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I am going to see a litter of Labrador puppies. I have read a lot on the internet about people buying puppies that were bred on puppy farms without realising that’s where they’ve come from. How do I make sure the puppies I’m viewing are genuine, and from a proper breeder? They are said to be Kennel Club registered.

Sue Williams advises…

You can start checking things out before viewing the pups.

As the dogs are Kennel Club registered, ask for the parents’ Kennel Club names. You can then use the Kennel Club’s website to look at pedigrees, past litter details – and, vitally, see what health tests have been carried out on the parents, and the results.

Ask the breeder lots and lots of questions – passionate breeders will be more than happy to chat about their dogs for hours! Many will share pictures and videos of the puppy’s mum when she was young.

Request a reference from the breeder’s vet – don’t be afraid to ask for things like this. Good breeders expect new owners to carefully research their new family member.

When you go to see the pups, insist on seeing the puppies’ mother; this is something many people forget to do in their excitement to see the pups. Second, note whether the bitch you see looks like she has been rearing puppies; the mum will have obviously enlarged mammary glands from producing milk to feed them. Third, watch her with the puppies; it will be obvious by her interactions if she isn’t really their mum.

You are right to be cautious – puppy farmers have become very devious in recent years, selling litters from ordinary houses and passing the puppies off as ‘home-bred’. Do your homework, and walk away if you have any doubts or are suspicious in any way.

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