Will New Puppy Contract Help Buyers?

A standardised puppy contract has long been discussed as a potential means to assist puppy buyers, helping the navigate the minefield of unethical breeders. Now the RSPCA has launched their own scheme to address this concern.

The charity says:

Puppy buyers have been given a helping hand in their search for a healthy and happy hound with the launch of the BVA Animal Welfare Foundation and RSPCA’s new Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack.

The contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP) were launched today (11.4.12), endorsed by a string of major animal welfare organisations, after new figures revealed 69% of people currently looking for a dog thought it would be very valuable if breeders were to provide a signed puppy information pack to prospective purchasers.

The new information pack arms buyers with the knowledge to give themselves the best chance of getting a fit, healthy and happy, well socialised pet to join their household.

The new pack provides thorough guidance for anyone thinking of buying a puppy, as well what it is hoped will become an industry standard contract that will give buyers reassurances about the dog they are buying.

The contract and PIP have also been designed to help good breeders demonstrate the care and attention they have devoted to their puppies’ breeding and upbringing and can be downloaded at www.puppycontract.org.uk

Both the contract and PIP have been endorsed by the Advisory Council on the Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding, British Veterinary Association (BVA), Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC), Dogs Trust, PDSA and UFAW (Universities Federation for Animal Welfare).

James Yeates, head of the RSPCA’s companion animals department, said: “The RSPCA receives a large number of calls from heartbroken owners each year. Often they have been forced to spend hundreds of pounds on veterinary bills for their dogs that have been ill from the moment they get their pet home.

“We often hear of sellers that have misled buyers about important information such as vaccinations, have failed to offer information about the puppy’s parentage and have neglected to socialise the dogs before they are sold.

“Meanwhile, good breeders sometimes struggle to demonstrate just how well they have cared for their puppies. We believe the new contract and Puppy Information Pack provide a means of doing just that, while also empowering buyers to demand happy and healthy puppies.

“Ultimately, we hope it means more people will avoid the emotional and financial pitfalls of buying a puppy, and therefore fewer unhealthy and unsocialised puppies being bred by rogue breeders to meet demand.”

Tiffany Hemming, BVA Animal Welfare Foundation Chair of Trustees, said: “Everyone wants their new puppy to be happy and healthy but all too often veterinary surgeons are presented with new puppies that are suffering health and behaviour problems caused by bad breeding.

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“Based on the expertise of vets, behaviourists, breeders and a number of other experts, the BVA AWF/RSPCA puppy contract and information pack will give potential puppy buyers the tools to select the right pet for them and give them the best start.

“If you are thinking of buying a puppy speak to your local vet and make sure your chosen breeder provides you with a puppy contract and PIP before you buy.”

The concept of a standard puppy sales contract was identified by all three of the reports on the health and welfare of dogs, which have been published in recent years2. The reports all said a puppy sales contract would improve dog welfare as it would allow the public to make fully informed decisions when buying a dog.3

The contract and PIP can be used for all puppies, whether they are pedigree or not.

A breeder fills in the PIP with information about the puppy before it is sold. This will include information about the health of the puppy and its parents, and the experiences the puppy has had to prepare it for life in its new home.

The contract is then signed by the breeder to say that all of the information they have given in the PIP is true, and by the buyer to say they understand the details they have received and that they undertake to provide for the puppy’s future needs.

Amy Rosevear has bred a litter of cocker spaniel puppies and is considering a second litter. Amy, a veterinary nurse and head receptionist at Pelyn Veterinary Group, gave feedback on the puppy contract during the consultation. She said:

“The puppy contract and information pack are a fantastic idea, as long as everyone uses them. The PIP has everything a new owner could possibly need and it will be very useful when owners take the puppy for the first visit to the vet.

“When I bred my first litter I tried to give the new owners as much information as possible. The PIP is a useful way to pull all of the information together in one place and I will definitely use it if I go on to breed another litter.

“If you want to be a responsible breeder you have to be seen to be doing all of the right things. In future puppy buyers should think twice if there’s no puppy contract and ask questions if information is missing from the PIP.

“Fingers crossed this will mean more healthy and happy puppies.”

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Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine is the the online editor at MyDogMagazine.com. She is an experienced dog owner and professional writer who lives with her two beloved dogs, Mabel and Charlie.


