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You’ve decided to get a new puppy, and you’re excited about adding a new member to your family. There’s one question bugging you, however. How do you look for a puppy to buy?

There are several ways of finding puppies to buy near you. You can find a reputable puppy breeder near you by searching on the internet, asking for recommendations from vets and pet groomers, or checking classified ads on local newspapers.

If you’re looking to buy a new puppy and want to know how to go about the process without getting scammed, this guide has been written specifically for you.

The guide will cover everything you need to know about buying a puppy, including reasonable prices you can expect to pay for a puppy, how to get cheap puppies, the costs of adopting a puppy, and whether it is absolutely necessary for you to pay when adopting a puppy.

This guide will also cover what to look out for before buying a pup, the paperwork you’ll need to ask for before completing the transaction, how to find reputable breeders, and how to avoid puppy mills.

Before jumping into all these details, however, let’s look at the most critical aspect when it comes to buying a new puppy – where do you find local puppies for sale?

Where Can I Find Local Puppies For Sale?

The easiest way to find local puppies is to search on legitimate websites that post puppies that are up for sale or adoption. Examples of these sites include:

All the puppies listed on these sites are from breeders and rescue centers who have been vetted to confirm their legitimacy, and therefore, by using one of these sites, you’re unlikely to find yourself dealing with scammers.

Another reliable way of finding local puppies is to call animal shelters and rescue centers within your area and find out whether they have any pups that are available for adoption.

You also have the option of checking on advertisements for puppies in the classifieds section of local newspapers. However, some of the ads in the classifieds section of newspapers could be posted by puppy mills and scammers, so you need to exercise some extra caution when buying a puppy posted on newspapers.

Finally, you can also find where people buy dogs by asking for referrals from vets, pet groomers, regional dog clubs, as well as neighbors, friends, and family members who already own dogs.

What Is A Reasonable Price For A Puppy?

It will cost you an average of $1,300 to acquire a puppy in the US. The price can go as low as $50 or as high as $100,000 depending on a wide variety of factors.

Some of the factors that affect the price of acquiring a puppy include…

Breed

Some dog breeds are usually more expensive than others, either because they are hard to find, or because they generally attract more demand than others.

For instance, a French Bulldog puppy will set you back about $1,800 to $4,500, whereas a Labrador Retriever puppy, which is America’s most popular dog breed for over 30 years, will only cost you between $400 and $1,500.

Pedigree

Purebred dogs generally cost more compared to mixed breeds. However, as designer hybrids become more popular, it is possible to come across mixed-breeds that are more expensive than their respective purebreds.

Bloodline

If you want to purchase a show quality puppy whose parents have competed and won in prestigious dog shows, you should expect to shell more for the pup compared to what you’d spend to acquire an average dog from the same breed.

For instance, the average Yorkshire Terrier goes for about $1,200 but you’ll sometimes come across some Yorkies from prestigious bloodlines going for as much as $85,000.

Breeder Expenses

If the breeder has undertaken some expenses, such as the cost of vaccination, other medical costs, training and socialization, microchipping, and so on, you can expect them to pass these costs to you when buying the pup.

Age

Generally, the price of acquiring a puppy decreases as the puppy grows older. Therefore, if you’re buying a 2-month-old pup, you should expect to pay more than someone buying a 6-month-old pup of the same breed.

How Can I Get A Cheap Puppy?

The easiest way to get a cheap puppy is to opt for adoption. It is generally a lot cheaper to adopt a puppy than to buy one from a breeder, with adoption costs starting ranging between $50 and $500, compared to the price of buying, which usually starts at $500 and can easily cross into the thousands.

Aside from adopting, here are some other tips that will help you get cheap puppies…

Go For Older Puppies

We already saw that the older a puppy gets, the cheaper they become. If you’re not very concerned about the age of a pup, you can save a significant amount of money by going for older pups.

Find Puppies In Other States

Demand for different dog breeds is not the same everywhere. Therefore, if the breed you’re interested in is too expensive in your state, try looking at the prices in other states. You can easily find a much better deal elsewhere.

However, when doing this, you should be ready to travel to view the pup before making the purchase.

