Clicking on that appealing puppy online is never a good idea and here's why


A recent press release from the Kennel Club (KC) on the perils of buying dogs on the internet was picked up by most of the newspapers. In case you didn’t see it, I will give a quick précis. According to the KC, almost half the puppies bought online without being seen first fell sick, typically with serious gastro-intestinal problems. Equally worrying was the fact that more than a third of puppies bought online, or from newspaper adverts, were spur-of-the-moment decisions. Two thirds of the latter were chosen simply because of the way they looked.

Owners of working gun dogs don’t fall into the buying online trap

I’m confident that the majority of owners of working gundogs don’t fall into the buying online and collecting unseen trap. One of the golden rules of buying a puppy is viewing it with its mother. If the dam and her litter are in a dark and musty shed at the end of the garden you should be sufficiently warned not to buy.

I would also never purchase a puppy without checking the health of its parents, and if it is pure-bred, making sure that the same names don’t appear on both sides of the pedigree. Though we may prefer good-looking gundogs, I doubt if many puppies destined for working homes are chosen because of their looks.

Another worrying statistic from the KC was the fact that one in five of the internet buyers ends up spending between £500 and £1,000 on vets’ bills in the first six months of their puppy’s life. This results in financial difficulties for many people, while others also suffer from the emotional strain of coping with a sick puppy.

The press release insists: “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.” Quite right, but the Club could help by refusing to accept registrations from puppy farms. It should also be remembered that some KC Assured Breeders are producing pedigree dogs that may have long-term hereditary health issues, even if the puppies seem healthy.

You have been warned …

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