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    September 6th, 2017Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Damning research shows how our ‘careless, clueless’ puppy buying habits are causing suffering

    • One in five (20 per cent) people admit that they spent no time researching where to buy their puppy at all, compared to less than one in ten (8 per cent) who are prepared to spontaneously decide what shoes to buy.
    • Choosing a puppy hastily leaves people more vulnerable to the scams of puppy farmers, with almost a quarter (22 percent) thinking they bought from a puppy farm, if they chose their pup in 20 minutes or less.
    • For pups purchased in twenty minutes or less by their owners, almost one in six (15 per cent) of these experience illness, ongoing veterinary treatment or death in the first six months – three times higher than those chosen in an hour or more
    • More than one fifth (21 per cent) suffer financially and the same proportion (21 per cent) suffer emotionally if they spent 20 minutes or less researching where to buy a puppy, compared to less than one tenth (7 per cent) financially and 8 per cent emotionally for those who spent longer than an hour.
    • More than one third of respondents (34 per cent) admit they are clueless about how to find a reputable breeder for their puppy and are therefore vulnerable to the scams that should ring alarm bells

    A dog may be for life, but many people spend more time choosing a pair of shoes or their weekly supermarket shop than they do a puppy and with devastating consequences, as pups are more likely to get ill and their owners suffer financial and emotional hardship if chosen hastily, as people fall victim to puppy scams.

    Almost a quarter (23 percent) of people will spend 5 minutes or less researching where to buy a puppy, but a similar percentage (22 per cent) will invest half an hour or more when choosing a new pair of shoes. Choosing a puppy will take 36 percent of people 20 minutes or less, compared to just 16 percent who are prepared to be so reckless with the time spent on their weekly supermarket shop.

    And one in five (20 per cent) of people admit that they spent no time researching where to buy their puppy at all, compared to just 8 per cent who decide which shoes to buy on impulse, or 13 per cent who spontaneously decide what to watch on Netflix.

    Our hasty and impulsive puppy buying habits are having dramatic consequences. Almost a sixth (15%) of pups got sick in the first six months, with some needing ongoing veterinary treatment or dying, if their owner had chosen them than 20 minutes or less. This is three times higher than those pups who experienced ill health, ongoing health problems or death if their owners had spent an hour or more researching where to buy.

    Similarly, more than one fifth (21 per cent) of people claim to have suffered emotional hardship, and the same (21 per cent) claim financial hardship after buying a puppy if they spent between 20 minutes or less researching where to buy their puppy, compared to 7 per cent suffering emotional hardship and 8 per cent suffering financial hardship for those who spent an hour or more finding out where they should buy their puppy.

    In total almost a quarter (22 per cent) who bought their puppy in 20 minutes or less think that they bought from a puppy farm, compared to just 7 percent who spent more than an hour researching where to buy.

    Despite being prepared to buy their puppy with minimal research, one third (33 per cent) agree that they do not feel confident about how to spot the signs of a responsible breeder, with slightly more (34 per cent) agreeing they would not know how to find one.

    The shocking portrait about the lack of consumer awareness when buying a puppy, and its implications, has been released by the Kennel Club for its Puppy Awareness Week, which aims to make people aware of the importance of buying a puppy from a responsible source.

    Caroline Kisko, Secretary of the Kennel Club, which runs Puppy Awareness Week, said: “This research is a wake-up call for anybody who cares about dog welfare as a rather terrifying picture is emerging of a nation of people who are careless when it comes to choosing where and how to buy a dog, and who feel clueless about where they would begin, if they were to attempt to do this responsibly.

    “The result is puppies with all manner of health and behavioural problems being sold via the internet, pet shops or social media to people who don’t know the true background of the pups and who pay the price in veterinary bills and heartache, as they watch their beloved pet suffer.