Go For Mixed Breed Dogs

Provided you are not looking for a designer hybrid, mixed breed dogs are usually cheaper than purebreds. If you only want a canine buddy to keep you company, and have no intentions of showing the dog in canine competitions, you can save yourself some money by getting a mixed breed.

Talk To Friends And Family

Instead of rushing to a breeder or shelter once you decide that you want a pup, talk to your friends and family members and let them know you’re interested in acquiring a puppy. They might know someone who has a pregnant bitch or a fresh litter and is looking to give away the pups.

The key to getting a puppy at a cheap price is to take your time looking at different options. If you’re not in a rush, you can look around and easily get a very good deal on a high quality pup.

Do You Have To Pay To Adopt A Puppy?

In most cases, you’ll need to pay to adopt a puppy. Fortunately, the cost of adopting a puppy is usually very low compared to the cost of buying. The cost will also vary depending on whether you’re adopting through a private rescue organization or a city shelter.

So, why do you have to pay? After all, you’re saving the puppy, and you should therefore get the puppy for free, right?

The money you pay when adopting a dog actually covers the expenses the rescue center incurred while taking care of the dog, as it takes time for the dog to be adopted. Other expenses include the cost of food, medical bills, and so on.

Adoption costs also allow the rescue center to cover the vet costs of preparing a dog for life in a new home. These include the costs of services like spaying or neutering, microchipping, flea and tick treatments, deworming, heartworm testing, vaccination against various diseases, and so on.

If the adoption was done for free, you would get a furry buddy who has not had all these services done on them, and in most cases, you’d end up spending a lot more on these services than you can expect to spend on adoption fees.

What Do I Have To Look Out For When Buying A Puppy?

The most important thing to look out for when buying a puppy is the health and wellbeing of the puppy, as well as their temperament. You don’t want to end up with a puppy that will develop various health conditions down the line, or a puppy whose temperament is incompatible with your lifestyle.

So, what should a puppy have before you buy it? Some of the things you should look at to help you determine the health and temperament of a puppy you’re interested in include…

Age

Ideally, a puppy that is up for sale should be between 8 and 12 weeks. A reputable breeder will not allow a pup younger than 8 weeks to leave its mother, since this can have a negative impact on the pup’s development. Also, you should not accept to take home such a young pup.

See The Parents

Before buying a puppy, you should always ask to see the parents. While it won’t always be possible to see the father, always make sure that you’ve seen the puppy with its mother and littermates. How does the mother behave? Does she seem overly aggressive?

Keep in mind that the pup will inherit the temperament of the mother, so it’s very important to see how the mother behaves.

You also need to look at how the puppy behaves with its littermates. Is the puppy overly shy, or does it seem confident? All these will give you insights into the expected temperament of the puppy. If possible, you can even visit several times to observe the pup before making the decision to buy.

Body Strength

From looking at the puppy and holding them in your hand, you should be able to get a feel for how strong the pup is, and how defined their muscles are. If the pup looks weak, you’re better off finding another puppy.

Examine The Coat

A healthy puppy should have a fresh, clean, and shiny coat. If you notice any skin issues or hairless patches of skin, this is a sign that the pup has some health condition.

Money Back Guarantee

A reputable breeder should also be willing to give you a refund should you find out that the puppy has a serious health issue within the first few weeks or months after purchasing the pup. If the breeder doesn’t want to give you a money back guarantee, this is a sign that they are hiding something.

SPOTLIGHT: Check out your dog’s weight at with our very own puppy weight chart right here.

What Paperwork Should Come With A Puppy?

When buying a puppy, you should get health certificates and paperwork, pedigree certificates, microchip documents, as well as pet insurance documents and the sale contract.

Health Certificates And Paperwork

This is the most important paperwork to ask for when buying a puppy. These documents should show the medical history of the puppy documenting most, if not all, of its vet visits, worm, flea and tick treatments, vaccinations and so on.

If the puppy breed is susceptible to certain genetic disorders, you also need to get paperwork showing that the parents were screened for these conditions before being allowed to mate.

