Puppy Buying Guide – Part 1

In my puppy buying guide I have created a 3 part series all about the important things to think about when buying a new puppy.

The first part is about what breed and type of dog you may be looking for, plus gives you an idea of what breeder you may prefer and how to find a good breeder.

The second part of my puppy guide will assist you with your communication with the breeder and will highlight to you the importance of asking the breeder questions, although many good breeders will just tell you this information possibly without you even asking a question.

The final part of the guide will give you a guide of the puppy selection process, plus an overview of your puppy visits and contact with your breeder.

Everyone’s search will be different and everyone’s puppy choice will differ too, so I am not going to tell you what to get or do, just simply guide you through the puppy buying experience to help you with your search for a puppy. I hope this just makes your puppy buying experience a more pleasurable and knowledgeable one. Over the last 4 years I have lost count how many breeders I have emailed, called and met, and in this time I have picked up much information which I intend to share with you. This is an exciting time for you, as you will soon to be the proud owner of an adorable new puppy, but I really wish I had a guide like this when I was searching for my first puppy, as it may help you along the way.

Part 1 – Puppy Buying Guide

What dog breed best suits you?
You have many things to decide before you even start your search for a puppy including what breed, size and type of puppy or dog may suit your family and lifestyle. Think about the overall appearance, size and coat type you want and what would best suit your home. It’s good to have in your mind what you would prefer regarding the breed, but of course this may change during your search but at least you will have an idea of what you are searching for and be knowledgeable of the breed. Research the breed or breeds you like and desire, think about the size of the adult dog, its on going care, health concerns related to the breed, exercise needs and most of all would it fit into your life as a puppy and adult dog.

Things to consider:

  • The size of adult dog you desire
  • Appearance & looks
  • Coat type (short, long, curly, straight, low shedding, coat care)
  • Pure breed or cross breed
  • Puppy or adult dog (possible rehome or rescue dog)
  • Nature, character and temperament of the breed
  • Health concerns of the breed
  • Exercise and care needed for the breed

What type of breeder do you prefer?
Another thing to consider is the types of breeder you may prefer, as there is a choice of a licensed breeder, a home/hobby breeder,  one off breeder or even a rescue centre or adoption. These types of breeders can be equally good it just depends which you personally prefer as they may all be professional and dedicated in their breeding practice.

A licensed breeder’s normal runs their breeding as a business and may have a larger premise to cope with their volume of breeding, possibly kennels. A licensed breeder can legally breed over 5 litters per year and they hold a license from their local authority, plus they will have regular checks on their premises and facilities.

A home/hobby breeder may breed from home and raise puppy in the home plus have a good set up to cope with their breeding needs, and these breeders are legally allowed to breed up to 5 litters per year before a license is required.

A one off breeder may just have one litter from their pet but they should have researched and been knowledgeable in their breeding, plus the love for their dog may encourage them to seek advice prior to breeding.

I do need to warn you that there are other types of breeders who are known as puppy farms and back yard breeders, which are not good breeders. Puppy farms breed puppies in high volume and may even sell their puppies through other people, this is not good practice and sometimes the parents may be in poor condition due to over breeding or poor care. Some puppy farms even have their breeding dogs spread around the country or at different homes or premises and just brought in for breeding, or may sell puppies from different addresses, it is all about maximising the profit with no consideration for the dog’s wealth for these breeders. I don’t want to scare anyone but it is better to know what you are dealing with in case you are unlucky enough to be faced with it. Back yard breeder may breed from their home or literally have the dogs running around their back garden (hence the name) or possible have their dogs located in an outbuilding but these breeders have no breeding plan, may have no or minimal health testing, no care for their breeding dogs, possibly breed many different breeds of dog, have a high volume of litters, may just put any two dogs together and sell the puppies whatever the outcome. My only advice would be, if in any doubt please don’t buy a puppy.

Another thing you may like to consider is where the breeder is located as a visit to choose your puppy is needed and also another visit to collect your puppy. If the breeder is more local you will have less of a trip with your new puppy plus you may be able to arrange a few extra visits to play and bond with your puppy, this can be important as the puppy will be familiar to your scent prior to you collecting them and bringing them home.

Where to search for a good breeder?
A good place to start your search for a breeder would be advertisements, which are found on dedicated pet advertising websites such as Pets4homes, Epupz etc and from these website you contact the breeders directly via email or telephone. Beware of some free advertising websites as you are not buying a bike, but a live animal. Advertisement description are a good indication of the quality of the breeder, as a good breeder will want to tell you as much as possible and be proud of their dogs and puppies, whereas a less reputable breeder may just tell you what you want to read and leave out the important details. A long descriptive and informative advert is a proud advert. A good advert will have full details of each parent including health testing, along with lots of information about the new or expected litter. Another great way to hear about a good breeder is to be recommended one by a friend or family member, word of mouth is the best advertisement for any breeder, however this is more relevant to larger licensed breeders as they breed in much higher volume than a small home/hobby breeder or one off breeder.

