top of page

Dog auctions are a thing! I. Had. No. Idea.

Photo credit: Little Brown Horse Photography

Most cities are filled with dog lovers, and many families are eager to welcome a new canine companion into their homes. However, the journey to becoming a responsible dog owner begins long before bringing a pup home.

I've always purchased my dogs from reputable breeders that I researched extensively, and often, sat on a long waitlist to get the puppy I wanted. I don't have anything against rescue, in fact, my first family dog, Scruffy, was from the SPCA and he turned out to be a fantastic companion. However, I compete with my dogs in multiple dog sports and need a dog that's been purposely bred for a task ie: hunting. And, while there's no guarantee, researching pedigrees and knowing how temperaments are likely to turn out in a particular breeding is important to me. Given all of that, I guess I've been living in la-la land. I was this many years old when I found out....

Dog auctions are a thing. I. Had. No. Idea.

I recently learned that dogs are sold at auctions. I guess it makes sense, you can pretty much buy anything at an auction. My only experience with an auction was when I bought one of my first horses (and what a nightmare that was...) These auctions are often hotspots for the sale of dogs bred in unethical conditions, contributing to the perpetuation of puppy mills and backyard breeders. Dogs sold at auctions may come from overcrowded and unsanitary environments, lacking proper socialization, medical care, and basic needs.

Raising a puppy or dog is hard enough as it is. You don't want to make it harder on yourself. If the ethics of it all isn't enough, let's look at how aquiring a dog from unethical practices may impact you:

  1. Lack of Socialization: Puppies from mills or auctions may not receive proper socialization, impacting their ability to adapt to a home environment and causing behavioral issues. What does this mean to you, dear puppy owner? Money and time. Significant behavior issues require a significant commitment to training, beyond that of basic obedience.

  2. Health Concerns: Inadequate veterinary care can result in dogs with various health problems, leading to significant emotional and financial burdens for owners. Again, the risk here is all of those health issues are going to cost you. A lot.

So, how can prospective dog owners ensure they are acquiring a pet ethically? Here are some guidelines to consider:

  1. Research Reputable Breeders: Look for breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs. Ask for references, visit their facilities, and ensure they adhere to responsible breeding practices outlined by their parent organizations. Check the Canadian Kennel Club, American Kennel Club or National Breed clubs as a start. Your due diligence doesn't end here! I was shocked to find out that one of the dogs bought from an auction locally was from a CKC registered breeder. Yikes!

  2. Adopt from Reputable Rescues: If adopting, choose a reputable rescue organization with a transparent adoption process that isn't importing dogs for commercial purposes (***new flash, there's no standards for how rescues should be run in Canada). If they don't have a history on the dog, that's VERY fishy. Ensure they provide proper medical care and behavioral assessments for their dogs, and at the very least, a trial adoption period.

  3. Avoid Impulse Purchases: Take your time when deciding to bring a dog into your home. Avoid impulse purchases, especially from pet stores or online sellers (including classified ads), as they may source their dogs from commercial breeders or be re-selling dogs purchased at auctions.

  4. Visit the Breeder or Rescue Facility: Schedule a visit to the breeder or rescue's facility to see the conditions firsthand. Responsible breeders and rescues are usually open to such visits. If you can't get there yourself (I've personally bought from breeders who I didn't meet in person) DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Talk to them, ask all the questions. Talk to their other puppy people or other owners with dogs from the same rescue. Don't just take their word for it.

Finally, here are three red flags for potential dog owners to be aware of when acquiring a new family member:

  1. Lack of Transparency: If a breeder or rescue is hesitant to provide information about the dog's background, living conditions, or medical history, consider it a red flag.

  2. Unwillingness to Answer Questions: A responsible breeder or rescue will be happy to answer all your questions about the dog's lineage, health, and socialization.

  3. No Contract or Health Guarantee: Reputable breeders and rescues often provide contracts and/or health guarantees, ensuring the well-being of the dog and offering support if any issues arise.

Being a responsible dog owner begins with making ethical choices from the start. By avoiding dog auctions, classified ads and commercial operations, and thoroughly researching breeders and rescues, you can contribute to the well-being of dogs everywhere. Choose to adopt or purchase your companion responsibly, contributing to a happy and healthy life for you and your new family member.

352 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page