How to buy a puppy online safely.


How to Buy a Puppy Online Safely: Buying a Puppy Online Tips

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Denise Leo. Post first published on February 2, 2023.

The internet is a wonderful, informative place, but it can be full of pitfalls. One such pitfall is the sale of puppies online. If you’re looking for a perfect puppy but can’t find one in your local shelter or breed rescue organization, you might be tempted to buy a new one online.

So when buying a puppy from a website, make sure it’s reputable and safe. This article will take you through some tips on buying a puppy online safely and how to avoid online scammers.

This how-to buy a online puppy guide was created for anyone who wants to ensure they get a healthy pup with all their shots from a reputable breeder.

Best Place to Buy a Puppy Online

How do you find good dog breeders on the internet? Most people who want to buy a puppy spend time searching online.

That’s fine as long as you understand that the bad breeders aren’t using ads on supermarket walls or in cheap places any longer. They know how to find and attract buyers.

Buying a puppy online can be an exciting experience. Many websites sell pets, but it is essential to research and know what you’re getting into before purchasing. Unfortunately, scammers have found the internet is a great place to find easy targets.

Contact your local breed club to find a reputable dog breeder and seek referrals from trustworthy members. If the local breed club has no members with pups available, you can try checking out the dog breeder’s online websites.

How to Buy a Puppy Online Safely
How to Buy a Puppy Online Safely

Buying Puppies Safely Online

How to tell if a breeder is a good breeder on the internet. It’s essential that, as a new pet owner, you should do proper research. Sure, it may seem confusing because the bad breeders will tell you many of the same things as the good ones.

How to Tell if a Breeder is a Good Breeder Check List:

  1. Responsible dog breeder will have their website to show off their dogs and the feats they have achieved. Bad breeders only use sites to show off and sell puppies.

Best breeder websites are usually full of pictures of their dogs doing everything. Field breeders will show their dogs holding a duck or on point.

Flyball breeders will show their dogs action photos. There could also be some great photos with their family or some candid ones, but it’s evident that the breeder is focused on more than pets.

A bad breeder’s website will only have photos of the dogs sitting down, or the absolute worst photos are of female dogs when they’re pregnant or nursing (hanging low).

If you see a photo of a dog behind a wire, that’s a glaringly obvious red flag, especially if you don’t see any shots without a wire. If the dogs are dirty, that’s also a bad sign.

A responsible breeder often shows casual shots, but the dogs pictured will be clean, washed, blown, and nicely stacked. Their formal shots are winning photos.

The best dog breeders don’t use headings such as “dams,” “sires,” “Mommies,” or “Daddies.” They might use “Females” and “Males,” but the dogs are never shown to be puppy producers. They’re shown on the website and highlighted for their abilities and accomplishments, regardless of whether it’s in the agility ring, the field, or the show ring.

Having puppies is an important aspect but certainly not the main focus of their website.

  1. Honest dog breeders know and use the right language for their specific breed. Bad or careless breeders try to use the right language but invariably get it wrong. The good breeders describe a female dog as “typey and square, the chocolate-colored female has a lovely open side gait and runs true down and back again. The careless breeders will say, “She’s got a nice stride” or “he’s burly and big.”

Reputable dog breeders will use such words as side gait, typey, sweep (in a Cardigan, it means a long dog who’s beautifully put together and well balanced), down and back, rear, front, balanced, conformed, and socialized.

Bad breeders like stride, burly, big, thick, confirmation, acclimated, back, and front legs. They’ll love using silly phrases like domestic breeding, relationship stature, and being trained in socialization. One ad said they breed using the biggest available bloodlines.

  1. Good dog breeders never try to highlight the superficial aspects of their dogs. They don’t complain about the puppy’s color, markings, or attributes that make it worth buying. They never breed undersized or oversized dogs. They try to choose average-sized dogs where possible. This is because under/over-sized dogs face many health problems, so you must consider their size when buying.
How to Buy a Puppy Online Safely
How to Buy a Puppy Online Safely

Reputable breeders never brag about coat lengths, unusual colors, ear shape, or eye color, or use “rare” when describing their dog. These breeders have enough trouble finding high-quality dogs in typical colors. They’re hardly ever attracted to lower-quality dogs in rare colors.  Suppose a good breeder does have a puppy with odd-colored eyes, hair, or coat type. In that case, it’s usually sold to somebody as a pet on limited kennel club registration instead of being sold at a higher price as a rarity.

