Ethical Standards in Professional Dog Breeding: A Guide for New Puppy Owners

Woman Taking Care Of Dalmatian Puppies

If you’ve been thinking of buying a new puppy to add to your family, then you’re probably wondering where to start your search for the perfect pooch. Or maybe you’ve already started your research, but want to know more about ethical dog breeding standards and how to approach buying a puppy in an ethical and responsible way.

Gumtree is on board this journey, too, championing breeders who promote high standards of ethical responsibility. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the importance of promoting ethical dog breeding practices, the impact of untrustworthy and unethical puppy mills, and how you can find an ethical dog breeder on Gumtree to match you with your new best friend.

Responsible Breeding Ethics: The Foundations of Responsible Dog Breeding

There’s much more to the practice of professional dog breeding than simply charting genetic maps or scheduling doggy dates. It’s also about breeding with integrity and practising humane breeding policies to ensure the continued wellbeing of the dogs and puppies in your care.

Most dog breeders have chosen to breed dogs because they’re passionate about canines and often have a special soft spot for a particular breed. Ethical breeders strive to maintain breed purity not just for aesthetic reasons, but also for breed integrity preservation and sustaining its historical and functional substance. For example, working dogs such as kelpies and Australian cattle dogs have been bred to herd animals and work with livestock; while other dogs and puppies, such as labradors, make excellent service dogs or assistance dogs for people living with disabilities. 

Ethical breeders play an important role when it comes to combatting overbreeding and addressing inbreeding concerns. They know that careless dog breeding can dilute a lineage that’s been painstakingly created throughout generations. This can lead to health problems later on for future litters and can contribute to an oversupply of puppies with too few forever homes. 

Advocating for Animal Welfare in Breeding Programs

At the heart of responsible dog breeding is the continuous advocacy for ethical breeding practices, dog breeding codes of conduct and responsible dog ownership. The welfare of the dogs and puppies involved should be the number one priority, with profits following after. 

If you’re thinking of buying a dog from a breeder, it’s essential to make sure that they adhere to high standards of animal welfare. Responsible breeders will always prioritise the wellbeing of their dogs, and will be completely open and honest when it comes to questions about their dogs’ health, living conditions and lineage.

By making sure you only deal with responsible breeders, you are advocating for ethical dog breeding and animal welfare, and reducing the demand on unethical puppy farms.

Maintaining Canine Welfare Standards

Each state in Australia has slightly different rules, with Victoria and Western Australia having the most stringent rules to protect the welfare of dogs. 

While some states do not outlaw puppy mills and do not offer particularly strong animal protection laws, you will find that responsible dog breeders choose to prioritise their dogs’ health and wellbeing over profits. This includes limiting the number of dogs on a property at any one time; providing dogs and puppies space to play, roam and sleep; and regular vet checks for breeding dogs.

Transparency is Key

Transparency in dog breeding means having clear, open and honest information on a puppy’s genetic lines, health screenings, and living conditions. It’s about breeder accountability, where the responsibility for each puppy’s health and happiness doesn’t end when they leave for their new home. 

If you’re considering buying a puppy, make sure your chosen breeder has the right kind of certification. For example, they may hold a Responsible Pet Breeders membership or another type of certification that proves they adhere to ethical pet breeding standards.

Responsible Genetic Screening for Dogs

When it comes to unethical breeders who often cut corners, they may have litters with a higher chance of genetic issues and health problems. With genetic screening for breeding dogs, ethical breeders can test their dogs for genetic issues or diseases. By screening their breeding dogs, ethical breeders can actively work to reduce the risk of health issues for future puppy litters. 

When looking to buy a puppy from a breeder, ask whether or not the parents have been genetically screened and if they have any medical issues. Even if you’re able to buy a puppy from an unethical breeder for a cheaper price than you would from a certified responsible breeder, you may find yourself spending more money down the line on vet bills. 

Tackling the Industry’s Dark Side: Puppy Mills and Unethical Breeding

Responsible dog breeding is increasingly important in today’s world, with around 48% of all Australian households owning a dog. And it’s little wonder so many families own a dog—they provide us with unconditional love as well as plenty of laughter, joy and wonderful memories. 

However, the high demand for dogs in Australia, particularly certain ‘designer’ breeds, can lead to unethical practices. In some cases, dog breeders are driven solely by profits, and do not always have their dogs’ best interests at heart. 