    “There is a massive gap in consumer knowledge and we need to help people understand what a good dog breeder looks like. The research shows that just under three quarters (73 per cent) of people would like a scheme where breeders are already checked and approved for them by a UKAS approved body, which is why the Kennel Club developed its Assured Breeder Scheme. At the very least we urge people to make themselves aware of the scams and tricks of the trade, so that they can spot the people who are putting puppy welfare at risk.”

    One of the most obvious signs of a puppy farmer is that they will not show the pup in its home environment or with its real mum. More than 2 in 5 (41 per cent) of those who suspect that they did not see the puppy with its real mum say that their pup suffered from serious health problems in the first six months, including problems that resulted in ongoing veterinary treatment or death, compared to 9 per cent overall. Similarly, 43 per cent experience financial or emotional hardship if they don’t see the mum, compared to 16 per cent overall.

    Another signal of a bad breeder is to use words in adverts that are well known to be marketing scams, to increase interest in a puppy, when it is hiding something more sinister. Examples include the use of the word ‘guard dog’ or ‘security dog’ – which 12 per cent said would make them more likely to be interested in the dog – but which may be a disguise for a dog bred to be aggressive, or the use of the word ‘rare colour’ – which are often avoided by responsible breeders for health and welfare reasons – but which would make almost one in five (18 per cent) more likely to buy. 

    The Kennel Club has compiled the dos and don’ts of buying a puppy for its Puppy Awareness Week, which can be downloaded from the website www.thekennelclub.org.uk/paw.

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    September 13th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Insurance data shows dogs bred under the scheme are less likely to need veterinary treatment

    Responsible dog breeders who put the health of their puppies first could be saving puppy buyers thousands of pounds in vet fees and helping them get a dog that is more likely to live a healthy life.

    Insurance claims data released by Agria Pet Insurance ahead of Puppy Awareness Week (12–18 September), has revealed that dogs bred by members of the only scheme in the UK dedicated to monitoring dog breeders, the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, are costing owners on average 18 per cent less in unplanned veterinary fees and are 23 per cent less likely to need to visit the vet.

    Furthermore, among older dogs which may experience the health issues the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme specifically endeavours to breed away from, those bred by Assured Breeders are 34 per cent less likely to need veterinary treatment, resulting in vet bills that are 27 per cent less for their owners.

    At a time when irresponsible ‘backstreet breeders’ and illegal puppy smugglers are becoming more common, and are exploiting the public’s affection for dogs by breeding and selling pups without any concern for their health and welfare, Agria’s analysis of claims data shows that the Assured Breeder Scheme is going a long way in protecting the health and welfare of Britain’s dogs, whilst helping to protect consumer rights by increasing the chance of puppy buyers getting a healthy pet.

    Bill Lambert, Kennel Club Health and Breeder Services Manager, said: “The UK is being flooded with pups being bred by puppy farmers or smuggled in from Eastern Europe, and it is absolutely crucial that puppy buyers are aware of how to buy a puppy responsibly. This will not only help to protect them as consumers but will give them more chance of getting a healthy pet. 

    “We know that there are, of course, responsible breeders outside of the Assured Breeder Scheme, but it is the only way we can signpost puppy buyers to breeders who are doing everything they should be for their pups. If puppy buyers are not going to responsible breeders, they may be unwittingly adding to the problem, so it is crucial to do the proper research and only ever go to a good breeder, such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. 

    “We have long known that the Assured Breeder Scheme is helping to improve dog health and are delighted that Agria’s data shows just that.”

    Simon Wheeler, Managing Director of Agria Pet Insurance, added: “Our figures are good news for anyone considering getting a dog, as they show that it is not just older dogs that have benefitted from the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme. We are also seeing noticeably lower claims costs for puppies, indicating that responsible breeding practices are reducing health issues that require veterinary treatment.”

    The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme was established to promote the best breeding practice by working together with breeders and puppy buyers to force irresponsible breeders and puppy farmers out of business. 

    The Kennel Club is the only organisation in the country to be recognised and accredited by UKAS as an impartial and competent inspector to certify dog breeders. This offers the confidence to puppy buyers that Kennel Club Assured Breeders are committed to exceptional standards of care and welfare of their puppies, whereas this cannot be guaranteed outside of the scheme.

