The Best Age to Buy a Puppy

Dear DogMa:

What is the correct age for a puppy to be sold? I thought it was 6-8 weeks. I am looking at a sheltie puppy – the owners say it is ready to go now, at 5 ½ weeks. (it is getting its first puppy shots today at the vet) Is that close enough?


Janice, thanks so much for your question, it’s one I’m sure a lot of people have.

There is a whole lot of misinformation that is out there about what age is safe to adopt or purchase a puppy. Honestly? If you ask this question of a dozen dog people, you are likely to get a dozen different answers. But anyone who is worth their salt will tell you to wait until AT LEAST eight weeks.

I would caution you to stay away from any breeder who wants you to take a pup at such a young age. At five and a half weeks, he/she is MUCH to young to be leaving his/her mom. This breeder obviously does not have the best interest of this pup at heart, and is probably a “greeder” (back yard breeder, or puppy mill – both which produce puppies for profit). You’d be best to find another litter from a responsible breeder.*

Personally I like to see a litter stay with their dam until they are about twelve weeks. By this point they have had the chance to wean naturally, have learned a lot of valuable dog language, have passed their first fear period (which happens at about eight weeks), and have learned good bite inhibition. The extra few weeks really does make a HUGE difference in the development of a pup. You will be thankful they had mom around to teach and mentor them – as it saves you and your family a whole lot of time and frustration. Your pup will be a more confident and good-natured member of your family, thanks to a little patience on your part.

*read my article on how to identify a good breeder at


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