On the other hand, some backyard breeders may be operating through ignorance and lack of understanding when it comes to properly caring for their dogs and puppies. Either way, unethical dog breeding practices can lead to a range of serious problems:

  • Overbreeding leads to a surplus of dogs, many of whom struggle to find homes. This means they may end up in a shelter, waiting for adoption, or worse.
  • Careless inbreeding can cause genetic flaws, resulting in life-threatening health problems. 
  • Harsh, unsafe environments that don’t provide the right level of care and support can harm the emotional and psychological development of newborn puppies. 

Pet Stores Vs. Ethical Breeders

Thanks to the tireless work of anti-puppy mill campaigns, Victoria has strict laws on the sale of pets from pet shops. Western Australia also recently introduced more stringent laws around the sale of puppies in pet shops. 

Many pet stores claim to have sourced their puppies from responsible breeders. But unless you meet the breeders yourself, you can’t verify this information. This means that the puppies that you see for sale in pet stores could have come from harmful puppy mills. If you’re going to buy a puppy from a pet shop, make sure you do plenty of research beforehand to ensure you’re not supporting unethical puppy farms.

Stay Informed and Advocate for Puppies and Dogs

Education is the most powerful tool in the battle against puppy mills. By staying informed and asking questions of your breeder, you can identify an unethical puppy mill before deciding to add a four-legged friend to your family. 

When discussing buying a puppy from a breeder, ask if you can visit the puppy and its  parents to inspect the living conditions yourself. A responsible and ethical breeder will have no concerns showing you the conditions in which the puppy was raised. They will also be able to readily show you documentation of the puppy’s lineage and proof of vet visits. We have a series of blogs dedicated to general pet advice to help keep you informed.

By choosing not to support unethical dog breeding and harmful puppy farms, you’re helping to create a brighter future for all dogs—one where animal welfare trumps profits, and all puppies can find their loving forever home. 

The Role of Dog Breed Clubs
group of corgi puppy dogs

Dog breed clubs are organisations made up of dedicated, passionate dog breeders. They usually have breed club standards for members, and offer support and guidance. The majority will also advocate for ethical breeding practices. 

One such Australian group is Dogs Australia. This is a not-for-profit organisation whose priority is to advocate for the preservation of purebred dogs through ethical breeding. They promote animal welfare and responsible ownership and aim to foster dog-loving communities through the power of education. Within Dogs Australia, there are State Member Bodies for each state and territory in Australia. 

On a more localised level, there are also community breed groups that you can join and participate in. These groups may not hold the same level of authority as larger state-wide clubs, but they can still provide a fun atmosphere for dog lovers to meet up, share knowledge, and work to promote animal welfare and safe breeding practices. 

Gumtree’s Ethical Breeding Support for Pets

Over the years, Gumtree has provided a safe and secure online marketplace for dog breeders and those who are looking to add a furry, four-legged member to their family. 

We promote ethical breeding of dogs, cats and all other animals, as we believe animal welfare should always come first. Our Gumtree Pets Code of Practice was developed in consultation with animal welfare groups (including the RSPCA) and outlines a set of guidelines that must be adhered to by all those wishing to advertise animals for sale on Gumtree.

Adopting a Puppy on Gumtree

On our Australia-wide marketplace, you’ll also find shelter animals that are available for adoption, not just puppies for sale from breeders. Searching for rescue pets to adopt on Gumtree is easy—all you need to do is select the appropriate filters, making sure to select “Pet offered by shelter”. Here you’ll find puppies, middle-aged dogs and senior dogs who are all looking for their forever home with a family to shower them with love.

Stay Informed and Support Ethical Dog Breeders

Championing animal welfare and ethical dog breeding practices helps to ensure a happy future for people and dogs alike. 

If you’re considering becoming a new dog owner, it’s easy to find your perfect match on Gumtree. Search for reputable breeders all over Australia and chat with them via our secure and safe online messaging system. Ask questions and arrange for a visit through our website, finding out all the details you need before making a decision.

Whether you’re after an energetic and playful golden retriever or a cute and cuddly pomeranian, you can discover hundreds of breeders on Gumtree. With a wide variety of purebred dogs and popular crossbreeds available, you’re sure to find a puppy that will be the perfect fit for your home. And to ensure your little puppy is protected from any accidental mishaps, think about investing in pet insurance for your peace of mind and their wellbeing. is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436, is arranged and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183 (PetSure) and is promoted and distributed by PetSure’s Authorised Representatives (AR) Pet Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 38 607 160 930, AR 1234944 (PIPL) and Gumtree AU Pty Ltd ABN 33 616 996 840, AR 1304608. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure this product meets your needs before purchasing. PDS and Target Market Determination available at

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