    Working with Agria, the insurance provider that administers and underwrites Kennel Club Pet Insurance, the Kennel Club is able to monitor the progress of its Assured Breeder Scheme with empirical verification that the scheme is achieving its aims.

    More information on the Assured Breeder Scheme can be found here.

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    September 12th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Buying habits when getting a puppy are leading to a welfare crisis and financial and emotional strain on consumers

    • Half of pups (49 per cent) bought online, without being seen first, fall sick and around one in five pups (17 per cent) end up with serious gastro-intestinal problems
    • One in five who bought a pup online or from newspaper ads are forced to spend between £500 and £1,000 on vet bills in the first six months of the puppy’s life – often more than the original cost of the puppy 
    • Over a third of people (37 per cent) who ended up with a sick pup after buying online or from newspaper ads experienced financial problems due to cost, and 35 per cent suffered from emotional problems
    • Over a third of puppies (37 per cent) bought online or from a newspaper ad without being seen first were bought as a spur of the moment decision, with almost two thirds being bought solely because of the way they looked
    • Buying a pup from a responsible breeder can cost owners 18 per cent less in unplanned veterinary fees and pups are 23 per cent less likely to need to visit the vet
    • Kennel Club highlights importance of getting a dog from a responsible breeder or rescue home as part of Puppy Awareness Week (12-18 September)

    Half of puppies bought online without being seen by their new owners first are falling sick, as almost half of people (45 per cent) suspect their pup could have come from a puppy farm.  People opting to buy puppies online or from newspaper adverts, not realising that many could have been bred on puppy farms, is leading to one in five having to spend between £500 and £1,000 in vets’ bills in the first six months of their puppy’s life.  This is resulting in financial and emotional problems as over a third (37 per cent) say they have been affected financially and 35 per cent affected emotionally by the strain of owning a sickly pup.

    Kennel Club research for Puppy Awareness Week, taking place from 12-18 September, shows that puppy buying habits could be contributing towards a welfare crisis, with over a third of puppies (37 per cent) being sold online or from newspaper adverts being bought by people who decided to get a puppy on the spur of the moment – with almost two thirds (60 per cent) choosing their dog solely because of the way it looks.

    Many of these puppies will go on to develop diseases and conditions common in puppy farmed pups, with around one in five pups (17 per cent) ending up with serious gastro-intestinal problems.

    Many people are not prepared for the associated financial cost of a sickly puppy, with around a third of people (32 per cent) who buy online or from a newspaper advert without seeing the pup first, having to spend more on vets’ fees than they had accounted for.  Almost one in five (18 per cent) spending between £500 and £1,000 on vets’ bills in the first six months of their puppy’s life means that many people are having to spend more on their pet’s health than they paid for the puppy originally.

    As a result, over a third of people (37 per cent) who ended up with a sick pup after buying online or from newspaper ads experienced financial problems due to cost and 35 per cent suffered from emotional problems due to the strain of having a sickly puppy.

    The Kennel Club is increasingly concerned about irresponsible breeders who put profit over health and welfare and is keen to highlight the importance of going to a responsible breeder.

    Insurance data released by Agria Pet Insurance ahead of Puppy Awareness Week has revealed that the only scheme in the UK dedicated to monitoring dog breeders, the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, is improving the health of dogs and saving owners money.  The data highlights that dogs bred by Assured Breeders are costing owners on average 18 per cent less in unplanned veterinary fees and are 23 per cent less likely to need to visit the vet.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “It’s absolutely shocking that people are still buying puppies online or from newspaper adverts without seeing the puppy first.

    “Not only do puppies end up suffering as a result of being irresponsibly bred and sold, but consumers are being utterly duped into thinking they will end up with a healthy puppy, when the reality is that buying a pup from a disreputable source is likely to cost them dearly, both emotionally and financially.  This is especially true when a puppy buyer does not even see the puppy before purchase, which is why the Kennel Club is highlighting the importance of seeing the puppy with its mother in its breeding environment before committing to buy.

