© AWF and RSPCA 2012–2018
Q38: The puppy’s other experiences
Early exposure to a range of experiences and noises prepares the puppy for encountering this later in life so
he/she remains calm and is less likely to be afraid when you take him home.
Watch how the puppy responds to things that are happening during your visit. Ask the breeder to show you how
the puppy reacts to household noises, wearing a collar, or being separated briefly from littermates. He/she should
Do not expose him/her to sudden new noises that he/she has not experienced before, or expect the breeder to
Q39: Before the sale will the new owner have the chance to interact with the puppy’s parents and other
puppies in the litter if there are any?
Licensed breeders in England must only show you a puppy with his/her biological mother. Regardless of the law
where you‟re buying your puppy, it is very important that you see the puppy‟s mother and the other puppies in the
litter. You should also try to see the father if possible, although this may be difficult in some circumstances.
Make sure you interact with the parents, handle them if safe to do so, and assess their reaction to you. Check
they appear healthy, check the environment that the mother and puppies are in and check the temperament of
the mother, father and the rest of the litter. The parents‟ characteristics can influence how the puppies develop
and behave. In particular, look for signs of fear, such as withdrawal, cowering, urination, and tail between the
legs. Also watch for signs of aggression such as growling, lunging and barking.
Unscrupulous breeders may try to show you another dog instead of the puppy‟s mother. To avoid this, make
sure you see the mother and puppies together, and check for signs that the dog you see has given birth recently,
such as enlarged nipples. They may also give excuses for why the mother isn‟t there, such as “she‟s at the vets”
or “she‟s gone for a walk”. These are not valid reasons so you should avoid these breeders/sellers.
If the breeder answers „no‟ in these sections, ask why you cannot see the father or the rest of the litter.
Q40: If the puppy’s pedigree is known and a pedigree certificate will be attached
The pedigree certificate shows the puppy‟s ancestry and may go back up to five generations, starting with the
puppy‟s parents in the left column through to the great- great-great grandparents in the right column. The top
half shows the puppy‟s ancestry through his/her father and the bottom half is the mother‟s pedigree.
Q41: What is the relationship between the puppy’s parents?
If the puppy‟s parents are related to each other, the puppy is inbred. The degree of inbreeding depends on how
closely related the parents are. If an ancestor‟s name is repeated in both the father‟s and the mother‟s halves
of the pedigree certificate, there is inbreeding.
Inbreeding is not desirable as it increases the risk of inherited disease such as cancer and blindness. Avoid
a puppy from matings between first- or second-degree relatives, for example:
first degree – mother/son, father/daughter, brother/sister; or
second degree – uncle niece, aunt/nephew, grandparent/grandchild.
Q42: How inbred is the puppy?
It‟s important to avoid buying puppies that are very inbred because they have a higher chance of having inherited
diseases and being unwell later in life. A simple way to describe this is the coefficient of inbreeding (COI). This is
a number where the higher the number, the more inbred the puppy.
For example, a very inbred puppy would come from a mother-to-son mating or a brother-to-sister, both having a
COI of 25. A less inbred puppy might come from a mating between a great-grandfather and great-granddaughter,
with a lower score of 6.25.