How To Sell a Dog? Is It Legal In The UK?

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

When dog owner decides to sell their pup, it’s either because they have bred too many, managing their lifestyle is getting costly, or they are not able to provide proper care. Giving up a dog like that is not easy. So, when a dog owner in the UK decides to sell a dog they have to see that they find a suitable owner. So, how to sell a dog in the UK? Is it legal? Let’s find out the answer.

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How To Sell a Dog?

Selling dogs in the UK is not illegal. However, you need to consider different legal aspects before you think of selling one. The first and foremost requirement to sell a dog in the UK is to get a license from the local council.

However, if you have bred the pup yourself, and wish to give them away as a hobby, the government highlights that there is no requirement for a license. But, if you are running a business selling dogs, a license is mandatory.

But, why do pet owners sell their dogs in the first place?

Reasons for selling dogs

Dog owners surely have a valid reason when they decide to sell puppies or their dogs. Here are some of the reasons indicating why they do sell their furry friend:

  • Can’t spend enough time

Many dog owners are not able to provide enough time for their furry friends. A dog’s routine is compromised as they don’t receive the necessary food items, get exercise and poop on time. They are left alone in the house while their owners leave for work, this is not a good practice. Because the dog will start suffering from separation anxiety and this can lead to aggressive behaviour.

So, when the owners notice such signs they realise that their busy work schedule makes it tough for their dogs as they barely get a chance to spend time, and hence they think of giving them up.

  • The financial situation is not good

Dog owners who cannot afford to nurture their dogs are likely to sell them. This transition may reflect their lost job or just a radical decision while buying the dog. If they lost their job it’s a no-brainer but, when you go in blind and purchase a dog, it’s a poor choice.

This may seem harsh but, it’s true. Many owners make the mistake of not analysing the additional cost factors that come along with buying a dog.

  • Less Experience

At times, dog lovers buy dogs before preparing themselves mentally. The lack of experience kicks in after they get their canine friend home. They find it difficult to maintain their routine and realise that it’s a tedious task. Normally, such owners get assistance and tips from other owners but, many give up after some time and sell the dog.

  • Dog’s age

If a dog is getting older, and showing signs of health issues, owners start getting frustrated. Instead of committing to nurturing, they think of selling the dog. This happens more if a dog is actively participating in shows and events. Owners sell them once they start ageing and lose their charm.

  • Behavioural issues

Dogs with aggressive behaviour are tough to handle. So, owners who are having a tough time managing such dogs, think of selling them. This happens because they know their behaviour is dangerous and can endanger the family members. In addition, such dogs are often considered as dangerous and are reported to the authorities if a citizen sees them around.

  • Losing interest

Surprising but true, owners often lose interest in their canine friends after some time. They start thinking of them as a burden, especially if they have children. The reason is simple, they find it tough to handle their child and pet at the same time.

While these are some of the prominent reasons, at times owners also sell their dogs if the count is more. This means if they have multiple dogs and breed them or get a new one, they need to ensure they follow the local guidelines and don’t exceed a specific number.

So, for those who have to sell their dog, let’s start and analyse different methods you can use for selling dogs.

Selling Dogs – Getting Started

Reasons for selling dogs
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The price for which you sell your puppy is totally up to you. However, there are other factors such as their health, parents, breed, etc. which affect their price. So, when you think of selling dogs, you need to consider different aspects. So, how to get started?

  • Research

Conducting a thorough is important. This research mainly involves identifying the market trend and analysing it. For instance, if people are looking to buy a pug, and you have one, you should see how much a pug cost’s in the market. This will help you know the charges other sellers or breeders put on their dogs.

  • Maintain top health condition

Your pup must remain healthy and should not show any signs of temperamental issues. They must also receive proper vaccination to avoid infections or other serious diseases. If your furry friend has had the vaccination, their price also elevates and buyers get assurance that it’s healthy.