    “It’s absurd that people are likely to take less care buying a puppy than they do when buying a kitchen appliance, and they may well be unknowingly supporting the cruel puppy farming trade as a result. It is crucial for anyone thinking about getting a dog to go to a responsible breeder, such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, or to a rescue organisation, and to know what to look for when they do so to stop puppy farmers from selling sickly pups and causing puppy buyers untold emotional and financial distress.”

    For more information about buying a puppy responsibly and for the Kennel Club’s do’s and don’ts of buying a puppy, visitwww.thekennelclub.org.uk/PAW.

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    September 12th, 2013Laura P (Editor)Articles

    The British Kennel Club have released a new video to coincide with their second annual Puppy Awareness Week (PAW).

    PAW aims to make sure that puppies live healthy, happy lives with suitable owners. Make sure that you get the right dog for your lifestyle and that you buy from a reputable breeder.

    Puppies from puppy farms are bred with no regard for their health and well-being and are kept in appalling, unsanitary conditions. Kennel Club research from 2013 shows that as many as one in three may have unknowingly bought from a puppy farm, after sourcing their puppy online, on social media, in pet shops or through free newspaper ads – outlets often used by puppy farmers. One in five pups bought online or in pet shops need long-term veterinary care or die before six months old.

    Make sure that you don’t buy from a puppy farmer, or from an ill-informed and unknowledgeable breeder, who has not taken all of the steps to give your puppy the best chance in life.

    There are 211 breeds of dog, and many crossbreeds, that all have very different needs. Pedigree dogs are bred to have predictable traits and characteristics and by doing research people can easily find the dog that is the best fit for them.

    You should also adhere to the following Dos and Don’ts, also supplied by the Kennel Club:


    • Always go to a reliable and reputable Kennel Club Assured Breeder.
    • Ask to see the puppy’s mother.
    • See the puppy in its breeding environment and ask to look at the kennelling conditions if they were not raised within the breeder’s house. If you suspect the conditions are not right, then do not buy the puppy.
    • Ask to see the relevant health test certificates for the puppy’s parents
    • Be prepared to be put on a waiting list – a healthy puppy is well-worth waiting for.
    • Ask if you can return the puppy if things don’t work out. Responsible and reputable breeders will always say yes.
    • Be suspicious of a breeder selling several different breeds, unless you are sure of their credentials.
    • Consider alternatives to buying a puppy like getting a rescue dog or pup. Click here to find a breed rescue puppy.
    • Report your concerns to the relevant authority if you suspect the breeder is a puppy farmer


    • Buy a puppy from a pet shop.
    • Pick your puppy up from a ‘neutral location’ such as a car park or motorway service station.
    • Buy a puppy because you feel like you’re rescuing it. You’ll only be making space available for another poorly pup to fill and condemning further puppies to a miserable life

    Tell the relevant authorities

    Local Councils, animal health officers and the police have the power to enforce the law. If you suspect somebody is a puppy farmer report them to the RSPCA, the police, or your Local Authority.

    If somebody who you also suspect of being a puppy farmer, is registering their dogs with the Kennel Club, then ensure that you tell the Kennel Club about your suspicions. The Kennel Club would never knowingly register puppies from a puppy farmer and will tell the relevant authorities to try and ensure that the person is brought to book.

    (Just yesterday, 2 puppy farmers pleaded guilty to 11 charges of animal cruelty in Bury after they were caught out by an undercover journalist. If you know a puppy farmer, tell someone!)

    Opt for a puppy from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder or rescue centre

    The Kennel Club strongly advises puppy buyers to go to a member of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, the UK’s only scheme for breeders that sets strict rules for and checks the quality of its members. The Kennel Club has independent United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) accreditation to certify breeders under the rules of this scheme. Those looking for a rescue dog can use the Kennel Club Rescue Dog Directory to find a Breed Rescue or another rescue home.

