Brown puppy close up

Could you spot a puppy farm? How to identify and avoid unscrupulous breeders

4 minute read

All of our content is approved by our in-house advisory board of experts

Thinking of bringing home a new pet but not sure how to avoid puppy farms? Here’s everything you need to know...

  • Why puppy farm pets often suffer poor health
  • How to identify a puppy farm
  • Key questions to ask your breeder

The problem with puppy farms 

A puppy farmer is defined as a high volume breeder who breeds puppies with little or no regard for the health and welfare of the puppies or their parents. 

According to Pets4Homes, “puppy farms for dogs are the equivalent of battery farms for chickens, and the care, welfare and living conditions of the dogs and puppies kept and housed as part of a puppy farming establishment are by their very nature, sub-par, and unfit for purpose.”

Back in 2018, the government announced it would ban unethical puppy and kitten farms in England, pledging to end the trade of unscrupulous breeders who keep animals in filthy and cramped conditions and force some to be pregnant many times over.

The regulation means that anyone wanting to buy or home a puppy or kitten will have to deal directly with the breeder or rehoming centre. The proposed rule would also effectively prevent the sale of puppies and kittens in traditional pet shops.

How do you know if you’re buying from a puppy farm?

It can be hard for a first time puppy buyer to identify a puppy farm. The people who own and manage puppy farms are adept at disguising the operation, and many an unsuspecting owner has inadvertently bought a puppy farm puppy without being aware.

Pets4Homes lists some of the warning signs  to look out for, which include:

  • A seller that regularly offers pedigree puppies for sale without any formal breed paperwork
  • Premises with lots of outbuildings, temporary accommodation (such as caravans and sheds), or closed off rooms that appear to have a lot of activity going on around them
  • A seller who quickly offers an alternative puppy or litter to view if you find the one you’ve gone to see is unsuitable
  • A seller offering multiple different breeds and types of puppies for sale
  • Puppies being shown to you one at a time, or without the dam or littermates present
  • The seller having little knowledge of the puppies/breed in question
  • A seller or breeder who appears uninterested in you and your lifestyle
  • Puppies that are caged or crated when shown to you

Still unsure? Check out this list of essential questions to ask your breeder.  


Can having a puppy farm pet impact my pet insurance? 

The health of a pet bought from a puppy farm may not be the best and, as a result, your pet could suffer from long term illnesses. It’s important to ensure you choose the right level of pet insurance  cover for you, and to keep your pet happy and healthy. 

Things to remember: 

  • LV=’s time limited policy only covers each condition for 12 months. Any claims for this condition after the 12 months has ended or the monetary limit has been reached wouldn’t be covered. 
  • LV’s policies may not cover pre-existing conditions or conditions that have shown signs of in the waiting period / exclusion period.  We will not cover illness/injury that first showed signs in the waiting period / exclusion period. 
  • Make sure you have the correct DOB for your pet. LV= will only cover pets from eight weeks, but sometimes, puppy farmers let pets go earlier than this
  • If you don’t have the vaccinations recommended by your vet, then the diseases that these prevent won’t be covered 

If in doubt, chat to your vet. 

This article contains links to other sites, and we're not responsible for the contents of any of these websites.