Further, your dog must also consider the following aspects before you put your dog for sale:

  1. Socialisation: your dog should easily interact with other dogs, people, and other animals. Because if they won’t develop interaction skills, and forget other dogs or individuals, they won’t bond with their new owner.
  2. Experience of different environments: the habitat is not completely natural. So, you must train the dog to adjust and live in different atmospheres. For instance, you can play music or any other sound while playing in the backyard, assuring they are used to different sounds. Just like sound, you need to take them to different public places to get a sense of the variety of smells.
  3. Microchipped: the law mandates having your dog microchipped. So, if your pup isn’t microchipped, you need to get it done. Once you sell, it’s the new owner’s responsibility to change the details on the tag.

All these aspects will eventually help you while selling the dog. For example, the price for a microchipped dog is high and buyers consider this as one of their priorities when buying a new pup.

  • Find buyers

Finding a buyer isn’t that hard if you have a proper strategy in place. Here are some tips you can consider:

Tip #1 Use a website

A website will easily help you reach out to people. You can take the help of agencies and see how you can move forward with the idea of having the website. Generally, it’s good for owners who are going to sell more often.

Now, if you do get a website, it’s crucial to cover some basic details. You must certainly mention details such as – Contact number, house address, and information regarding the dog on your web page. In addition, you can also provide details which portray you as a responsible dog owner. For instance, mentioning the details of vaccination.

Tip #2 Online advertisement

A website is a good medium for selling the dog but, only if you plan to sell more. If you only have to sell one, then you need to consider a different and cheaper strategy. Instead of having a website, you can use online portals or commercial sites to advertise the sale of your dog.

Tip #3 Posters

The majority of the time buyers tend to think of online adverts and dog selling websites as scams. Can you blame them? Scammers are active online and they try cheating people with online purchases. So, to make sure your reach isn’t cut out, you can use posters and pamphlets of your dog. The method is old school but, it boosts your chances to sell your dog.

Tip #4 Spread the word

Similar to poster adverts, this traditional way can come in handy. Spread the word out amongst the neighbours, friends and family members that you are selling your pup. The chances of finding a buyer are less but, if you do find one, they are most likely to be genuine. Because they were referred by one of your close friends or family members.

Lastly, if you don’t have budget issues, you can use all of these tips to sell your dog. One of them will get you your potential buyer.

Things To Consider While Selling Your Dog

Even if you find a buyer, you cannot sell your dog without knowing them or meeting them. After all, you need to make sure your furry friend gets into a good house. Regardless, your first contact with the buyer will certainly be on the phone or through messaging. This should give you a brief insight into how they think and what are their intentions.

You can use the following questionnaire (either verbally or through text) to get an impression regarding their intentions.

  • Use phrases such as – do you have any prior experience with pet ownership? this will help you form a baseline. In addition, you can ask them about the “breed”. The answer to this will do the job because you will get to know whether the individual is genuinely looking to buy the dog or not.
  • Ask them about the time they can spend nurturing the dog. It’s obvious, they won’t be around the dog for 24 hours, but, try getting to know how much time they can commit on daily basis.
  • Inquire whether they are looking to breed in future. Because if so, you may have to include this in the contract while transferring the ownership.
  • Try knowing the details about their house. Ask them whether they have a backyard or not, this is mainly to determine if they have enough space for your dog to roam freely. You can ask them for permission to visit their home or for photographs.
  • Finally, you can request them to tell you whether or not they will provide you with updates on how your furry friend is adjusting to the new environment.

These were some of the questions, still, if your instinct tells you otherwise you shouldn’t rush into the decision of selling your furry friend.

Arrange a meeting with the buyer

Arrange a meeting with the buyer
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Often sellers or breeders quickly agree to sell when they see a lucrative bid. Afterwards, if the pup ends up in a different house, in a rescue shelter or worst lost, they feel guilty. For this sole reason, we suggest you arrange a meeting.

A meeting with the buyer will clear out any concerns that both parties may have. However, when you invite them to your house, you need to stay alert and ask them for ID proof to verify their identity.

Further, if the individual is showing interest in buying your puppy, they will have some questions of their own. This is a good thing, it’s a definite indication of their interest in buying them. Here are a few questions they may ask:

  • Why do you intend on selling?
  • Has your dog received the necessary vaccination?
  • Is it neutered?
  • Have your bred them yourself?

If you have a pup that you nurtured and bred yourself then answering these questions is quite easy. Give them proper answers, this will develop a sense of trust between you and the buyer.