    Please, help us spread the word

    We can only stop puppy farmers if puppy buyers know to avoid them – before they buy, not once it is too late. If you know prospective puppy buyers tell them about this campaign to make sure that they make the right choices.

    Sign the Petition

    So far, over 71,500 people have signed this government e-petiton calling for a ban on the sale of young pups without their mothers present. If you’re not already one of them, what are you waiting for? If it reaches 100K, the issue of puppy farms and responsible dog breeding will be debated in Parliament.

    Together, with the right action and education, we can end puppy farming.

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    September 3rd, 2013Laura P (Editor)Articles

    A new study released by the British Kennel Club this week has revealed that 20% of puppies acquired over social media sites or via the internet die before they reach 6 months of age.  They also revealed the shocking figure that, despite years of campaigning, one in three people buy dogs online, in pet stores or via newspaper adverts – outlets often used by puppy farmers. This problem is likely to grow, they say, as the younger generation favour mail order pups, and breeders of fashionable crossbreeds flout responsible steps.

    The research is released in conjunction with their new online video, which aims to promote responsible and sensible ways to acquire happy, healthy pups and prevent a welfare crisis.  They are also promoting their second annual “PAW – Puppy Awareness Week“, which starts on 7th September at PupAid in London.

    The full press release is below:

    We are sleepwalking into a dog welfare and consumer crisis the Kennel Club warns, as new research shows that more and more people are buying their pups online or through pet shops, outlets often used by cruel puppy farmers, and are paying the price with their pups requiring long-term veterinary treatment or dying before six months old.

    The Kennel Club’s Puppy Awareness Week research shows that as many as one in three may have bought from a puppy farm after sourcing their puppy from the internet, social media, pet shops or newspaper ads – all outlets that are often used by puppy farmers. This has increased from one in five last year. Puppy farmers breed dogs purely for profit, without taking any of the responsible steps that they should to protect the breeding dogs’ and puppies’ health and welfare.

    The increasing popularity of online pups is a particular concern. Of those who source their puppies online, half are going on to buy ‘mail order pups’ directly over the internet.

    The research found that:

    • One third of people who bought their puppy online, over social media or in pet shops failed to experience ‘overall good health’.
    • Almost one in five puppies bought via social media or the internet die before six months old.
    • 12 percent of puppies bought online or on social media end up with serious health problems that require expensive on-going veterinary treatment from a young age.
    • 94 percent of puppies bought direct from a breeder were reported as having good overall health.

    Furthermore, only half of people who bought their pups online or via social media said their puppy had shown no behavioural problems. This is a big problem in puppy farmed pups, which can display itself through unsociability around other dogs or people, fear of their surroundings or aggressiveness.

    There is currently very little regulation over dog breeders in the country so the Kennel Club established the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme in 2004, which now has UKAS recognition, to ensure that its members always follow responsible steps when breeding and selling puppies. However, the research has revealed that too many people are still going to unscrupulous breeders with:

    • One third of people failing to see the puppy with its mum
    • More than half not seeing the breeding environment
    • 70 percent receive no contract of sale
    • 82 percent were not offered post sales advice
    • 69 percent did not see any relevant health certificates for the puppy’s parents, which indicate the likely health of the puppy.

    These are all steps that Kennel Club Assured Breeders must take.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “More and more people are buying puppies from sources, such as the internet, which are often used by puppy farmers. Whilst there is nothing wrong with initially finding a puppy online, it is essential to then see the breeder and ensure that they are doing all of the right things. This research clearly shows that too many people are failing to do this, and the consequences can be seen in the shocking number of puppies that are becoming sick or dying. We have an extremely serious consumer protection and puppy welfare crisis on our hands.

    “We urge people to always buy a puppy from a member of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, who are the only breeders in the country whose membership is based upon their ability to show that the health and welfare of their pups comes first and foremost.”

