Skip to main content

Only buy puppies from legal sellers warn trading standards

Trading standards warn about being extra careful when buying puppies.

Leicestershire County Council is therefore advising anyone thinking of buying a puppy as a gift to check they are not buying from illegal traders.

Nationally, trading standards officers have found an increase in complaints about puppies being imported illegally into the UK from Eastern Europe.

Dogs can be a popular purchase during the festive period but unfortunately people often neglect to take time to buy from a reputable source.

As a result, many purchasers soon find their puppy developing health problems and needing to go into quarantine at the new owners’ expense.


If you are thinking of buying a puppy, we urge potential buyers to make sure they don’t support the illegal puppy trade by purchasing from unlicensed breeders ‘puppy farms’, dealers or importers.

Their priority is profit rather than the health and welfare of the puppies.


Many people now use the internet as a starting point for trying to buy a puppy which is being exploited by the illegal sellers.

To help prevent buying an illegally imported, misdescribed or poorly puppy, trading standards officers advise the following simple steps:

• always see the puppy with its mother and see how they behave together
• buy from a Kennel Club Assured breeder
• be prepared to be put on a waiting list – a healthy puppy is well worth waiting for
• be suspicious of a breeder selling several different breeds, unless you are sure of their credentials
• always see the relevant health test certificates for the puppy’s parents
• always go to a reliable, reputable and recommend dealer
• never buy a puppy from a pet shop, car park or service station or arrange to meet the seller anywhere other than where all of the dogs are kept.


“Buying a puppy is a serious commitment and prospective purchasers must be vigilant against unscrupulous sellers.

“Nobody wants to buy an animal that will have health problems and the worst case scenario is that an illegally imported puppy could bring rabies into the country.”


If anyone has any concerns about puppy sellers, then please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

Top of page