A breeder with a websites can be great when buying a puppy, not just an advertising website an informative website about puppies and litters, even one off breeders have blogs all about their litter and this is an open method of breeding. I recently followed a one off breeder having a litter, you could see mum with puppies in a lovely surrounding, see puppies growing and see the care the breeder had taken. Large size breeders also have websites with updates on litters and puppies and this openness is commendable.

Please continue to Part 2 of My Puppy Buying Guide.


  1. Hi, i wonder if you can help me. My husband and i are considering on getting a Cockerpoo Puppy soon, we have never had a dog before, not even as children. Our family has now grown up and left home, so we now have time and would love to experience on having a puppy! I have been doing a lot of reading online, and I think a little Cockerpoo sounds like such a lovely dog, especially as we have very young Grandchildren! I was thinking on getting a male dog, please could you advise me if i am choosing right? We don’t want to get a large dog. Thank you for your help, Kind Regards Jane.

    • Hi Jane,

      Lovely to hear you are considering a cockapoo as your first dog.

      Cockapoos are a good size family dog, easy to train, loving, fun on walks but all dogs are different, even each cockapoo is different. I would recommend you find a good breeder who will support you fully as first time dog owners. Please read my Puppy Buying Guide as health testing and quality puppy care in the early weeks is important. I will help you in anyway I can during you search. Love JoJo xxx

  2. Hi Jo

    Thought I’d ask you for some impartial advice if that’s OK? After lots of thought and research, we are currently looking at acquiring a red cockapoo who sounds lovely (he’s only just been born so we haven’t had a chance to see him yet). The owner sounds experienced and has asked me to ring for advice whenever I need it. So here’s the question.. the father is a working cocker spaniel and I have been wondering (as this breed is very active) whether there’s a greater likelihood of our puppy being more active/manic/fussy as a result of this (rather than just a cocker spaniel). The breeder tells me that the key factor is the way you train the dog and that as long as you do it right this should not impact on whether the dog is a working cocker or not. Would you agree? Thanks very much, Trish x

    • Hi Tricia, Great to hear from you. Ok I will try to help you as best as possible, but there is no simple answer really. I own and also know many Show and Working type cockapoos and to be honest each dog is different. I know Show types that are energetic and lively when this type is said to be the calm cuddly mix, then I know Working mixes that are lazy and cuddly whereas these are said to be the lively mix. Due to the breeding a cockapoo from either mix can also favour the poodle too, so I would advise you to meet the parents and see what their energy levels are like. Also a point to make, the working mix are said to be easy to train, I know a very easy to train working mix cockapoo (so keen to please and very responsive) and another that is so chilled that she is not so keen on any form of training lol. All puppies/dogs are different and their character/training develops from their genes, their breeder and of course their owner too :). I hope your cockapoo puppy is all you have ever dreamed of from a pet, I would love to see a photo of your lovely cockapoo. Love JoJo xxx

  3. Tina (Pour Joline) says:


    We have decided to get a cockapoo dog in the spring and it looks like I have two options for breeders. One is a home breeder who breeds an american cocker spaniel with a toy poodle and the other is a bigger breeder who only breeds two cockapoos. For some reason, I thought initially that breeding two cockapoos would somehow dilute the breed, so to speak, making it less likely that the pup would have the usual lovely temperament of the breed, and maybe even be less hypoallergenic. However, the breeder tells me that a pup from two cockapoos actually gives more chances that the pups won’t shed their hair. Is this true?

  4. Hi Jo,

    I am seventeen and live with my mum, dad and sister. I am trying to convince my parents to get a family dog: a cockapoo. Lots of our friends have recently got dogs and my parents seem to be only half convinced. My dad grew up with dogs but since he married to my mum we have never had a family dog. I love cockapoos and feel that a cockapoo would be the perfect choice for us as they are quite low maintenance and as they don’t malt it would be perfect as my mums a bit house proud. We have two guinea pigs that live outside and do have quite a busy life style at the minute so probably wouldn’t think of buying one until next year. Any ideas of how I can convince them? Also would buying a puppy be the best choice or an adult cockapoo (12-18 months)?

    Kind Regards,

    • Hi Lucy, Enjoy the doggy baking :) My dogs have enjoyed these recipes several times with great success, no tummy or toilet upsets. The recipes only contain very small amounts and you can leave the ingredients out if you would prefer too. Create your own style recipe to suit what you want to feed your dog, it could be fun. I hope your dog appreciates your baking. Love JoJo xxx

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