    Worryingly, the research reveals that the problem is likely to get worse as mail order pups bought over the internet are the second most common way for the younger generation of 18-24 year olds to buy a puppy (31 percent buy in this way).

    The research also found that the owners of cross and mixed breeds are less likely to see the puppy with the mum and where it was born, with half not seeing the mum and 72 percent not seeing its home environment, leading to concern that unscrupulous breeders are cashing in on the fashion for dogs such as the Labradoodle and the Puggle.

    Marc Abraham, TV Vet and founder of the Pup Aid event taking place on the first day of Puppy Awareness Week on 7 September, said: “Sadly, if the ‘buy it now’ culture persists then this horrific situation will only get worse. There is nothing wrong with sourcing a puppy online but people need to be aware of what they should then expect from the breeder. For example, you should not buy a car without getting its service history and seeing it at its registered address, so you certainly shouldn’t buy a puppy without the correct paperwork and health certificates and without seeing where it was bred. However, too many people are opting to buy directly from third parties such as the internet, pet shops, or from puppy dealers, where you cannot possibly know how or where the puppy was raised.”

    Not only are people buying sickly puppies but many people are being scammed into paying money for puppies that don’t exist, as the research showed that seven percent of those who buy online were scammed in this way.

    The Kennel Club has launched an online video and has a Find A Puppy app, to show the do’s and don’ts of buying a puppy. View the video at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/paw.

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    September 13th, 2012Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Did you know that as many as one in four people could potentially have bought their puppy from a puppy farm without even knowing it?

    This was the shocking result of recent research carried out by the British Kennel Club 1. It just proves what many knowledgeable members of the dog world were already afraid of; that the problem of irresponsibly bred dogs is a major issue, and that it’s getting more serious every day.

    Unfortunately, spouting about why puppy farmers are evil on this webpage is a bit like trying to teach a Newfie how to swim – we’re talking to people who’ve already got the message. You probably got your dog from a responsible breeder, or own a loveable rescue who was abandoned due to the influx of irresponsibly bred dogs in this country. You already know that there’s a problem.

    The 25% of people who acquired a puppy farmed animal probably did so out of pure ignorance. How many times have you had a conversation with someone in the park who bought their puppy from a pet store, or after seeing a free ad in the newspaper or online; how many times have you had to bite your tongue to stop yourself crying out “you just gave money to a puppy farmer!”

    And that’s the problem, really. Money. So long as people continue to purchase animals from puppy farms, puppy farmers will continue to produce those animals. It is also money, or a lack thereof, which stops local councils and the government from doing as much as they should to police the dog breeding industry.

    Which is why events like Puppy Awareness Week (PAW) and Pup Aid are so important. We need to spread the word about the rights and wrongs of puppy buying far and wide, so that no one will ever unwittingly support a puppy farmer again.

    If we can educate the general dog buying public, the demand for these poor animals will decrease. And, as soon as the demand goes down, hopefully the supply chain will dry up.

    That means no more brood bitches forced to have a litter with every season. No more sickly puppies in veterinary waiting rooms. No more heartbreaking stories of how that cute bundle of fluff turned into an expensive and ultimately disappointing pet. No more sad brown eyes in cages in pet stores and garden centres. Less unwanted dogs languishing in rescue centres.

    Surely those are all things that we, dog lovers, want?

    So, please support PAW 2012, and spread the word about this evil practice. You can do so by posting on social media, writing your own blog about the correct way to acquire a puppy, lobbying your local council or MP, or just by simply talking to people. If even one less person acquires a puppy from a puppy farm, you’ve done your bit to help.

    Please take a minute to watch the following video, which explains puppy farming and what we can do to stop it much better than we ever could.

    Also, please take a moment to visit the following websites, all of which are anti-puppy farming and contain information about how you can help:

    Be Puppy Farm Aware
    Stop Puppy Farms
    Stop Puppyfarming End Cruelty (SPEC)
    Dogs Trust – on battery farming of puppies

    If you know of any other websites, or petitions, which are against this horrible practice, please do let us know!


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