Your checklist for getting a dog

Whether you want a puppy or an older dog to join your family, use this checklist and take it with you when you visit each dog. It will help you make the right decision.


Deciding on a dog

  1. Think about whether a dog is right for you, your family and your lifestyle
  2. Make sure you have the time and money to give a dog everything it needs
  3. Research and choose the right dog for you – a puppy or an older dog? Which breed?

Looking for a dog

  1. Choose a genuine, reputable breeder, seller, owner or dog rehoming centre
  2. Be careful if you buy a dog online and look out for warning signs for dishonest sellers
  3. Use the Kennel Club’s ‘Find a rescue dog’ or ‘Find a puppy’ search

What to check when you visit a dog

For puppies

  1. Check the breeder is happy to sign a Puppy Contract
  2. Check the breeder’s credentials with the Kennel Club
  3. Check the breeder’s licence and star rating with the local authority
  4. Check how the dog interacts with its mum

For all dogs

  1. Check the conditions the dog is being kept in
  2. Check the dog’s health – for example behaviour, bottom, coat, eyes, ears, nose, mouth and weight – and check with a vet if you’re worried
  3. Find out everything you can about the dog – remember your list of questions to ask the owner, seller or breeder
  4. Find out about any specific needs the dog will need help with
  5. Spend time with the dog before you take it home – several visits and a walk if you can
  6. Ask for all paperwork and medical records, including any pedigree paperwork and neutering, vaccination, flea and worming records
  7. Check the dog is microchipped
  8. Check how the dog interacts with other dogs and people, including children and strangers
  9. If anything doesn’t seem right, be prepared to look for another dog
  10. Call us on 0300 303 9333 if you have questions about getting a dog