The coronavirus puppy boom: one in four admit to impulse buying a pandemic puppy

New research from the Kennel Club reveals a quarter of new owners admit to buying a puppy during the coronavirus pandemic with little research.

The research released this week as part of the Kennel Club’s  #BePuppyWise campaign, shows that 41% of those who bought a puppy said the main reason was to have a lockdown companion.

Almost two thirds of those who bought a puppy during the pandemic believed lockdown was the perfect time to get a puppy – with three quarters stating their dog was the best thing about lockdown.

However, thousands missed the red flags during their buying process with 27% of owners paying out money before actually seeing their puppy.

The statistics also revealed that 42% didn’t see the puppy’s breeding environment, in real-life or via video call and an overwhelming 83% weren’t asked any questions by the breeder about their suitability as owners.

With many desperate for a four-legged companion, a worrying one in four spent less than two hours doing their research, leaving them particularly vulnerable to scams and unable to spot the signs of an unscrupulous breeder.

Shockingly, almost a quarter (24%) of pandemic puppy buyers also think their puppy could have originated from a puppy farm.

Welfare organisations like the Kennel Club are also concerned about the consequences of these quick decisions as lockdown lifts, with one in five new owners who bought a puppy during the pandemic admitting that they hadn’t fully considered the long-term commitment or responsibility that comes with having a dog.

Only just over half (52%) of the new owners had taken into consideration who will look after their puppy when they return to work.

Nearly a quarter are concerned about their puppy’s socialisation and behaviour due to lockdown restrictions, including when meeting other people and dogs. Less than 50% researched puppy training before getting their dog

Following this research, which illustrates a nation in need of puppy love yet with increasingly hasty buying habits accompanied by worrying consequences, the Kennel Club has launched its #BePuppywise campaign, urging people to take their time and do proper research when getting a dog.

The campaign provides advice, tools and resources, from videos to top tips for both potential owners to help them find the right dog and breeder, and prepare for their new family member, as well as those new owners who are struggling with their pandemic puppy, helping them care for their new best friend as lockdown lifts and beyond.

Bill Lambert, Head of Health and Welfare at the Kennel Club comments: “Our dogs are certainly helping us through the pandemic, providing a welcome and happy distraction as Covid-19 causes anxiety, suffering and disruption across the nation. However we do have concerns about those puppies which may have been bought on impulse, without owners doing their homework on how or where to get a dog responsibly, or fully realising a puppy is a new family member for life, not a short-term commodity.

“These hasty decisions not only play into the hands of the opportunistic scammers and puppy farmers operating during the pandemic – but can also sadly result in puppies being rehomed if owners haven’t carefully considered how their dog will fit their ‘normal’ life. In the current climate it’s never been more crucial to be puppywise via thorough, extensive research, taking time to find the right dog and breeder, and being aware of the red flags, as well as preparing for your new arrival and being a responsible owner. By wising up, you’re actively taking steps to prevent a potentially damaging lockdown legacy for puppies across the UK.”

The Kennel Club has produced a ‘litter in lockdown’ video with Dragons’ Den entrepreneur and KC Assured Breeder, Jenny Campbell, which shows puppy buyers what a responsible breeder looks like, and how to be a responsible new puppy owner during the pandemic.

The video and more tips on how to #BePuppywise is available at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/be-puppywise.