It is hard to resist those puppy dog eyes and cute, wrinkled noses, but experts have issued a warning for prospective owners to be careful when searching for a pet online.
A survey by the Kennel Club has revealed that almost one in five puppies bought from online sellers are in such poor health that they die before reaching six months old.
A further 50 per cent were found to display behavioural problems, and one in ten suffered serious health problems.
Puppies can regularly be found for sale on websites and on social media, but such sources are often used by cruel puppy farms, with breeders interested only in cash, leaving owners with poorly or aggressive pets requiring expensive vet treatment or worse.
The poll of more than 2,000 dog owners revealed that one in three owners had sourced their puppy from the internet, social media, pet shops or print advertisements, with the internet now the second most common way for under-25s to purchase a pup.
Furthermore, of those who bought now fashionable cross breeds, half did not see the puppy with its mother, and 72 per cent never saw the dog in its home environment.
According to the Daily Mail, Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said: "More and more people are buying puppies from sources such as the internet, which are often used by puppy farmers.
"Whilst there is nothing wrong with initially finding a puppy online, it is essential to then see the breeder and ensure that they are doing all of the right things."
The Kennel Club advises anyone searching for their perfect pup to seek out a member of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, and always see the puppy with its mother in a home environment, as well as checking the relevant health certificates.
Alternatively, of course, there are thousands of dogs and puppies in rescue centres across the country that are desperately in need of happy homes.
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