New research shows consequences of impulsive UK puppy buying habits as charity urges public to #PAWs4thought this Puppy Awareness Week

  • Nearly a third of UK puppy buyers admit they could have bought from a puppy farm after not doing enough research, inadvertently fuelling this cruel trade.
  • Our hasty decisions have consequences: 20 per cent of puppies bought on an impulse get sick or die before their first birthday, and two in five puppy buyers who bought impulsively spent more than they anticipated looking after their puppy’s health.
  • Many don’t recognise the warning signs of a bad breeder and pay the price – nearly half of all pups bought online without being seen first, via outlets often used by puppy farmers, end up with serious and potentially life-threatening health problems.
  • Two in five choose a puppy simply because of how it looks, without taking time to understand its health, temperament or exercise needs, causing many to regret their seemingly ‘cute’ decision.
  • The Kennel Club marks Puppy Awareness Week by asking puppy buyers to #PAWsforthought and do their homework to help prevent needless suffering.

Shocking new research shows one in UK four puppy buyers take less than two hours to decide on their pup, with thousands then being duped by rogue breeders and online scams.

The research, for the Kennel Club’s Puppy Awareness Week which runs from 26th August – 1st September 2019, shows those who buy on a whim or purely for looks are left particularly vulnerable and unable to spot the signs of an unscrupulous breeder, with thousands ending up with a sick pup, suffering emotional hardship and paying high vet’s bills.

As part of this culture of instant gratification, the research shows over three in five find a pup online and buy it before even seeing it, and 22 per cent have it delivered directly to their door. Advertising online or via social media is an easy way for puppy farms to mask horrific conditions; more than one in ten puppies advertised online get sick or die before their 1st birthday and nearly half of pups bought online, without being seen first, end up with serious health problems that require expensive and ongoing veterinary treatment from a young age.

Similarly, the research shows a growing trend in choosing a dog solely because of how it looks. Two in five said they chose their puppy based on looks – this is 40 per cent more than those who considered how much exercising it needs and 28 per cent more than those who considered its health.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) of puppy buyers who spent less than two hours to pick their pup admit they could have bought from a puppy farm.

Those who did little research – less than an hour – missed key red flags:

  • 44% didn’t see pup interacting with mum
  • 90% weren’t asked any questions by the breeder about their suitability for dog ownership
  • 83% didn’t see relevant health tests for parents

Overall, one in three puppy buyers acknowledge they are clueless about how to find a reputable source for their puppy and the scams that should ring alarm bells.

These hasty buying habits, which cause many to miss the warning signs or buy a pup simply because they think it’s ‘cute’, are resulting in serious health and welfare implications. One in five puppies bought on an impulse get sick or die before their first birthday, while one in three puppy buyers who bought impulsively spent more than they anticipated looking after their puppy’s health.

Following this damning research, the Kennel Club is warning puppy buyers about making quick or superficial decisions about both the dog they choose and the source they buy it from, and the increasing amount of irresponsible breeders profiting from this.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “Millions of puppies are suffering as a result of being irresponsibly bred and sold, and millions of consumers are completely unaware that their buying habits are actually fueling this cruel trade. The impact of this is truly devastating and brings with it suffering, heartache and financial problems, all for the profit of rogue breeders and puppy farmers.

“A puppy is for life, it’s not something you should just search for online, see a cute photo and buy within an hour, having it delivered to your door. This is a dangerous trend which is growing with the likes of Instagram, but puppies are not a commodity. We are urging people to do proper, careful and extensive research – to ‘Paws for thought’ and make sure the pup is right for you, and that you can spot the signs of a bad breeder. The more time you spend, the more aware you will be, and the much more likely you are to bring home a happy, healthy puppy, rather than fueling untold suffering and heartache.

“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 have spent enough time researching to know what to look for.”

The Kennel Club has produced a video with Dragons Den entrepreneur and Assured Breeder, Jenny Campbell, which demonstrates to puppy buyers what a responsible breeder looks like. The video and more information about Puppy Awareness Week, including the Kennel Club’s top tips to help puppy buyers #PAWs4thought, is available at


26 August 2019


Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

I live in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex with 2 Bolognese and I show one of my dogs.