  1.  Good breeders rarely sell a single puppy prior to eight weeks of age. Bad breeders sell puppies as soon as possible. Sadly, bad breeders never try to match the puppies with their owners. Before the puppies have reached an age where they can be graded, they are usually sold. So they’re matched solely based on color because it’s the only element possible to use prior to the age of seven to eight weeks. Never buy from a breeder who uses color as the only determining factor.
  2. “Runt” or “the pick of the litter” are phrases never used by good breeders; only bad breeders ever use these expressions. Phrases such as a “show pick” or “small at birth” are fine, but the other two are derogatory and only bad breeders use them. It’s also a myth that a runt is found in each litter.

Puppies who start small soon grow up to match other puppies in their litter and may end up as the best show dogs of the litter. If a puppy is sick and can’t grow normally, it must never be sold as a pet.

Regarding “pick of the litter,” this is irrelevant if you’re buying a pet. The breeders who use this phrase are simply trying to get you to buy the puppy. If you hear it, ask what they mean by it. Most people will say it refers to color, markings, or something else superficial. They have no bearing on what it takes to make a puppy a good show dog.

The word “throwback” should also ring alarm bells if you hear it. Those bad breeders use this to make excuses for a puppy that doesn’t look like a purebred and is ugly. “Seventy-pound Dane?” “Throwback?” “Both are stupid terms.

  1. Good breeders don’t list their dog’s weight except as an incidental, whereas bad breeders write it under the dog’s name in bold to try to impress with the size of their dog (big or small). Reputable breeders don’t use this ploy as they breed to a standard. You’ll know their dogs fall into a specific range. Bad breeders try to go down or up from that standard level, often producing 1 kg Yorkies or 45 kg Labradors. They focus on a specific weight as being highly desirable. It’s yet another way they’re selling based on superficial attributes, not the basic soundness of the puppy.
Buying a Puppy Online Tips
Buying a Puppy Online Tips

Think about buying your puppy with your eyes shut. Do you have plenty of information? Can you get enough accurate information from the website to make an educated buying decision? Or has that breeder only given you basic information such as eye color, color, type of coat, and other information?

  1. Bad breeders sell puppies as long as they’re cute. Once they become ‘ugly,’ they stop selling the dogs. Good breeders don’t ever drop the cost of an older puppy. The price is often increased. The better breeders sell dogs whose maturity gives them extra value. They’ll often sell retired older dogs for a small amount of money to cover desexing costs, but you won’t ever see them dropping the cost of a puppy to get him off their premises. 
  2. Responsible breeders possess an innate sense of where in the breed their dogs fit. They can discuss dogs in the pedigrees with clear knowledge, even if they have never seen or owned them. They won’t talk about  the dogs having “pretty colors” or as being “nice pets.” You’ll hear them talk about how a grandsire is a top herding dog or another one that has multiple show titles. They’ll understand the main health issues faced by the breed. They’ll discuss the uniqueness of the challenges facing owners, breeders, exhibitors, and trainers of such a breed.

You should be overjoyed to have your dog for his whole life, and your breeder should provide support gained from experience if you have any problems. There should be a feeling of value unrelated to the dog’s “cuteness” factor, and you should come away with your puppy feeling like he’s the best breed available at the time.

If a dog breeder can’t provide these things, don’t buy from him. Don’t buy a dog if you don’t care about the correct breed type or health problems. Rescue one instead.

Buying a puppy Online Tips
Buying a Puppy Online Tips

Avoiding Online Puppy Scams

Online puppy scams are not only common, but they can also have devastating impacts. With so many people accessing the internet for their transactions and information needs, from checking email to shopping online – it’s easy to get lulled into complacency about how safe we are in this electronic age.

But no matter where you go or what device comes up next on your screen: beware! Here is some advice that will help ensure you can avoid online puppy scams:

Carefully Check all Advertisements

Be careful when looking for a new pup. Many websites try to bait you into thinking they can deliver your perfect pet, but don’t be fooled by these scams.

Double-check every ad carefully and ensure everything described sounds correct before clicking away – this includes what breeders say about their dogs’ behavior, how much it will cost, contact information, and the breeder’s location. Scammers often make obvious spelling errors, and any obvious spelling errors are red flags.

Make Sure the Puppies Available Exist

Scammers are experts in grabbing photos of purebred puppies from the web and claiming them as their own. Thus, if a breeder says they can send you pictures of available litter, ask for personalized photographs or videos instead. Ask for a picture of your new puppy next to a newspaper dated the day they were born, so there’s proof that these puppies are real.

Check the Breeder’s Website Carefully

One of the telltale signs that a breeder’s website is fake is if they use http:// in place of https://. This means it isn’t secured and may be trying to scam people!