  1. As a breeder all my puppies go on a contract, because I don’t want one of my puppies ending up dumped in a rescue.
    I am all for a generic contract to be produced,that would stand up in a court of law! However I think they have it wrong in trying to protect buyers. Its the puppies that need the protection of a contract! for example my second litter I thought I had done all I could to ensure my puppy was going to a decent permenant home. Then the husband got ill and ended up in hospital, little did I know but the wife wasn’t happy to have a large GSD around her “babies – yorkshire terriers” when I took pup to her new home they acted like the perfect home, he’d recently lost his GSD and she loved the yorkies so much I thought it was a home where my puppy would be loved for life. The wife never put forward an concerns about having a large dog around her “darlings” and having a friend who had BSDs and german spitzs so large with small I saw no problem. then I had the phone call from the step son, his mum had given him my puppy when her husband went into hospital – he said his mum couldn’t cope with a puppy. I said she was on a contract and if the owners couldn’t cope then she was to come back to me as signed! I then got a mouth ful on the phone, saying how my contract only stated they couldn’t sell or put my dog into a rescue, no where did it say they couldn’t give the dog away and he wanted her for life and would never part with her. I tried to expain the only reason I had a contract was to protect my puppies from being passed from home to home and if he really was willing to offer her a permemant home then if he was willing to sign the contract then OK, but he got mad again and said no way would he part with her and he’d see me in a court of law! Even I knew it wouldn’t stand up as we have no backing from the Kennel Club, BVA etc, so could I call the police and arrive on the doorstep to recliam my pup? NO!. So what did I do? wait for the next phone call, which I just knew was coming and two weeks later it came from the son “who would never part with her” Can you please pick her up my wife is pregnant again and can’t cope with a puppy keep jumping up at her?”well der, you teach pup that jumping up is wrong!?? So we made arrangements to travelled up and pick her up that weekend. We got there and as we walked in, she cowered and wet herself (this was the most confident puppy in my litter) I so wanted to fly and hit the smug sh@t and I’m not a violent person. My friend who had come with me, the minute she saw how pup was she grabbed my arm and said lets just get her out of here. So I, with out even engaging the son in conversation (as it just wasn’t worth asking what hapened to his I would never part with her) I just asked for all the paper work, took pup and walked out as quick as we could. It took us weeks to even get her trust my husband, she was so scared of men it was unbelieveable, even when she finally trusted my husband again any strange men and she would wet herself. It broke my heart and I felt guilty that she had ended up like this, and even though my friend pointed out I didn’t sell her to the guy that had mistreated her, it still made me feel bad. I now insist anyone interested ina puppy from me spends as much time as posiible visiting not just pup but me, as I think the more they come the more I will get to know them as a person Yet i still feel had my contract been legal, she would never of ended up with the son and would of advoided the mistreatment?. Us breeder use contracts in the hope of scaring off bad owners. I did learn one thing to add into my contract that none of my puppies could be given away. My point there are breeders like me that do care about our puppies and where they end up, I do all I can to ensure the health of my puppies. They are vet checked before leaving for their new homes; as well as giving advice and being there for my puppies owner. I also keep my puppies longer .And I feel another law that needs addressing is the age when the puppies are allowed to leave the breeder as some pups are sold off at between 5 – 6 weeks, which is way too young and there should be law on it as puppies need to learn from mum and litter mates and the longer they are allow the better their socilisation will be. Our puppies leave us no sooner than 9 weeks, I would prefer longer and think the law should be 12 weeks. However we ensure our puppies leave us at least paper trained (depending on the time of year, as its not so easy watching 8 puppies during freezing weather) they also know the basic, of sit, down, stand and wait for food. they are also used to a collar and when pups do stay longer they are used to a lead.
    Sorry digressing the point, but at the same time trying to show not all breeders are bad and we do care about our puppies and where they end up! And I believe a contract should foremost represent the puppy! And a generic contract should be produced that has input from buyer, and breeders. The puppies are the ones that need the protection the most and its not just from bad breeders but from bad owners as well. I also think breeding dogs need protection as well there are too many breeders using dog for making money, what about the poor bitche once they afre passed their usefulness? most get pushed out and rehomed some get put to sleep, who is going to protect them? I just went through hell one of my girls got rushed in out of hours for an emergency C-section and spay. Thanfully she has come through OK and so did one of her pups. Had she been owned by a back street breeder she would now be obsolete and need getting shot off to move in the next breeding machine. I’m just so thankful she is OK and she will remain with us fior life as she is a big part of our family and we love her.
    I have also had to deal with a 4 year dog from one of my very first litters, his owners have hit finacial problem and him and their other two dogs need rehoming. Thankfully I have managed to find another home for my boy, but I do worry about their ither two dogs even though they are not my breeding, but back to my point of a contract, like I have and willing take responsibilty for a dog I bred I think the breeders of the other two dogs should also be taking account of the dogs they’ve bred that need re-homing! maybe if breeders had to take responsibility of any dog they bred some might sit back and think before breeding? but then I supose those that breed for money would just have them destroyed? again what about the puppy/now adult dog??
    Talk to breeder and buyer and get together to discuss the best for the puppy, no one else!

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