Illegal Puppy Trade and Puppy Health and Welfare

This project investigated the effects of intensive dog breeding regimens, also known as 'puppy farming', on the health and  behaviour of dogs as reported by their owners.

Early-life is one of the most sensitive periods for behavioural development, and the long-term impacts of improper socialisation has been demonstrated to lead to an increased fear of novelty as adult dogs. The consequence of fear-based behavioural issues has the potential to include aggression towards humans. 

We carried out an online survey of puppy owners and found that puppy-farmed puppies were more likely to have behavioural and health issues than other puppies. Our findings confirm that puppy farming has a range of serious impacts on dogs in the family home. These include increased behavioural problems for 11 of the 14 scales used in the study, especially in relation to fear responses, and medical conditions or illnesses.

Read our briefing paper

Funded by ESRC Impact Accelerator Award.