Pedigree Certificates

If you’re buying a purebred dog, you should ask for paperwork to show the pup’s family tree and confirm that it is indeed a purebred. The paperwork should also show that the puppy is registered with a recognized canine club or breed association.

Microchipping Documents

If the puppy you’re buying has been microchipped, you should ask for paperwork certifying that your new canine companion is microchipped. Microchipping ensures the safe return of your fur ball to you should they wander away from home and get lost.

Pet Insurance Documents

Good breeders will get insurance covers for their puppies, and if you’re buying your pup from such a breeder, they’ll share with you the insurance papers.

Note, however, that breeders’ insurance usually covers a short period of time, and therefore, you’ll need to buy another insurance cover soon after buying the pup.

Sale Contract

Finally, the breeder should give you a sale contract that has been signed by both of you. The sale contract is a legal document that contains both your details and those of the breeder, and puts in writing the terms and conditions under which you purchased the puppy from the breeder.

Is It Okay To Buy A Dog Without Papers?

This boils down to personal choice. If you intend to enter the pup in dog shows and competitions, you should go for a dog with papers. Without papers, you won’t be allowed to enter your dog in such competitions, and even when you do, they won’t be eligible for titles and awards.

You should also not go for a dog without papers if you intend to use the dog for breeding purposes, since most of those buying your puppies will want to see the puppies’ papers.

However, if you’re simply buying a pooch because you want a family pet, buying a dog with papers is not an absolute necessity.

How Do You Buy A Purebred Puppy?

The best way to buy a purebred puppy is to buy from a dog breeder, because, this way, you’ll have more certainty about the pup’s pedigree, as well as their health status.

While it is possible to adopt a purebred puppy from a dog shelter, there are some disadvantages that come with this approach.

First, the chances of finding a purebred dog in a shelter are much lower compared to mixed breeds. However, you still have the option of adopting from shelters that focus on the specific breed you’re looking for.

Second, most dogs in shelters and rescue centers are usually older, so if you’re looking for a purebred puppy who’s just a few months old, you’ll have a harder time finding the right dog for you.

Finally, with adoption, you cannot be certain about the pedigree of the pooch, unless you get a DNA test done on the dog. In addition, with a rescue dog, you cannot tell if the pooch is predisposed to some genetic conditions, because you have no way of confirming if the parents were screened for these conditions.

What Do You Get From A Breeder When Buying A Puppy?

When buying a purebred puppy from a breeder, the breeder needs to provide you with the following…

Pedigree Certificates

If you’re willing to shell the higher price for a purebred, then you definitely want the registration papers that confirm that your dog is indeed a purebred.

Parents’ Health Certificates

Your breeder should also provide you with paperwork showing that the pup’s parents were screened for genetic diseases and confirmed to be healthy before being bred.

Diet Sheet

Once you buy a puppy and bring them home, you should continue feeding the same food they were used to until they’ve acclimated to the new environment. Therefore, your breeder needs to provide you with a diet sheet showing the food that they used to feed the pup, as well as the quantities.

How Do I Know If My Puppy Breeder Is Legit?

A good breeder will allow you to visit their facility, ask you questions to evaluate match, allow you to meet the family, have good breed knowledge, and have a refund policy. Reputable breeders will also give you the appropriate paperwork and have proper registration.

Allowing You To Visit Their Facility

Reputable breeders don’t have anything to hide and will therefore allow you to visit their facility and to see the living conditions under which a pup has been raised.

They Ask You Questions

A reputable breeder wants to know that you’ll be able to take care of the pup, so they’ll ask questions about your lifestyle and activity levels to determine if the pup will be a good match for you.

Allow You To Meet The Family

Good breeders will also allow you to meet the pup’s family so you can have better insights about the pup’s health, looks, and temperament.

Good Breed Knowledge

A reputable breeder has extensive knowledge of the breed they specialize in and will be eager to answer your questions about the breed’s health, history, temperament and looks.

Refund Policy

Legitimate breeders are not simply looking to dump their puppies, and therefore, most will have a refund policy that allows you to return the dog if you notice any health problems, or if the pup is not a good match for you.

