Dogs for sale – where should I buy my dog from?

Dogs bring joy and happiness to many Australians and are considered very important members to families.

But, how do you go about buying a new dog or puppy to welcome into your household? And, who should you buy your new pet from – an animal shelter, a breeder, a pet shop or an online trading place? Everybody is different and a lot of these questions will depend on your specific requirements. You should be really clear about what you are after before you purchase a dog.

  • Are you looking for a particular breed?
  • What type of living space do you have?
  • What is your lifestyle and what time do you have available for your dog?
  • Do you have young children?
  • Does anyone in your family have allergies?

Purchasing a rescue dog

Dogs and puppies are always looking for new homes from your local RSPCA or animal rescue group. By buying from pet rescue shelters you are giving a dog a second chance at life.

Dogs adopted from rescue homes are usually de-sexed, wormed, vaccinated and micro-chipped. Organisations like the RSPCA will ensure that you can provide a good ‘forever home’ for an adopted dog through their ‘adoption assistants’. They will talk to you about a particular dog, its needs, background and help match you with a dog that suits your family and lifestyle. They will ask for information on existing pets and require a photo of your backyard to ensure your dog is a good match with your family.

Remember that when you buy from a rescue shelter you may not be able to buy a particular breed of dog and may have to wait until one becomes available.

Buying from a breeder

People tend to buy from breeders when they are after a specific dog breed. When buying from a breeder, check that they have the puppy’s best interests at heart. Ensure that they provide a high standard of care and living conditions for their dogs. This will show they are concerned about the welfare of their dogs and are seeking to find good homes for every puppy that they breed.

The dog breeder will encourage you to meet the puppy’s mother and check that she is happy and healthy. You should also be invited to view where the puppy was born so that you can see that there is enough space for puppies and adult dogs to move around and exercise.

The puppy’s health, welfare and temperament will have been considered by the dog breeder above their appearance.

A veterinary health check should be provided on the sale of the puppy, including its vaccinations, micro-chipping, worming and flea treatments along with its registration and identification papers. A good breeder will provide references, testimonials and documents suggesting their membership of a breed association or canine council. They should also offer to take back unwanted animals within a set time frame after the sale.

Buying from a pet shop

The Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) recommends that you buy from a reputable pet shop that has received their approval and which can provide assurances that puppies are:

  • Vaccinated, micro-chipped, wormed and vet health-checked.
  • Supplied from approved ethical breeders and not puppy farms.
  • From well socialised litters.
  • Well cared for, and will have a home for life if they are not sold at the pet shop.

Many PIAA approved pet stores partner with organisations such as the RSPCA and Animal Welfare League in finding ‘forever homes’ for rescued puppies and kittens that are surrendered by the public. They also offer the guarantee that no puppy sold will ever be euthanised if it ends up at an animal shelter.

Buying a dog online or from a newspaper ads

Experts recommend that you don’t buy a puppy or dog over the Internet or via a newspaper advertisement as there are no regulations that these breeders must comply with. Also, you often can’t ascertain the conditions in which the puppy was bred, know where it came from or ask questions about its background. As such, you can’t guarantee that the puppy hasn’t come from a ‘puppy farm’.

What are puppy farms?

A puppy farm, according to the RSPCA, is “an intensive dog breeding facility that is operated under inadequate conditions that fail to meet the dogs’ behavioural, social and/or physiological needs” and “are usually large-scale commercial operations”, but can sometimes be smaller establishments too.

After you purchase your puppy you may want to think about its long term health. Contact Real Pet Insurance to discuss the options they have to cover for any unexpected vet bills.

Related articles



Real Pet Insurance is underwritten by The Hollard Insurance Company, AFSL 241436. Any advice provided is of a general nature only. Consider the Real Pet Insurance PDS before buying this insurance.

Real Insurance is an award-winning provider of pet insurance.

Pet Insurance Request a Free Quote