The cute face of puppy farms

Puppy farms

Puppy farms, also called puppy mills, are breeding establishments that are run for commercial reasons, with little regard for the welfare of the dogs. You can read more about it and watch a video on the Pup Aid website here.

Physical health

Puppies from puppy farms are often weak and sick. You don’t have to search very far on the Internet to find heartbreaking stories of puppies that don’t live long when they go to their new homes because they are so ill. The parents are not cared for properly and the bitches are bred too often. The puppies are often taken away before they are fully weaned.

A reputable breeder will only breed from adults that are physically healthy.

Mental health

The mental health of an animal that is going to be a part of the family is just as important as the animal’s physical health.

Puppies from puppy farms can have issues caused by lack of socialisation. Puppies need to hear household noises and have human contact at an early age. For more information on this, read my posts “What is socialisation?” and “A trip down memory lane“.

A reputable breeder will only breed from adults of sound temperament. They will also ensure that the puppies get off to a good start by giving them human contact and the socialisation experiences that are appropriate for their age.

The cute reflex

Most people know that humans have some physical reflexes – things that happen without engaging their brain. A couple of examples are the leg jerking when the knee is tapped, and eyes closing if something gets too close.

Humans also have emotional responses to some things and don’t stop to think – advertisers have been using emotional responses for years. Most baby animals are cute and there is something I like to call the “cute reflex”. This video will give you an idea what I mean – you won’t be able to watch it without smiling at least once!

The puppy farmer encourages you to act on the “cute reflex” and buy a puppy, in contrast a responsible breeder will encourage you to think about the adult that the cute ball of fluff will become.

The cute face of puppy farms

Puppy farms don’t want you to visit their premises, as you wouldn’t like what you see.

Fewer pet shops sell puppies now – this is a result of public pressure when it was revealed that many of the puppies came from puppy farms. The puppy farms advertise in many different places and use middlemen to sell their puppies.

They are increasingly using social media. They are very good at using the “cute reflex”. They generally have a nice avatar and share pictures of very cute puppies. The “cute reflex” works so well that some people who know about the horrors of puppy farms are not stopping to think – they are talking with them and sharing the pictures of available puppies to their own followers.

Warning signs

If the person is advertising a constant supply of puppies ready to go to new homes, it is probable that these puppies come from puppy farms. Reputable breeders do not have new puppies always available. They only have the number of dogs that they can give a good quality of life and they do not breed them all the time.

If the person is advertising a wide choice of breeds, the pups probably come from puppy farms. Reputable breeders tend to focus on one or two breeds and have a wealth of knowledge about them.

If the person is willing to get a puppy delivered to you without asking you any questions then they don’t care about the puppy. A reputable breeder will ask you questions before parting with one of their pups. They will also be able to answer any questions you have about caring for the puppy. They can also tell you a lot about the breed – temperament, exercise requirements etc.

Where’s Mum?

“Where’s Mum” is the tagline for a campaign by Pup Aid to ban the sale of puppies and kittens without the mother being present. There is more information on that page to help you decide whether the puppy may have come from a puppy farm.

The organisation Pup Aid can also be found on Twitter – @pupaid

Rescue centres

Rescue centres sometimes have puppies. They may have been rescued from bad conditions or they may have been an unexpected litter.

They also have many adult, or adolescent, dogs that need a home. They should be able to tell you about the temperament of the dog and any issues the dog has. Puppies are hard work, a well-adjusted adult will need less training to fit into the family.

Clubs exist for most breeds of dog and these often run a breed specific rescue. The people who run these are usually very experienced with that breed and will be able to advise you on any difficulties you may have.

Worldwide concern

The links I have given you are about the U.K. and the campaign for change there, but the problem is not limited to the U.K.

Not just puppies

I have been concentrating on puppies, but there are similar establishments producing kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs and the smaller pets for sale. They face the same health and socialisation issues.


It is important for more people to be aware that these places exist. The animals kept in them have a miserable life and it is heartbreaking for the people who buy a sick animal.

It worries me when I see people who are known as animal lovers on social media sharing pictures of baby animals for sale that have been put there by businesses that I suspect of being involved in puppy farming. I feel that it makes these businesses appear reputable.

Cuteness fix!

If you’ve read this far, I think you deserve another dose of cuteness to put a smile back on your face!

See you next Wednesday!


A fellow blogger has written a post “When is a rescue not a rescue?”  about some puppy farmers setting up their own “rescues” to get dogs adopted. You can find out some of the things you should watch for in a rescue centre.


  1. No Dog About It blog has done a great job of exposing the psychological trauma of puppy mill breeding dogs. Mel’s first dog, Daisy, was a puppy mill breeder who was so frightened she couldn’t function normally in a house. She is currently documenting the effects of living in a mill on a new dog who is so frightened she pants when lights flash on the wall.

    Thank you so much for bringing these horrible businesses to a wider audience. Because you’re right. The cute effect encourages people to make dumb choices.

    • Thank you for telling me about No Dog About It [] – it’s a very informative blog.

      I think that raising awareness is the best way to get rid of puppy mills. Cute doesn’t last, it’s no basis for getting any animal.

  2. Love that “where’s mum” campaign idea! Thank you for helping spread this important message!

  3. Thank you for your post. It is so easy to be sucked in by a precious puppy. A huge flea market not far from here was accused of selling puppy mill pups in their “Dog Alley” last week. It’s such a heartless way to make a living.

    • Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment. I don’t like the idea of puppies being sold in the market at all. It is heartless – they don’t care about the consequences of their greed.