Appropriate Paperwork

When buying a pup from a reputable breeder, they’ll also furnish you with all the paperwork showing the pup’s health status, vet records, vaccination records, as well as papers showing the dog’s pedigree. If these are missing, this should be a red flag.

Properly Registered

Reputable breeders will also have all the proper registrations. So, how do you check if a breeder is registered?

You can verify a dog breeder by checking whether they are registered with legitimate associations and organizations like the American Kennel Club, American Dog Breeders Association, or the All American Dog Registry, or legitimate niche kennel registries.

How Do You Know If A Breeder Is Scamming You?

You are dealing with a scammer if they try avoiding phone calls, they have ‘cookie-cutter’ ads running on multiple websites, or they use stock photos to advertise their puppies.

Scammers will also have puppies selling at very low prices, they’ll ask for money even before you see the pup, and will be using sketchy payment methods.

SPOTLIGHT: Check out your dog’s weight at with our very own puppy weight chart right here.

Is It Bad To Buy A Dog From A Breeder?

It is not a bad idea to buy a dog from a reputable breeder. Still, many people believe it is more ethical to adopt a dog than to buy one from a breeder. This is because adopting a dog gives them a better chance at life, while buying a dog from a breeder inadvertently condemns an abandoned dog to death.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals (ASPCA) reports that every year, over 3.3 million dogs in the US find themselves in dog shelters. Of these, more than half end up being euthanized either because they are old, sick, or simply because there’s nowhere else for them to go.

Every time someone buys a dog from a breeder, an abandoned dog inadvertently loses an opportunity to find a loving family, and can end up finding themselves on the vet’s table for euthanasia.

In addition, buying a dog from breeders motivates them to breed more dogs, fueling the increase of dog populations while many of them are unfortunately languishing in rescue centers.

As a result of these factors, many people believe it is more ethical to adopt a dog, instead of buying one from a breeder, reputable or not.

How Do You Know If It’s A Puppy Mill?

You can tell you’re dealing with a puppy mill if the breeder won’t allow you to meet the puppy’s parents, they won’t allow you to see their kennels, they have multiple litters and multiple breeds, they sell puppies with no questions asked, and they don’t ask you to sign any paperwork.

They Won’t Show You The Parents

Puppy mills won’t allow you to meet the pup’s parents because, in most cases, the parents are of poor health, and sometimes, the pups are stolen, so the parents are not available.

They Won’t Show You The Kennels

Puppies from puppy mills are kept in dirty and overcrowded areas, and therefore, puppy mills won’t allow you to see where they keep their pups.

Multiple Litters

Breeding is a delicate affair that needs lots of attention, and therefore, most reputable breeders only have only one litter at a time. If you notice that a breeder has a constant supply of puppies, or if they have litters of multiple breeds at a time, you’re definitely dealing with a puppy mill.

No Questions Asked

A reputable breeder will want to find out about you to help them determine if the puppy breed to be purchased will be compatible with your lifestyle and habits such that these puppies will be well taken care of.

On the other hand, a typical puppy mill works and feels transactional. Therefore, as long as the money is of the right amount, they will not ask you questions before selling a puppy to you.

No Paperwork

Any reputable breeder will ask you to sign a contract confirming that you’ll ensure the pup gets all necessary shots, get it spayed or neutered, and so on.

Puppy mills, on the other hand, do not care about the welfare of the puppy, and therefore, they will not ask you to sign any paperwork, so long as they’re getting their money.

Why Is It Bad To Buy From Puppy Mills?

Dogs in puppy mills are kept in poor and crowded conditions and seldom get any exercise, and as a result, there is a very high likelihood of disease and health issues among puppy mill dogs. Under no circumstances can puppy mills be a good thing, and therefore, you should totally avoid buying puppy mill dogs.

Is It Illegal To Run A Puppy Mill?

Unfortunately, it is not illegal to run a puppy mill in most states. It is legal to keep as many dogs one wishes, as long as the dogs are provided with food, water, and shelter.

Unscrupulous breeders take advantage of such legal loopholes to operate puppy mills without breaking the law. What you can do as a dog lover is to not purchase from these breeders and to notify other dog lovers about them such that a boycott can be used against them and to shut their businesses down.

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