Another thing you can do, as well, would be to check out their domain age (or how long it’s been active). Most puppy scammers set up an authentic-looking site with information about themselves on the website; however–their establishment date didn’t match when the web address was live for certain domains, so keep your eyes peeled here too.

Is the Puppy is Priced Below Market Value?

Research the average price of the breed you are after and compare it to the breeder’s quote. If it is too good to be true, it might be a strategy to lure innocent pet lovers like yourself.
No reputable breeder would offer their litter at a very low price because they have invested time and effort in producing those pups.

If they claim that they are connected to a specific canine organization and have been selling cheap dogs for quite some time, then give that organization a call to confirm their reputation.

Avoid Breeders Who Want To Close the Sale Immediately

If the breeder tells you a lot of reasons why they should get their pup ASAP before it’s even old enough to be sold, something is suspect. Buying from a reputable, ethical breeder can take some time and might seem frustratingly slow at times!  So if this person promises that everything will go smoothly as long as you pay them immediately, cancel your order.

Buying a Puppy Online Tips
Buying a Puppy Online Tips

Contact Their Veterinarian

Scammers won’t be able to connect you with a vet, but they will give out fake phone numbers. Check the physical address of any veterinarian and make contact yourself.

If it sounds too good to be true, there’s probably nothing legitimate about these individuals. Proactively verify everything before doing business with anyone online.

Ask for AKC Breeder Registration Details

A scammer would do everything for you to fall into their trap. They’d associate themselves with the most esteemed and respected groups just to sound believable, like a member of the AKC, National Breed Club, or animal shelters.

Once he says that his dogs are from these associations, take advantage by verifying this information yourself – ask people at these locations if what he told is true before making any commitments.

Ask for a Scanned Copy of the Vaccination Certificates

Ask for copies of the pup’s vaccination certificates and worming records to ensure that the puppy has received appropriate veterinary treatment. Proof of worming and vaccination will also prove the puppy exists.

Request Copies of the Parents Kennel Club Paperwork

If you want to ensure that the pup comes from a legitimate breeder, ask for copies of their parents’ kennel club paperwork.

Check the Puppy’s Sales Contract and Guarantee

It is essential to read the sales contract and guarantee before signing. Make sure you understand what each page says and that your needs have been met with the puppy agreement, such as microchipping data or registration requirements for breeding/showing purposes. I recommend thoroughly reviewing every aspect because otherwise, there may be unforeseen consequences later.

Another Red Flag are Emails Containing Poor Grammar

Scammers often prefer communicating via email instead of contacting you via Skype, Zoom, and other similar apps that allow video calling. This is already a red flag because it means they are not interested in talking with potential buyers.

Another thing that should put puppy buyers off immediately if they make mistakes when typing their messages or have errors such as spelling is grammar. A reputable breeder would never do this since communication includes detail-oriented work for those who want information!

Never Pay With Western Union

Make sure to pay for your new puppy with PayPal or a credit card. Check out the bank details before you deposit funds. Never use Western Union as a payment method for a puppy.

How to buy a puppy online safely.
How to buy a puppy online safely.

How to Buy a Puppy Online Safely Conclusion

You should know the risks and red flags when buying a puppy online. Make sure to research and find out everything possible about the breeder. The more information you have before making this big decision, you will be better off.

Ensuring your new puppy has been well cared for and socialized from birth with humans, and other animals is vital. You can also ask questions about health care information or any medications they may have received before coming into your home.

We hope this post has provided the information you need to know to find a reputable dog breeder, avoid puppy scams and buy a puppy online safely.

Copyright  CaninePals.Com. All rights reserved.

References and Further Reading:
[1] Denise Leo “Tips on Choosing the Perfect Canine Companion”.
[2] AKC “American Kennel Club”.



  • Denise Leo

    My name is Denise Leo, and I hail from Australia. My journey with dogs, especially with the delightful Pomeranian breed, has been a lifelong passion extending over 50 years. I have had the honor of breeding and exhibiting close to 100 Pomeranian Champions, dedicating many years to the intricate art of dog training across various disciplines. Beyond the show ring, my experience stretches to the pastoral fields as both a Dairy Farmer and Beef Cattle Breeder, where working with dogs of all breeds has been an integral part of my daily life. This diverse exposure has deepened my understanding and appreciation for these incredible animals. I firmly believe that dogs are the most extraordinary beings in our universe, capable of offering us unconditional love that surpasses even their own self-interest. The countless wonderful dogs that have shared my life over the years have not only brought immense joy and companionship but have also profoundly enriched my existence in ways I could never have imagined. About us page