Getting a dog: what we recommend

Getting a dog is really exciting – if you have the time and space for them, they can be the perfect pal for you. But which breed is an important decision and where you get your dog from can have a big effect on their future.

We’ve put together our top tips on choosing your dog, where to get your dog from and what to avoid when you’re looking to get a dog. As with any pet, it’s important to do your research first and make sure you’re well prepared.

From spring 2020, third-party puppy sales will be banned under Lucy's Law, meaning if you are looking to buy a puppy you will need to deal directly with the breeder. This means you will not be able to buy puppies from shops or anyone who isn’t the breeder, making it safer for both you and your puppy.

Remember to only get a dog if you’re ready. They need lots of care and attention. Dogs are sociable animals and need the company of their owners, so we wouldn’t recommend getting one if you work long hours and won’t be around much.

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Which breed is right for you?

Lab puppy on bed

Before getting your dog, you’ll need to have a good idea of the type of dog that will suit your family and lifestyle. If you love being outdoors and walking for miles, then a more active breed will be better for you. If you’re looking more for a lap dog who's happy to potter around at home with you, then a smaller breed with lower exercise needs might be better.

To find the best breed for you, have a chat with your vet or vet nurse who can give you advice. You can also take our handy quiz for some guidance on which pets might suit you. Before getting your dog, download the free puppy contact and puppy information pack to help protect you against getting an unwell or illegally imported puppy.

We recommend: rehoming centres

Staffie puppy sat on grass

Leading animal welfare charities often have rehoming centres across the UK, such as RSPCA and Blue Cross. Here, you’ll find lots of dogs in need of loving homes.

We’d always recommend adopting a pet. The centre will do their best to match you with the best pet and have really thorough rehoming procedures including home checks, adoption contracts and they will often offer plenty of aftercare for you and your new pooch.

 

If you choose to buy, go KC Assured

If you’ve chosen to buy a puppy from a breeder, we’d recommend a member of the Kennel Club Assured Breeders Scheme. These breeders must follow higher standards and therefore your puppy has a better chance of being happy and healthy.

We would still recommend doing your research and make sure your pup’s parents have had all the relevant tests and screening. If you’re buying a puppy, you should use the Puppy Contract to make sure you get a dog who is happy and healthy.

We recommend with caution

Puppies in a basket together

Other animal rescues or sanctuaries

There are lots of smaller, local rescue centres and sanctuaries run by smaller charities or kind and committed people. Remember to make sure they run home checks, health and temperament test dogs before adopting and include neutering as part of their adoption process.

Other Kennel Club registered breeders

The Kennel Club register pedigree dogs, but the breeders are not members of the Assured Scheme do not have to follow any health or wellbeing guidelines to register their puppies. Remember to use the puppy contract if you are buying a puppy from a breeder.

 

We do not recommend

  • Puppy farms
  • Newspapers and websites.

Always do your research before choosing your puppy. If something’s not right, as hard as it might be, don’t buy a puppy you suspect has been imported illegally or is being sold by a third party seller. Report them to your local council.