Buying a puppy.

So, you’ve decided you want a Siberian Husky. You would quite like to be covered from head to foot in dog hair for a couple of weeks, twice a year. Your garden is way too tidy, and would be improved no end by several large craters. And you are looking forward to all the extra exercise that having a dog who can never be let off the lead out in the open will involve. (Helpful tip – buy a walking belt if you like both your arms to stay the same length, these dogs were bred to pull!) You’ve thought about it properly, done your research, everyone in the household is in agreement, and you know (sort of) what you are letting yourself in for. Where do you get one of these amazing creatures?


Firstly, there are a truly horrendous number of Sibes in various Rescue organisations these days. Many hundreds are dumped every year, mainly because they were bought on impulse by people who had no idea about the requirements of Siberians, or indeed of any dog. Although some undoubtedly do come with emotional baggage due to their bad start in life, many have been rejected simply for displaying the breed traits every owner should have been prepared for, such as impressive moulting or chasing small furry animals. Or, my personal favourite stupid excuse, because people “don’t have time for them” anymore…. If you can find room in your life to give one of these dogs a second chance, it can be especially rewarding.


Finding a breeder.

If you decide you want a puppy, the best way to find a breeder is to go to races and shows and talk to people there. We are fortunate that Siberians in the UK are still mostly a dual purpose breed that can work and look beautiful at the same time! The majority of dogs in the show ring are the same ones charging round the forest in front of a rig in the winter. It is unusual for a responsible breeder not to be involved in either activity. If you are interested in either racing or showing, or perhaps both, a little time spent watching from the sidelines before you buy your dog should help you get to know who you want to buy from.

Don’t be insulted if they give you the third degree! It is actually a good thing that they want to know your life history, maybe ask to see photographic evidence of your alleged 6 foot high fences. If they didn’t care where their puppies ended up, they probably wouldn’t care if they were healthy either. Avoid anybody who gets annoyed if you ask them questions about health tests etc.

All responsible breeders will ask you to sign a sales contract stating that if you no longer want the dog, you will return it to the breeder, rather than sending it off to a swamped rescue kennel or giving it away on the internet. The contract should also set out restrictions on breeding until appropriate health tests are carried out.

It is very risky to buy a puppy from an internet advert. You never know what you are getting, where the puppy has come from, whether it is purebred or not, or indeed if it even exists – there are a number of internet scams involving fake litters of puppies where the buyer is asked to pay a deposit online.

Similarly, please don’t “rescue” a puppy from a puppy farm or backyard breeder if you find yourself at one. By handing over your money, all you are doing is encouraging them to continue mistreating their animals for a profit. Report them to the RSPCA, their local Council whose job it is to inspect such places, or the local media to warn other buyers. Cut off their market and stop the abuse. Pet shops, Puppy “supermarkets” and dealers all get their puppies from these places because no decent breeder will sell to them. Tens of thousands of puppies are shipped over from farms in Ireland, and now from the Continent, where forged papers mean that worryingly, puppies too young to have had their rabies vaccination are being brought in. Kept in squalid conditions, the mothers of all these puppies are bred at every season, and disposed of when they are too old. The pups are exposed to all sorts of diseases, are hard to housetrain because they have spent all their young lives running round in their own mess, and frequently have terrible temperament problems stemming from a total lack of socialisation. Sometimes (though not always) puppies from these sources can be cheaper than from a good breeder, but it is a false economy. You would spend those savings and more on your first trip to the vets. Probably the first of many trips to the vets…

KC Registered? 

Buying a Kennel Club registered puppy is not a guarantee of a healthy puppy with a good temperament – it does rely on the honesty of the breeder – but it is the best chance you have. Look into their assured Breeder scheme. Breeding non-registered dogs, however, is almost a guarantee the breeder is only in it for the money. A litter is usually unregistered because the breeder has broken one of the few rules they have to stick to to register dogs. Perhaps the parents still have breeding restrictions on them because they haven’t passed their health tests, or maybe the mother has exceeded the maximum number of litters permitted from one bitch, or is too young to be bred from. A lot of people seem to advertise regular “accidental” litters as an excuse why the puppies can’t be registered. At any rate, the parents are highly unlikely to have been hip scored or eye tested, and you have no way of checking even if the breeder claims they have.

Some people seem surprised that KC registered litters aren’t required to be from health tested parents. Currently they are not, but at least you can check with the KC that the health tests have really been done, and how many litters the bitch has had previously. Finally, if you want to show or even work your Siberian with most organisations, it needs to be Kennel Club registered. The other “registration” businesses are just listing companies who print off certificates. You cannot show dogs registered with “Dog Lovers” for example. Only the breeder can register the litter, and you should be given the registration documents when you pay for your puppy.


Always, always ALWAYS see the puppy with its mother. Never deal with anybody who wants to deliver your puppy to you without you having seen their premises. It is vital that you meet the mother with your puppy, not only because you need to know what sort of personality he or she will have inherited, but also because if puppies are separated from their mothers too early, it can cause serious temperament problems such as aggression. A puppy should never go to a new home earlier than 8 weeks. Be very wary if you cannot see the mother and puppies together. Some dealers and puppy farmers rotate litters into a house to make it look as if they have been bred in better conditions than they actually have. If they insist on showing you the mother separately, she may not be the mother at all.

Except in large kennels with several different family lines, the stud dog will usually live elsewhere, which might mean another kennel to visit, or the owner of the bitch should be able to show you pictures and copies of his health certificates.

There are many potential pitfalls involved in buying a dog, but hopefully these tips will help you, and you will spend many happy years with your Siberian.

Guidance on Puppy Prices

The SHCGB advices that as a guide, the price for a Siberian Husky puppy from a reputable breeder would be approximately £900 – £1000