The ultimate guide to finding your puppy from a responsible source

You’ve assessed your current lifestyle, needs and financial situation, and now you’re ready to get a puppy, but don’t know where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We’re here to help. 

Let’s start by agreeing that trusting strangers who post adorable puppy pictures on the internet can be an easy trap. PETspot has come up with the ultimate guide to finding a puppy from a responsible source – aka someone who’ll give you the best chance of finding a new, healthy and happy furry companion for your family. 

But how do you know if a breeder is responsible? 


Ensuring the puppy’s parents have been health-tested will give your puppy the best chance at a healthy, well-adjusted life. Responsible breeders carefully plan matings between parents that have been tested for known hereditary diseases, to best ensure the puppies will not be affected. 

Different breeds are susceptible to different health issues. There are two types of key health tests a breeder can perform: genetic; or phenotypic (physical) health tests. Health testing should be at the forefront of the program to make sure a breeder is making informed decisions when breeding. A reputable breeder should be knowledgeable about their breed and strive to improve the strength of bloodlines. Researching the most common health issues in a breed will inform you about the health tests to look out for. As every breeder approaches health testing differently, it’s a good idea to ask the breeder about their particular approach and how they factor it into their program.

Ensuring the parents of your puppy have been health tested can also be a big money saver in the long term. For example, hip replacement surgery costs can be in the tens of thousands of dollars, so it certainly pays off to invest time in research.


Responsible breeders will prepare puppies with all the important early socialisation and stimulation to ensure your puppy is ready to take on the world. Developing the puppy, emotionally and intellectually, early will help your puppy’s mental wellbeing in the long term.

A few key enrichments a breeder can provide their puppies include, but are not limited to:

  • Sound and sensory stimulation to get them used to different materials, noises, items around the house, and their environment (such as stairs, carpet, indoor/outdoor, sounds);
  • Social enrichments so they are well adjusted to different social situations, including people, other animals, and other pups;
  • Physical and mental enrichments like toys and puzzles; and
  • Impulse control.

When a newborn puppy is exposed to adequate socialisation and stimulation, they’re far more likely to grow up healthy, happy, and well-adjusted in different environments. However, it doesn’t just stop at the breeder! You have to make sure you’re well prepared in helping your pup socialise in its new home to prevent increasingly common conditions such as anxiety. This includes the right training, living environment enrichments, diets, and more. 

Animal Welfare

Responsible breeders will take care of their dogs and puppies, even when they don’t have a litter on the ground. They ensure they continue receiving ongoing medical care, live comfortably, and only breed when dogs are physically and mentally capable. There should be plenty of space, water, food, access to outdoor spaces, toys, and comfortable resting areas.

When a breeder has a litter on the ground, they will ensure each puppy is provided with tender loving care to make sure they are raised well for at least up to eight weeks (can be up to 12-14 weeks), receive the required veterinary care, are raised in clean living conditions, and are well cared for before going to their new homes. 

Working With A Responsible Breeder

What to look for:

Responsible breeders are transparent about their practices. They will screen you, and encourage you to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be intimidated by a breeder’s questions. They want what’s best for their puppies, and (just like you) want to give their pups a forever home. 

Dedicated breeders are happy to answer questions and concerns to make sure you and your puppy are ready for your new life together. Reputable breeders will provide you with support to help you and your new puppy settle in, and are well-equipped with the knowledge to help guide and advise how you can best support your pup’s development.

Additionally, most reputable breeders will stand by their pups for life and, if for any reason you need to rehome your dog, they will encourage you to speak to them first before doing anything to help out. Lastly, remember to ask questions; a responsible breeder will happily address all your questions and concerns.

What to be aware of:

Although a breeder might claim to be responsible, it’s always recommended to do your own set of checks and research to ensure the breeder is who they say they are. Some tell-tale signs that you may be getting scammed include:

  • An ad saying the puppy is ‘free’ if you pay for shipping. This is most definitely a scam;
  • Browse through the images provided and reverse-search them online to see if you can find the same images from other sources, especially from stock image websites;
  • Ask for pictures of parents and their health history, and read up on their breeding program. An enthusiastic, passionate breeder will lay all their cards on the table;
  • Responsible breeders will not hand over their puppies before they are at least two months old (depending on the breed);
  • Try to find the reviews of a breeder online;
  • Try a WHOIS lookup on a breeder’s website;
  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably is;
  • Be patient in your search, a dog is forever; and
  • Have a video call with your breeder.

It’s disheartening to see many unknowing prospective puppy parents continually being conned by scammers. We are happy to partner up with PETspot to bring forth a safer and simpler platform that will help you find and get a healthy puppy from a responsible source.

About PETspot

PETspot’s mission is to connect responsible breeders to prepared puppy owners to create a safer, simpler, and more supportive platform. We support and advocate for responsible sources and educate new puppy searchers when looking for a dog. 

All breeders on PETspot are ANKC/Dogs Australia and have agreed to our code of ethics and community-standard guidelines. We are fortunate to have such a great community of dedicated and transparent breeders.

PETspot’s mission is to connect reputable breeders to well-informed, well-prepared prospective puppy owners. PETspot also has Australia’s first secure puppy-payment system: PETspot Pay. This ensures you’re working directly with a responsible breeder and are protected when placing secure puppy payments.

Through transparency, our dedicated community of pet-lovers can create a safer online space for hopeful pet parents and reputable sources, advocating the importance of working with responsible breeders and adoption groups

Ready to start the search for your next furry companion from a responsible source?
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