Advice for Puppy Buyers

In your research, you have probably come across the statement, “finding the right breeder is as important as finding the right breed.”  Whilst it might sound like a cliché, it is true.  But it can also seem like a daunting task.  Here is some advice to help navigate this process.


Firstly, look for breeders through reputable sites, such as Dogzonline, breed club websites (FLCV, FLCNSW - both clubs also have Facebook Groups) and each of the states’ controlling bodies:

Dogs Tas

Dogs Vic

Dogs NSW

Dogs SA

Dogs West

Dogs Qld

Dogs ACT

Dogs NT


As a registered breeder, there is a Code of Practice we must adhere to.  This outlines the minimum requirements we must own and breed dogs under.


Next, you must also ensure they are able to sell puppies in your state, according to your state legislation.  This is particularly the case if you reside in Queensland, New South Wales, or Victoria.


Once you are sure a breeder meets these basic requirements it is time to make contact.  The best way to do this is either via email or if the breeder has a questionnaire, complete that.   Introduce yourself, your lifestyle and how you came to decide on a Finnish Lapphund.  Think of this as like a job application process - you want to make a good first impression and you will both be thoroughly ‘checking each other out’, to ensure a right ‘fit’.


Some questions you should expect a breeder to ask, include:

  • Why do you want a dog?

  • Have you met any of this breed?

  • Questions about your lifestyle, living arrangements, how much time you are away from your house each day;

  • What activities do you plan to do with your puppy?

  • Are you interested in showing or dog sports? Or breeding?

  • Do you have preferences in colour and/or gender?

Individual breeders will most likely have some additional questions of their own.  Someone once said to me, "only buy a puppy from someone who is willing to not sell you one.”  In other words, if a breeder isn’t really asking you any questions and seems a little too keen to sell you a puppy, that should raise some alarm bells.

In turn, some questions you should ask are:

  • Can we visit to see the conditions your dogs live in?

  • Where are your puppies born and raised?

  • How many litters a year do you breed (including any other breeds you have)?

  • What socialisation and shaping strategies* do you use?

  • Do you sell your puppies with a written contract, to protect us both?

  • Do you belong to a breed club? 

  • What systems do you have in place to support puppy buyers once they take their puppy home?

  • Do you require a deposit?

* this refers to neurological stimulation and pre-training that engages the puppy's brain and assists in enabling them to 'learn' more quickly and effectively later on.  Puppy Culture is a very popular system used by breeders.

Some red flags to look for include: breeding, on average, more than three litters a year; selling puppies on gumtree; puppies born and raised (before 5 weeks) outside of the house; not being allowed to visit the home before the puppies are born or after they are about 5 weeks of age; not selling puppies with a contract (this leave both parties exposed); demanding a deposit, especially just to go on a list. 

Not belonging to a breed club is not necessarily a red flag, but doing so does indicate a commitment to the breed and its broader community. 

The first 18 months, in particular, can be tough and you will need a lot of support, guidance, reassurance, and advice.  When buying a purebred puppy, from a registered breeder, you should do so with the confidence that driving out of the breeder's gate is not the last contact you will have with them.  You should feel as though you are entering into a partnership with your breeder, who will walk alongside you through your puppy's development.  If you do not get the sense that this would be the case, walk away and make contact with another breeder.

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