Contract Of Selling a Dog

Contract Of Selling a Dog
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You should have all information regarding your pup and if necessary show them. Specifically, when the deal goes through, you’ll need to provide them with the information in the contract itself. You’re probably wondering what terms should remain in the contract. Let’s see.

  • The document for the contract must include basic details of the pup i.e. breed, date of birth, colour, sex, and the microchip number. You can directly include the pedigree certificate to highlight the details regarding their birth and breed.
  • The contract must include details of both parties involved in the transfer of ownership. Name, address and contact info are a must.
  • Details regarding vaccination and health checkups are also crucial for the contract. So, if you can add the health certifications it will maintain transparency regarding the dog’s health status. This indirectly helps the owner to include the clause where the buyer has to take the dog for regular vet visits.
  • Lastly, the contract must have a date, declarations and a signature section. Declaration mainly involves the price of the acquisition and the signatures are for acknowledging the price as well as the contract.

Further, there is some other information that you can provide the buyer. You can either put the details in the contract or share it. For instance, if your furry friend has insurance put it into the contract.

Furthermore, you can give the new owner of the dog the information guide. This will include some tips and information about dogs’ behaviour. So, this guide can outline the following details:

  • Diet instructions: can help new owners easily provide the preferred food for the dog.
  • Allergies: alongside the preferred food, provide the buyer with the details of the allergies and also indicate the potential food items that can cause health issues for your furry friend.
  • Training routine: this can assist the new owner in providing the dog with the mandatory exercises and training activities to maintain a healthy routine.
  • Grooming advice: if your dog has lots of furs, then the grooming tips will help the new owner in maintaining the coat’s health.
  • Medication details: this is a no-brainer. Yes, even if you include the health certificates in the contract paperwork, providing details regarding the medication is important. This will allow the owner to act upon any emergencies.
  • Triggers: this may seem like an exaggeration but, if your dog is aggressive or prone to compulsive behaviour on the slightest change in the environment, noting down such triggers will help the buyer know how to avoid such situations.
  • Expense estimate: including the expense detail such as vet bills, groceries, toys, equipment etc is not necessary but, if you have an enthusiastic dog lover who is willing to buy one, knowing the expense detail can help them decide whether they can afford to have the dog or not.

After referring to such aspects, the new owner will find it easy to nurture your dog after the acquisition.


Do puppies have to be vaccinated before selling in the UK?

Whether you are selling the puppy or not, vaccination is a must. Once your furry friend hits 8 weeks of age, you need to make sure they receive the vaccination. If you reside in the UK and the pup will also remain in the UK, getting them a vaccination against rabies is sufficient.

Should I ask for a deposit while selling my dog?

A deposit helps secure the deal and it’s not unethical if that’s what you are worried about. Especially when the deal is probably a one-off, meaning, you are selling your pup just this one time. However, if you are a proper breeder with an officially listed business, you cannot ask the buyer to pay for the deposit.

What is lucy’s law UK?

Lucy’s law UK suggests that anyone who wishes to buy a new pup in the UK has to buy it from the breeder or adopt it from a rescue centre. These breeders are licensed and will have to show puppies playing or interacting with their mothers at their place of birth. The law removes the need for a third party and any sort of misconduct or animal cruelty can result in a prison sentence (minimum six months and maximum five years).

What is the main rule for selling puppies UK?

The main rule is to avoid selling puppies in the UK without getting a license from the local council. Further, if the breeder has a business (small or large), that sells more than 4-5 dogs per year, definitely needs the license.

How To Sell a Dog – Authors Remark

Selling a dog is legal in the UK and is easy. If you have a pup that you bred yourself, you can sell them without a license. If not, you will need a license, especially if you have a business. You can refer to the guidance from the government to know the conditions and restrictions. Leverage puppy selling sites and put up online adverts for your dog. You will easily find different buyers.

Further, make sure you secure the deposit before completing the deal. However, in the past few years, the method is not preferred because many scammers have begun using it to bait buyers. The confidence in the buyers is less and they mostly neglect online adverts or sales. So, keeping a low deposit and securing it after the meeting is the feasible solution.

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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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