Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020

Dog breeders see huge surge in demand for puppies during lockdown

More and more people are seeking to add a dog to their family during lockdown – but it has sparked concerns that some might not be prepared for the responsibility. 

British dog breeders have seen a huge surge in demand for puppies since the pandemic started.

However, once restrictions lift and people get back to working fulltime again, they might be unwilling to keep on a pet.

The Kennel Club group says it has has seen a 180% rise on last year in enquiries from people wanting to buy dogs.

Many breeders are worried that some Britons may be wanting to buy a puppy to ‘keep the children entertained’ during the pandemic without realising the time, money and effort that goes into maintaining a dog over their lifetime.

They are concerned that dogs could be given to rescue centres once the pandemic is over, and urging people to research breeds as much as possible before buying so that they are prepared for the work.

Siberian Husky breeders Christine and Stephen Biddlecombe say they have been inundated with emails from prospective owners.

They have gone from having one of two messages a week via the Kennel Club to receiving three or four a day, with some arriving at midnight or 1am.

Stephen Biddlecombe said many people seem to be underestimating the differences between caring for a puppy and a fully-grown dog.

He said: ‘A puppy is a puppy only for a few weeks and then that puppy grows into an adult, an adult dog, and you’ve got a completely different animal on your hands, as you can see.’

Flatcoated retriever breeder Jenny Campbell echoed the Biddlecombes’ sentiments, saying many breeders are exercising caution despite the uptick in demand.

She said: ‘I think most responsible breeders have been quite cautious about that explosion in demand and just made sure that they find the puppy owners that have thought about the breed that they’re buying and that this is a lifetime decision, not just a Covid decision.’

A major concern of hers is future behavioural issues in puppies who may suffer separation anxiety one lockdown is lifted and people return to work or education.

However, not all breeders are taken such a responsible approach.

The Kennel Club’s Bill Lambert said some breeders had hiked their prices and there is concern that some buyers would look abroad, where welfare standards can be lower.

He said: ‘We are hearing stories that some breeders are actually profiteering.

‘They’re actually putting the prices of their puppies up significantly.

‘But obviously what also can happen during this time is that it actually increases demand for puppies from overseas.

‘There is a both a legal and illegal market in puppies from overseas, and often these dogs are bred in very poor conditions, and they don’t have the same animal welfare laws that we have in this country.

‘So that can actually lead to problems. If we see demand for puppies that can’t be fulfilled by UK breeders, then the demand will go overseas and that can actually lead to all sorts of other welfare problems.’

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