Where to Get a Dog

So you’ve decided you’d like a dog. What do you do next?  Where do you get one from? What type should you get?

Where to look
  • On the internet
  • Dog rescue centres and shelters
  • Dog newspapers and magazines
The Internet

There are online directories that show you the dogs that are currently available. Websites will include photos of the dog and the location they are available from.. It’ll give you an idea of what type of personality the dog has, is it good with children for example?  And what’s the dog’s current living environment like. Once you have found a dog that you like, make contact with the seller to get more information and arrange a potential visit.

Some key questions to ask the breeder/owner:
  • What health problems does the breed suffer from?
  • Are there any particular health problems that the parents suffer from?
  • What titles do the parents have?
  • Do you have a family tree of their parents?
  • What vaccinations has it had? Do they have the certificate to prove them?
  • What dog food are they currently being fed?
How much to pay

Do not be fooled when looking at buying an adult dog that the more you pay, the better the quality the dog will be. It is best to do some research and see how much that particular breed and age is being sold for before you commit to buying.

Dog rescue centres & shelters

There are plenty of re-homing centres across the country, ranging from national charities such as the RSPCA or the Dogs Trust to local shelters. Rescue centres close to you can easily be found by looking online, many show photos of dogs available for adoption on their websites,. Rescue centres prefer that you live near the centre, some may also have information on their websites about the radius they cover and will re-home to.. They may require certain criteria to be met, for example they may need written permission from your landlord if you rent. They will also check that your lifestyle fits with the dog breed chosen

Adoption fees

When adopting a dog from a rescue centre it’s normal practice to pay a minimum donation. The amount may vary between different rescue centres so make sure you know how much you are going to be asked to pay before picking up your new dog.

The difference between shelters and rescue centres

Shelters are where animals are brought in by people, animal control and government programmes.. Lost dogs are also kept in shelters whilst they wait for their owners to collect them. Shelters take in animals on a frequent basis so there is a wider availability of dogs to choose for adoption. At a shelter you are more likely to be able to select a dog and take it home that day.

Rescue centres do not receive government donations so rely on donations from the public, adoption fees as well as fundraisers. Some rescue centres are breed specific or age specific. These centres will be more knowledgeable about the dog than general rescue centres in terms of a breed’s temperament and genetic health issues. Rescue centres take in most dogs even those with medical or behavioural issues.

Questions to ask the rescue centre or shelter what health problems do they suffer from?

  • How long has the dog been there for?
  • How does the dog react to other dogs, adults and children?
  • What information do you have about their past environment?
  • Are they house trained?
  • What basic commands do they know? What food are they currently being fed?
What to do

Make sure you buy a dog from a known breeder or source and ask to see the dog’s history with the previous owner or rescue centre including an up to date vaccination certificate. Bear in mind that if you get a dog from a rescue centre or shelter you may not be able to find out about the dog’s history.

Not sure what type of dog is right for you, take a look at our How to Choose a Dog page.