Animal charity Dogs Trust has reported “record level” prices for puppies during lockdown, with some breeds reaching as much as £9,000.
The research showed that the asking price for five of the UK’s most sought after breeds and the five breeds most often smuggled into the country.
Dachshunds, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs and Chow Chows – shot up between March, when lockdown was announced, and the end of June this year, when lockdown started easing.
The data reveals the average price increased by 89% for Dachshunds, £1,838 in June compared to £973 in March, 67% for Chow Chows, £1,872 in June compared to £1,119 in March, 31% for English Bulldogs, £2,140 in June compared to £1,637 in March and 52% for French Bulldogs, £1,905 in June compared to £1,251 in March.
Research also revealed a 56% rise in prices of Pugs to £1,064 in June compared to £684 in March.
Dogs Trust also revealed millions of people have been working from home and demand for puppies has soared during lockdown, with Google searches for ‘buy a puppy’ increasing by 166% since lockdown was announced on 23 March.
Dogs Trust’s veterinary director and chair of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group, Paula Boyden, said: “It’s shocking to see how much dogs are being advertised for sale online and in particular how prices for some of the most popular smuggled breeds have increased during the coronavirus lockdown.
“While there are many responsible sellers out there, sadly there are plenty who are just looking to tug on the heartstrings and exploit the situation for their own profit.”
Boyden added: “With puppies in such high demand, and selling for such high prices, it’s creating a lucrative market for cruel puppy smugglers and, sadly, we have rescued many dogs illegally imported into the country, destined to be sold during lockdown. It’s also creating a perfect storm for people to be Dogfished and scammed out of their hard-earned money.
“That is why it is so important to always see a pup with and interact with their mum and to go and see them more than once. Never pay a deposit without seeing the puppy in person first and check all paperwork carefully. If something doesn’t seem right, as hard as it may be, walk away and report the seller.”