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Pet shops and puppy farms. How should I find the right dog?

By embilly - 26 September 2010 68

Hi Rioters

There has been huge press lately about puppy farms. I don’t want to support these atrocities.

However what I am wondering, are there pet shops which actively DO NOT support puppy farming?

I was in a pet store in Civic yesterday (Pet’s Paradise) as I am considering a dog but having trouble finding the right breed for me. The shop keeper assured me they do not support Puppy Farms, and that their dogs come from ethical breeders etc etc. I really wanted to believe what he was saying, but I don’t know how am I supposed to know if I’m doing the right thing.

Can anyone share their experiences regarding this? Any advice about how we should go about finding the right dog for us? We tried the RSPCA first but they only have really BIG dogs!

(we want a smaller breed, we live in a townhouse with a small but lovely garden. I work from home so am looking for a little friend to hang with). I’ve had dogs before and understand the commitment involved.


What’s Your opinion?

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68 Responses to
Pet shops and puppy farms. How should I find the right dog?
Canberry 7:44 pm 26 Sep 10

Good on you for considering the RSPCA and not getting sucked in to a pet shop purchase! There are a few other local pet rescue groups and private irescuers who advertise on

We adopted our ‘perfect match’ pet about a year ago through a local group we contacted via petrescue. It took quite a few weeks of looking and talking to different groups, but in the end we found exactly the type of dog we were looking for and now we’re living happily ever after.

Good luck with your search for a pooch companion.

creative_canberran 7:18 pm 26 Sep 10
dannybear 7:17 pm 26 Sep 10

What about a breeder? they know way more about the dogs they are selling and can usually give you advice after you have purchased the dog. Or what about adopting a retired greyhound? its a common misconception that they are vicious and that they need allot of exercise. they are really gentle but care needs to be taken around small animals because its their instinct to chase and kill small furry things. they sleep most of the day and only need short walks. there is more information on

Potato 6:49 pm 26 Sep 10

this is a really great wesbite:

It pulls together all the local organisations that re-home unwanted dogs. You help out a nice dog that is need of a home and can be certain you are not supporting puppy farms. I got my dog from ARF and I would never buy another pup again- giving a dumped dog another chance has been very rewarding!

bloodnut 6:38 pm 26 Sep 10

I met many top class breeders looking for my dog and they all quite clearly stated that they would never sell to pet stores. Their dogs are of a standard that makes them sought after. This means they can pick the very best homes for their dogs from a pool of potential owners – they don’t have ‘surplus’ to pass on to pets stores. They also only breed to further their breed so producing puppies for profit alone (ie selling to pets stores) is something they would never do.

No puppy in a store comes from a reputable breeder.

Puppies in pet stores also spend their formative weeks locked unstimulated in a glass box – not a great start for a balanced temperament.

You need to research your breed, search the internet to find the best breeders, prepare to go on a waiting list and some breeders will want to interview you personally. Unless your lucky enough to find a breeder locally, you will probably have to travel a few hours to pick your puppy up.

Good luck.

iceu 6:34 pm 26 Sep 10

Please do not buy from a pet shop! A “registered” breeder can mean one of a few things. Firstly, there are breeders registered with the ANKC which is the pedigree association in Australia. These breeders are not allowed to sell to pet shops and are bound by a code of ethics. The “registered” breeders referred to by pet shops are generally people who are registered as a business to sell dogs. These are not all puppy farms but they’re not where I’d be buying dogs from!

If you are interested in rescuing an older dog, try, you can search for small dogs in NSW/ACT. These dogs will generally have been in foster care in someone’s house so you can really get an idea if their personality and needs suit you or not!

If you are interested in a purebred dog, pick an ANKC-registered breeder who does relevant health tests for that breed. Visit them, take a look at how their dogs and pups are housed and raised. Look for pups raised in the home and socialised with kids and other dogs rather than those kept outside in kennels. Take a look at the listings on

Someone here may be able to suggest a suitable breed for you. Do you mind shedding? Will the dog be indoors/outdoors? How much exercise are you prepared to give? Will you take the dog to training? Do you have kids? There are lots of small breeds that would love to keep you company during the day but we probably need more details to suggest some 🙂

I have one big rescue doggie (who is huge but would be happy to laze around with you all day) and one medium pedigree doggie. They are both beautiful dogs.

laughtong 6:10 pm 26 Sep 10

You might want to check out the rescue organizations in the area. Between them there is usually a range of size and age of dog available. The dogs are generally in foster care, so the carer should be able to give a good feel for the dog’s temperament.
They are desexed (if old enough) microchipped, vaccinated and wormed. In short the fee paid is to cover the costs of this vet-work.


There are also specific breed rescues for some breeds, if you have a particular breed in mind. Smaller breed one I know of is Jack Russell Rescue in Sydney.

harryhaller 6:07 pm 26 Sep 10

I got one of my dogs from the great folks at

and the other from the Canberra pound:

(pound web site seems to be down right now!)

Both dogs were on death row, and are now the greatest companion dogs one could ask for. If ever I need to look for a dog again, I would not look elsewhere but in those two institutions.

Note that I also looked at the RSPCA, but at the time they had waiting lists for certain dogs, which I thought was ridiculous, while other dogs in the pound face certain death if no one picks them up. So these dogs need our help, and they are no worse than other dogs (contrary to popular belief which states that impounded dogs are somehow disturbed, or something).

troll-sniffer 6:05 pm 26 Sep 10

The healthiest and often best tempered dog will be a Heinz 57 from the RSPCA or a family somewhere. And you can guarantee that the breeding process has been 100% ethical.

The whole genetic history of dogs is one of success through interbreeding.

But I guess if you’re after a trophy dog, or something to impress your circle of friends, or just have money to needlessly burn, then I believe that the store you referred to is as they say, supporting ethical breeders, insofar as the genetic travesty that is the purebred can be said to be ethical.

bugmenot 5:58 pm 26 Sep 10

Try contacting one of the local breed associations, and ask them to put you in contact with an responsible breeder.

Thumper 5:37 pm 26 Sep 10

whoops… i should read the complete post first 🙂

Thumper 5:36 pm 26 Sep 10

try the rspca.

pinklink 5:18 pm 26 Sep 10


RSPCA has a guide for this vet reason, it’s called our smart puppy buyers guide. Check out our website or call for a copy. Also see All of our dogs and puppies appear there. We get all shapes and sizes.

Re pet shops, we would advise to go to shelters, pounds or breed and rescue groups. You can also contact the Australian national kennel council for registered pure bred breeders.

ANKC members won’t sell to pet shops generally and only a few pet shops are members of the pet industry association.

Puppy factories are places where the now well known poodle cross are generally bred and it is this hybrid type breed that most often is sold through pet shops or the Internet.

To find out more google where do puppies come from. Also see the ACT RSPCA website as well as the RSPCA Australia website



Tooks 5:13 pm 26 Sep 10

Do you have an idea of what breed you want (there are many smaller dog breeds)? Do you want a grown dog, or do you have your heart set on a puppy? How much time can you spend with it a day (training, exercise, play etc). Do you have kids (if so, how old etc)?

I personally buy through breeders, but I don’t like the idea of selling pups in pet shops, whether they’re a result of puppy farming or not.

RandomPoster 5:09 pm 26 Sep 10

It would be worth checking back with the RSPCA as they will always be getting new dogs:

We also adopted one of our dogs from:

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