Should You Buy a Puppy Without Papers? Is it OK?

I know of dog owners who would absolutely refuse to buy a puppy without papers. Then, I know of people who were not that bothered whether their dog had papers or not when they bought it as a puppy.

Often, it’s a personal choice. Other times though, particularly if you’re going to be showing your dog, or want to know their heritage due to health reasons, buying a puppy without papers is not recommended.

I’ve grown up with a mixture of dogs in my life. Sometimes, they would have papers and sometimes they wouldn’t. Many rescue dogs come without papers, but this doesn’t mean they’re of “lower” quality to a dog that does have papers. We don’t need to get snobby here now!

Should you buy a puppy without papers? You should buy a puppy with papers if you want proof it’s purebred and has been registered for papers proving their bloodline. Puppies without papers cannot participate in dog shows and certain field event competitions.

 The most important aspect of any paperwork when buying a dog will be that relating to their health. You should insist on papers with your puppy that prove vaccinations have been given, vet checks, and any details on microchipping.

Buying a dog without papers

I discovered quite a bit about registration papers for dogs. Read on to find out more about papers, purebred puppies and puppies who don’t have papers. I’m also going to share how the process differs between the U.S. and the U.K. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

How do I get papers for my puppy in the United States?

If you’re looking to register your dog and you live in the United States, you have a few options available to you. The American Kennel Club is one organization who’ll assist with registration as well as the American Pet Registry.

Both of these are recognized by the Continental Kennel Club Inc. You’ll find an extensive list of recognized registry organizations on this website.

Is it ok to buy a puppy without papers
When we bought our puppy we asked for papers to prove he was a French Bulldog.

The organizations require the following if you’re looking to register your puppy as a purebred:

  • Proof of registration of both parents of the same breed from a recognized registry organization.
  • The name and birth dates of both parents.
  • The names and birth dates of the puppies.

Most registry organizations do have online facilities for completing the application process.

How do I get papers for my puppy in the UK?

If you’re living in the United Kingdom, you’ll get all the information you need for registering your puppy from the UK Kennel Club. If you’re looking to get a pedigree certificate, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • The litter must be from both parents registered with the Kennel Club of the same recognized breed.
  • The puppies are born in the UK.
  • Confirmation you’re the breeder of the puppy.
  • The color, name, and microchip number of the puppy.

The UK Kennel Club has an online facility for applying and completing the registration process for your puppies.

What are the benefits of getting papers with my puppy?

One thing to consider about buying a puppy without papers is what your intentions are. For example, if you’re buying a purebred puppy, you want to know you’re getting the real deal.

After all, you’re likely to pay a hefty price for a pedigree dog. Registration papers not only confirms your puppy is purebred but will also give you the lineage of your dog.

If you intend doing any of the following with your dog, then recognized registration papers are essential:

  • Breeding: If you’re a breeder and want to be able to prove the lineage or bloodline of your litters, having the right papers is vital. Dog owners looking for purebred pups will want to see the papers before considering buying from your litter.
  • Showing: Papers are required if you want to enter your dog into shows. If your dog is not registered and has been allowed to participate in any official dog show, he or she will not be awarded any title.
  • Entering in field events: If you want to participate in hunting trials, agility tests or any other similar field event, your dog will need to have the right papers. While unregistered dogs may be able to attend such events, they may not qualify for any titles or awards.

Should I buy a puppy without papers?

Let’s get one thing straight here. If you fall in love with a puppy and it doesn’t have papers it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not a purebred. You can see his parents, they look purebred, the breeder assures you they’re purebred, so you can assume your pup is purebred.

However, if you want proof of your pup’s bloodline and it’s important to you because you want to breed with him, show him or enter him in field events, then papers are necessary.

Which brings me to the topic of scammed papers.

Yes, you heard me right!

Unfortunately, the world is full of scammers and it’s no different with dog breeders. So, if you do insist on papers make sure they come from reputable registry organizations no matter which country you’re living in.

But back to the question of should you buy a puppy without papers? Ask yourself what you want to do with your pup. If he’s purely going to be your companion and a treasured family pet, then papers are not something to get too worked up about.

should you buy a dog without papers
If you buy a puppy without papers you might not know health or heritage (Image via

Can I register my puppy after buying him?

It’s the breeder’s responsibility to register the litter. You can’t register the puppy yourself as only registered breeders may complete this process. When they sell the puppy to you, they must transfer the puppy to your name within 14 days. If they don’t undertake this process you can suspect they don’t have all the right papers.

In the UK, only registered breeders may register puppies with the Kennel Club. To change a dog’s ownership, the buyer must obtain the ownership code and the dog’s registration number from the breeder. You then need to complete an application form with the Kennel Club for change of dog ownership. When the application is approved, the Kennel Club will send you an Owners Registration Certificate.

What other papers should I get when I buy a puppy?

I’ve spoken a lot about registration papers for confirming the bloodline of your purebred puppy. But what other papers or documentations should you get when buying a puppy?

Many breeders go the extra mile and provide a puppy kit. In this kit you can expect the following papers:

  • Registration papers or pedigree certification: If you’re wanting confirmation of your pup’s lineage.
  • A contract of the sale transaction: This protects both the owner, and the seller should there be any disagreement after the sale.
  • Microchip identification: Many countries are making it law now for puppies to be microchipped before being sold. Make sure you have the papers proving this has been done.
  • Health screening reports: These reports will give you peace of mind your puppy has no underlying medical condition you’re not aware of. DNA tests are also useful for ruling out any hereditary diseases in the lineage.
  • Vaccination papers: Ensure your puppy has been properly vaccinated during his first eight weeks. It’s also good to have all reports of check ups done during your pup’s first weeks.

If you’re lucky, you may even find toys, a collar and dog tag plus some special doggie treats included in your puppy kit! Buying a puppy is a very exciting and special occasion so decide what is important to you when deciding should you buy a pup with or without papers.


Should you buy a dog without papers? Well, as you can now see, it’s a personal thing. If you are buying a pedigree, then papers will give you the peace of mind that you’re taking home what you think you’re buying.

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Here are more guides that will help those buying a puppy for the first time.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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