Many dogs, both puppies and older dogs, unfortunately become abandoned or homeless through no fault of their own every year.
Rescue centres usually assess the dog's behaviour on arrival and often carry out remedial training if needed before offering for rehoming. Therefore dogs offered are usually very suitable and loving pets. The advantage of an older dog is that basic training has already been carried out and so in this respect these dogs are easier to care for than taking on a puppy.
Rescue centres often have both pedigree and cross breed dogs available but the dog's background or exact breeding details are often not know. However, unless the intention is to show or breed then rescue dogs should be considered.
Depending on the rescue organisation they may require the completion of a series of forms, interviews or even a home visit to assess suitability as a potential dog owner. Their primary concern is to ensure the correct placement of the dogs in their care with a suitable new owner.
Dog breeders may be located through dog clubs or advertisements for dogs for sale.
Many breeders of pedigree dogs also show their dogs and so breed towards producing a good healthy show dog with a view to keeping one or two themselves so quality and temperament is of vital importance when planning the breeding. These breeders can be usually be located through the Kennel Club or breed specific dog clubs.
There are also owners who have had a one-off litter from their pet dogs producing cross breed or pedigree puppies. These may be the result of a planned or unplanned pregnancy but the puppies have usually been well cared for and brought up in a family environment and so most often make very suitable pets and will be less expensive to purchase than a pedigree show dog.
Buying a dog direct from the show breeder or family breeder means that there is the opportunity to see the parents and know the date of birth of the puppy that it is intended to purchase. Under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving Animals (England) 2018 anyone who breeds more than 3 litters a year or sells dogs as a business should be licensed by their local authority and display their licence at their premises.
Puppies should not be sold or permanently separated from their mother until 8 weeks of age minimum and under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 any puppies offered for sale are legally required to be microchipped before being sold.
Unfortunately there are also people who breed dogs purely for profit and puppy farms whose concern is quantity not quality, and these may pose as private dog breeders. If the mother is not available to view, or the mother/puppies are not kept in the house from which they are being sold then this may indicate the mother is not a family pet and the mother and/or puppies may have come from a puppy farm and are therefore best avoided.
If when viewing any puppies you are concerned about their environment, or the welfare of the mother or puppies being offered for sale then you should inform an animal welfare organisation.
Sometimes puppies are available in pet shops although there are plans in place for this practice to be banned. In any case there is risk as to whether puppies sold in pet shops will be of good temperament or health, the parents cannot be seen and often little or no information that can be given about their background or breeding. Therefore it is best to source a dog from a rescue home where its health and termperament would have been assessed or direct from a reputable breeder.