Getting a new dog or puppy?

If you are a dog lover and spend any time on social media you would probably have noticed the debate that is raging about the RIGHT place to get a new dog from. Today I will attempt to define the pros and cons of each of the options that are available today in Australia.

Option 1:

A  cute  puppy  from  the  next  door  neighbors  or  friends.

These are cross bred dogs, mutts, Heinz. There are a variety of names that have been used to describe these dogs over the years. They were the dogs I grew up with 40 years ago.  Most families had a dog, not all of them were de-sexed and they were often free to roam. Parents often thought it was educational or cute for the kids to see the miracle of birth. There was an idea that that if a bitch had a litter of puppies it would settle her down or prevent some illnesses. When the puppies got to 4 or 5 weeks they were given away to family or friends. Many of these ideas are still prevalent today and there are still many non de-sexed family dogs deliberately or accidently becoming pregnant.


  • Cheap if not free
  • You have often seen the puppy since birth
  • You know where they have come from
  • You know the people who have raised the puppy
  • Puppy may have been raised in a family environment.


  • You often don’t know who the father is
  • No allowance has been made for any health conditions in the parents that many have been passed onto the puppies.
  • The mother and puppies have often not received appropriate medical care during the pregnancy and whelping.
  • The parents of the puppy were ill suited as parents of puppies on levels of temperament, coat and body construction.
  • Puppies are often removed at too young an age and miss out on essential early socialization with litter mates and mum.
  • Free means that those taking them have not always thought through the long term consequences of the decision.
  • The puppies have not been raised by a professional who understands how essential the first 14 weeks of a puppy’s life is to producing well adjusted adult dogs.
  • Mother may have been too young for pregnancy and/or not suitable as a brood bitch
  • Dog is often not micro-chipped, wormed and vaccinated.
  • Puppies are not much fun after 4 weeks and they can get given away to get rid of them, so they don’t always end up in the most appropriate home.

Option 2:

A purebred or cross bred puppy from a pet shop.


  • In NSW you get a 7 day period of refund if dog is not healthy or not the dog for you.
  • IF the shop is accredited with Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) you have the back up of the code of ethics they are bound by. (This includes where the pups are sourced from and at what age and their basic health care while in the shop)
  • Dog is micro-chipped, wormed and vaccinated
  • You often get to chose from a few different options for puppies
  • Shops with caring management try to place the right pup in the right home however these shops are not common.


  • Not all shops source dogs at the correct age or from appropriate breeders or have the knowledge to provide a good quality pup.
  • They may not know the history or breeding of the puppy or may have been told misleading information.
  • What you get told you are getting is not necessarily what you are getting
  • They often have no understanding of early socialization needs of puppies.
  • They often have no knowledge of long term grooming and training needs of the puppy and worse you are often told incorrect information e.g. oddles rarely need clipping.
  • Pet shops may sell to anyone who has the money to buy but are not necessarily the best owner for that dog.
  • You may pay a large amount of money for a cross bred dog that is labelled as a designer breed (e.g. Cavoodle, Labradoodle)
  • You have no way of knowing if the dog spent the early part of its life in a family situation
  • Puppies may be inappropriately housed in the pet shop.

Option 3:

A purebred puppy from a Canine Council Registered Breeder (e.g. Dogs NSW)


  • Ethical and educated registered breeders should know the genetic history of the mother and father and have decided a mating of two individuals will produce top quality pups.
  • You have the ability to return the pup if it is not right for you or has health issues
  • You have predictability of what your pup will be like due to use of pedigree dogs that consistently produce type and often temperament.
  • You can order before the pup is born and can watch their development from an early age.
  • Registered breeders are guided by a voluntary code of ethics
  • Australian Kennel Council stipulates a breed standard to which dogs should be produced to conform to.
  • Most registered breeders perform stringent health checks to ensure that know genetic diseases are not passed on.
  • You will get asked many questions to determine your suitability to own one of their puppies.
  • Puppies may be raised in a family situation by some breeders


  • Being a registered breeder is no guarantee of expertise. It is a guarantee that they pay the fee each year.
  • The code they adhere to is voluntary and rarely if ever policed.
  • You have not guarantee that the dog that is stated as the father is in fact the father as you are relying on the honestly of the breeder.
  • The breed standard in use is subject to considerable personal interpretation and there is evidence that it may not always produce dogs of excellent health and function.
  • Registered Breeder does not necessarily ensure they have an understanding of the importance of early training and socialization, many do but not all.
  • Puppies may be raised in a kennel environment, despite where they are when you view them.

Option 4:

Cross bred or purebred from a large commercial organisation


  • Depending on the business and the state it is located in it might be under strict council controls to maintain cleanliness.
  • Some have certified trainers attached
  • Purchase of pure and cross bred puppies often available.


  • High volume of puppies produced therefore quality may be compromised in order to produce quality
  • Puppies are often not raised in a family environment
  • Can be high stress environments which may affect the development of the puppy
  • If not registered and inspected then they may not be producing quality puppies.
  • Puppies are often expensive
  • Can be owned and run as businesses and not have the interests of pet owners as number one priority.
  • May be limited in terms of allowing for behavioral needs of puppies.
  • Puppies are often cross breeds with less predictability of type and temperament
  • Rely on the honesty of the business that the puppies are what they say they are
  • May receive limited information on long term needs, including grooming, of the puppy.

Option 5:

Puppy from a breeder registered with Master Dog Breeders and Associates (MDBA) or

Australian association of pet dog breeders (AAPDB)


  • AAPDB members are independently audited each year
  • MDBA code of ethics allows for possible inspection (unknown if it is policed)
  • Code of ethics of each organisation is at least as good as Canine Councils.
  • Purchase of cross bred dogs developed for pet market may be possible
  • Puppies may be bred in family environments


  • Limited facility in the code of ethics to allow for behavioral requirements of puppies
  • Puppies are often cross breeds with less predictability of type and temperament
  • Relying on the honesty of the business that the puppies are what they say they are
  • May receive limited information on long term needs, including grooming, of the puppy.

Option 6:

Rescue a dog from a shelter or rescue organisation.


  • Cheaper option as you usually get de-sexing involved in the purchase price
  • Good option if you want to avoid having to get a puppy and deal with puppy issues
  • You may be saving a dog from euthanasia.


  • Dogs may come with behavioral issues that have to be fixed at considerable cost as they may not have been adequately assessed or have had behavior modification training.
  • It is hard to go to shelters and not feel obligated to save a dog.
  • Usually limited knowledge of the dogs behavioral and health background
  • Not all rescue organisations are professionally run.
  • Dogs from shelters/rescues may develop behavioral issues due the inherent stress experienced by dogs residing in these types of facilities.



Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician   |

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) is the owner of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia. She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues including feeding, training and grooming dogs and cats. Her online pet care magic subscription program deals with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas. Pet care professionals are trained to handle customer issues by the provision of up to date programs to differentiate their pet care business from other competitors.


Posted on November 18, 2012, in Dog Training, Pet Guardians, Poodle Puppies, Puppies, Training and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Interesting read as with all in life it comes down to do you trust the seller is being honest with you.

  2. Not all dogs in shelters are adult dogs. Many shelters have puppies due to rescuing or receiving pregnant bitches in to their care. Most times these litters and mother are fostered out so as to give them the best possible start and socialisation prior to being adopted out. Yes there is no guarantee of the sire so can’t always tell parentage, but that is really no different to when your purchase a puppy from any other source unless you have seen the dogs mate!

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