With dog ownership still remaining a very important part of Australian life, and with many making the effort to now actively avoid pet shops, puppy farms, and unethical breeders, many well-intentioned puppy buyers are being swindled of their savings for the perfect puppy by scammers.

The modern version of a puppy scam is often easily recognised in hindsight, with the warning: “If it sounds too good to be true, it often is”, left ringing in ones ears after being ripped off.

An ad may appear on a local classifieds site with a message along the lines of:

“Two beautiful pure bred Bernese puppies waiting for a loving home in Darwin! We want the perfect home for our puppies. We recently purchased two from a breeder but are unable to keep them due to a change in circumstances. One is available for $500 plus shipping, or only $250 if you take both. We just want the best home!”

Now, stop and think logically about what is being offered here.

Why would someone sell two pure bred dogs that usually sell for $3500+ each so cheaply?

Why would they not return them to the breeder if they are unable to keep them?

Often you will find that you have to send money to a Western Union account with the promise that the puppies will be sent after payment.

I have even heard of some people travelling to another state after paying only to find no puppy for them at the airport.

Please be smart about how you purchase your pup.

Look at the language used in the advertisement. Scams are often repeated many times with only the location or breed changed. Some advertisers have the same ad running hundreds of times. If you see this, it is probably a scam. Run a Google search on the ad. If you are coming up with multiple hits on the search results I would be very wary.

Look out also for foreign terms such as “potty training”, or referring to only shipping puppies via online purchase with no option to visit the breeder.

This does not mean that registered, ethical breeders do not advertise on Gumtree, Trading Post or similar. However they should be able to provide you proof of their registration status either by being listed in their state governing body (DOGS Victoria for example: www.dogsvictoria.org.au), on a Breed Club site such as ours (https://bmdcv.com.au/puppies-2/breeders/), at Dogzonline (www.dogzonline.com.au), or by providing their ANKC registration number (www.ankc.org.au). All their dogs will also be registered and sold with registration papers (either Mains or Limited). All registered breeders should be registering all their puppies – they should not be giving you an option to buy a puppy “without papers” more cheaply.


Sheridan Holmes