  4. This is a great post and should be up more often till they stop x. Hope all is well with you Clowie

  5. Loved this informative post, I’m hopeful that education is key to a better life for all the animals!

    Big wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  6. Great info! There are still a few stores that are holding out here and selling pets for profit, but most have partnered with local rescues to showcase adoptable animals, which is a great solution IMO! That ‘cute factor’ is definitely a huge issue though – in the store or online. Impulse purchasing is never a good idea.

    • Thank you. I like the idea of pet stores showcasing local shelters. Cute doesn’t last, it’s important for people to know what responsibilities they’re taking on.

  7. I love your posts. They are always so thoughtful and well-written. It’s true, it’s not just about the puppies. Thank you for giving us the awareness that we all need in this digital world!

  8. It’s so sad that this kind of activity still goes on. Unfortunately as long as some people continue to buy animals this way, the problem won’t go away on its own. Education is key, and thank you for letting readers know what not to do!

    • Yes, I think that the way to stop them is awareness. As soon as one place is closed by the authorities another one pops up and that will happen while they can find buyers.

  9. Just one more reason we only adopt/ rescue our animal friends! Thanks for spreading the word!!

  10. Hi Clowie; Sorry I haven’t been around lately. Thank you so much for this in depth article about the horror of puppy mills. Very well said! Nice to see you again! 🙂

    • Thank you very much. It is something we need people to know about.
      It’s lovely to see you! I haven’t been by to visit you for a while either – see you again soon!

  11. Informative and well thought out post. Thank you very much. It does not reflect well on the human race that we treat animals this way. I think we need more legislation to stamp those practices out.

    • Thank you very much. A few members of the human race will do anything for money. I think the legislation could be improved to give better protection to animals, but I don’t think it’s the complete answer. Many of these places are already operating under the radar and will continue while they have a market for the pups – only improved public awareness will hit their market.

  12. The U.S. has some states which are notorious for “puppy mill farms” but thanks to you and many others they are being exposed for their abusive, deplorable, and exploitation of animals! Wonderful videos I smiled thru out.

  13. A very pertinent and informative blog Clowie, this problem is also occurring here in Australia as well.
    The old days of getting a puppy ad hoc are disappearing, and so it should be.

  14. This is an excellent and much needed post about puppy farms, Clowie. I totally agree with you and your humans!! Will share! xx

  15. Excellent post. I have not seen the pictures of puppies for sale on social media. But I do like what you say about reputable breeders not having a ready supply of puppies. It is true. Most will have a waiting list or a waiting time because they don’t have a litter immediately available. There are a couple breeders in MI who I am familiar with who always seem to have puppies. I really question the quality of those dogs.

    • Thank you. It is worrying when someone has a constant supply of puppies on offer, there are so many good reasons why a reputable breeder won’t have pups all the time.

      • We had to wait a year for both Storm and Freighter. 🙂 Thunder we lucked out, his breeder just happened to have a litter, otherwise it would have been 2 years before the next litter.

  16. Hi there Clowie, just wanted to let you know I am passing a couple awards on tomorrow (Tuesday) and I’m passing 2 your way, if you have a chance to come by my blog!
    ((Husky hugz))
    Frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky

  17. Thank you so much for this post, Clowie!
    I think many people need to be reminded of this. Puppy mills, kitten mills… it’s mostly the same thing. Lots of kittens and puppies are already sick when they’re coming in and they’re “sent out” like vegetables. Another sign that they just don’t count…
    My heart’s bleeding for them.
    Thanks again!!

  18. Great post, Clowie! Another warning sign to look for is the breeder having more than one breed of dog available for sale. Responsible breeders typically stick to one breed, or two at the most. If they have all sorts of breeds available, it’s not a responsible breeder.

    • Thank you, Rumpy! That’s true, it requires in-depth knowledge of a breed (temperament, tendencies, potential health problems that the adults should be screened for etc) to be a good breeder. It would be difficult to gain the knowledge and experience needed in more than one or two breeds.

  19. Amazing post, Clowie! So much needs to be done to stop puppy mills. We saw a store here in Georgia that had these tiny, tiny cages for the puppies they were selling. It made us quite upset. There are so many pups already needing homes and yet, people keep breeding irresponsibly. Let’s hope these places keep closing down. Much love, The Scottie Mom.

    • Thank you. I would find it distressing to see puppies in cages like that. I hope that puppy mills will all close. I think public awareness is the way to achieve that.

  20. I am going to reblog. I have a friend who was able to adopt a puppy rescued from one of these horrible places. I hope more people will reblog and tell others and get the word out! thank you for doing such a good thing as this post.

  21. so horrible….the likes on this post are erasing~

    • It is terrible that places like these exist. We need more people to know so that they are careful where they get companion animals from.

      I saw a post recently – I wish I could remember where – about liking posts on topics that are sensitive. It generated a lot of friendly discussion and opinions. Some bloggers felt they couldn’t like it if the content was upsetting, while others felt they could like the fact that it was getting information out there.

  22. excellent post, as usually… ah, “la marche des pinguins”… what a splendid and unique movie! merci-gracias for reminding it! stay healthy, have a sunny day and a formidable week, Miss Chloë! 🙂

  23. thank you Clowie and Miss Rose for doing this post. We have long been planning a post about “kitten” mills…which never seem to be in the “news”…just as bad as puppy mills. It is a battle that only the humans can make change…they are the cause

    • Yes, we need people to be aware and be careful when they’re getting a new family member.
      When you get to the stage of publishing your post, let me know and I’ll share where I can.

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