than a breeder, but if you must have a pedigree dog, follow the advice above and you should be able to buy a happy, well-treated puppy

This information comes from Pup Aid and the facts provided by BBC’s Dog Factory 


Dog Factory is on Tuesday 19th May at 10:45pm on BBC1