Whitehorse City Council

Choosing a Pet

Buying a Puppy or Dog

The Online Smart Puppy and Dog Buyer’s Guide  is an interactive tool to help anyone thinking of purchasing a dog or puppy. The guide covers:

  • consider if they are ready for the responsibility of a pet dog
  • find the right type of dog to help ensure dog-owner compatibility and that the dog is healthy and happy
  • find the right place to get their new dog by adopting from the RSPCA or through a responsible breeder
  • avoid buying from a puppy farm or other irresponsible breeder.

The guide also provides information on the steps to becoming a responsible pet owner and how to ensure new owners are taking home a healthy, happy and well-adjusted puppy or dog.


Pedigree Dog Breeding

The three main areas of concern associated with the breeding of pedigree dogs:

Deliberate inbreeding, e.g. mating grandfather dogs to their granddaughters. Inbreeding increases the incidence of inherited diseases.

Deliberate breeding for exaggerated physical features, such as very flat squashed-in faces which cause serious breathing problems.

Inherited diseases. Different breeds are predisposed to different inherited diseases, such as heart or eye problems. These are the result of inbreeding and selective breeding.

Please see the RSPCA Knowledgebase for more information.

Is the RSPCA promoting or encouraging buying a dog over adopting?

The RSPCA and the guide strongly encourages all prospective pet owners to first consider adoption. We encourage the community to check their local RSPCA and the Adopt a Pet  website and if they don’t immediately see a pet they are interested in to keep checking over time as the right puppy or dog for them is likely to turn up soon.

Adopt a Pet is updated daily with new pets looking for their forever home.

However, the RSPCA recognises that some people may not find a pet that is right or suitable for them when hoping to adopt. The Smart Puppy and Dog Buyers Guide helps those who then choose to buy, rather than adopt, to make a well-informed choice by finding a responsible breeder and avoid buying a puppy or dog from a puppy farm or other irresponsible breeders.


What is a puppy farm/puppy mill/puppy factory?

A puppy mill or puppy farm is 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 usually large-scale commercial operations that breed puppies for profit. The puppies and their mothers are often kept in very poor, filthy and overcrowded conditions. Breeding animals may be continually mated and kept with their puppies in small cages, never being allowed out of the cage to exercise, play, have companionship or even go to the toilet. Puppies born in puppy farms often have long-term health and behavioural problems as a result of poor housing conditions, poor maternal nutrition and a lack of adequate socialisation during the crucial first few weeks of life.


What should I do if I suspect someone might be running a puppy farm?

Contact your state RSPCA as soon as possible with any details you may have. Your details will be kept confidential.


What should I do if I suspect a pet shop may be selling dogs from a puppy farm?

Contact your state RSPCA as soon as possible with any details you may have. Your details will be kept confidential.


 

What about a breeder that is registered with a breed association?

Registration with a breed association does not necessarily indicate a breeder is responsible or meets adequate animal welfare standards. It does not equate to a compulsory government registration and licensing system as advocated by the RSPCA. To make sure the breeder is a good breeder it’s important to visit the breeding place to ensure the living conditions are good and the mother dog (and father too, if he’s around) is happy and healthy and to ask the right questions.


What about pet shops, newspaper ads, markets and internet?

It’s important you don’t buy from a pet shop, market or through an Internet or newspaper advertisement (or any other way) without being able to visit the dog’s home. To make sure the breeder is a good breeder it’s important to visit the breeding place to ensure the living conditions are good and the mother dog (and father too, if he’s around) is happy and healthy and to ask the right questions.


What about a breeder that is recognised as a registered breeder with the Council?

Registration as a ‘recognised breeder’ with the local council does not necessarily indicate a breeder is responsible or meets adequate animal welfare standards. To make sure the breeder is a good breeder it’s important to visit the breeding place to ensure the living conditions are good and the mother dog (and father too, if he’s around) is happy and healthy and to ask the right questions.

Contact Council's Community Laws Department on 9262 6394 to find about what standards or regulations need to be met before being recognised as a ‘registered breeder’.


What are the key indicators of a responsible breeder?

To work out whether you are getting a puppy or dog from a responsible breeder, you need to ask the following questions:

  • Did the breeder plan ahead for this litter ensuring there were enough good homes for all the puppies? 
  • Does the breeder let you visit the breeding place and meet the mother dog (and father too, if he’s around)?
  • Are you impressed with the standard of care and living conditions for all the dogs?
  • Is the breeder genuinely concerned about the welfare of their dogs, open to questions and able to provide a complete history of the puppy?
  • Have the puppies been health checked by a veterinarian, vaccinated, microchipped, and treated for internal and external parasites like intestinal worms and fleas?
  • Does the breeder make sure that you and the puppy will suit each other? Do they ask you questions to make sure you will be a responsible owner? *  Is your puppy bred to be a healthy pet, with a suitable temperament and free from known inherited diseases?
  • Does the breeder offer to provide on-going support and information after purchase and do they provide a guarantee? Does the breeder talk to you about desexing, training, socialisation and local government registration requirements?
  • Does the breeder provide references to back up what they have told you?
  • Is the breeder meeting all legal requirements? Contact Council's Community Laws Department on 9262 6394.


Cat/Kitten


I’m thinking of getting a cat, is there a Smart Kitten and Cat Buyer’s Guide?

Yes there sure is! It can be found by downloading the Smart Kitten and Cat Buyer's Guide, or picking up a copy from your local RSPCA centre.