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What is a puppy farm?

You’ve made the decision to welcome a puppy into the family… but where to buy, and how do you ensure you're not buying from a puppy farm?

First of all, what is a puppy farm or puppy mill?

Here are a few tell-tale puppy farm signs to be on the lookout for

The RSPCA’S definition of a puppy farm is…

A puppy farm (also known as a puppy factory or puppy mill) is defined as ‘an intensive dog breeding facility that is operated under inadequate conditions that fail to meet the dogs’ behavioural, social and/or physiological needs’.

Puppy farms are normally large-scale commercial operations, but inadequate conditions may also exist in small volume breeding establishments.

Puppy Farm indicators:

  • Extreme confinement – in some cases breeding animals may never be allowed out of their cage to exercise, socialise, have companionship or go to the toilet.
  • Inadequate veterinary care and general care.
  • Unhygienic living conditions.
  • Overcrowded housing conditions.
  • Frequent long-term health and/or behavioural problems in breeding dogs and puppies born in puppy farms as a result of the poor conditions.

Puppies from puppy farms may be sold anywhere, including the internet, newspaper ads, markets, carboot sales, poorly run pet shops or the puppy farm itself. Puppy farms may also use a house as a ‘shop front’ to sell their animals from, so you don’t get to see the appalling conditions they breed dogs in.

Any type or breed of dog can come from a puppy farm so you cannot judge whether a dog has been bred in a puppy farm based on the breed or type of dog. The only way to be sure is to visit the breeding facility and check out the conditions yourself.

Now that you’re aware of puppy farms, you’re likely deciding between breeder, shelter or pet store. To make this decision easier, we’ve put together some useful information that will answer the questions you might have before buying your new puppy.

Breeder, shelter or pet store?

If you’re planning on becoming a first-time dog owner, we run two hour My First Puppy Workshops to make sure you’re equipped with the necessary knowledge to make the best decisions. We’ll cover how to choose the right puppy for your family, lifestyle and what to expect with your new puppy.