Puppy prices break records during lockdown surge

Puppy prices break records during lockdown surge

New statistics released by Dogs Trust have shown that prices for some of the UK’s most desirable dog breeds reached record levels during lockdown as some sellers exploited demand for puppies.

The Dogs Trust says that demand for puppies during the Covid-19 lockdown has driven prices for sought-after breeds from some dealers to record new levels.

The canine charity also pointed out that the breeds most affected by the hike in prices are among those which are highly likely to be illegally imported into the country via puppy smuggling.

Dogs Trust research revealed that the asking price for five of the UK’s most sought after breeds – Dachshunds, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs and Chow Chows – shot up between March and the end of June this year when lockdown was at its height.

The charity reviewed advertisements from the last three years on some of the UK’s largest classified advertising websites, discovering that prices for Pugs, Dachshunds and Chow Chows had never been higher while English and French Bulldogs were also seeing significant price hikes.

The most expensive of the breeds, English Bulldogs, advertised for as much as £2,140 on average in June compared to an average of £1,637 in March, although some listings reached as high as £9,000.


The data reveals the average price increased by:

  • 89 per cent for Dachshunds – £1,838 in June compared to £973 in March
  • 67 per cent for Chow Chows – £1,872 in June compared to £1,119 in March
  • 31 per cent for English Bulldogs – £2,140 in June compared to £1,637 in March
  • 52 per cent for French Bulldogs – £1,905 in June compared to £1,251 in March
  • 56 per cent for Pugs – £1,064 in June compared to £684 in March


Demand for puppies has soared as millions of people in the UK began working from home. Goggle searches for terms such as ‘buy a puppy’ have surged since March 23, increasing by as much as 166 per cent.

That increase in demand has kept Dog Trust’s Puppy Pilot scheme – which rescues smuggled puppies on the UK’s borders – very busy. Between the beginning of lockdown and the end of June, the charity rescued 43 puppies that were illegally imported into the UK from Central and Eastern Europe.

These dogs were destined to be advertised online for extortionate prices and sold to unsuspecting buyers, says the Trust, while cruel puppy smugglers make huge profits. If sold, they could have fetched an estimated £80,000.

Dogs Trust’s veterinary director and chair of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group, Paula Boyden says that it’s ‘shocking’ to see how many dogs are being advertised for sale online during lockdown and how prices of the most popular breeds have rocketed:

“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’ve rescued many dogs illegally imported into the country, destined to be sold during lockdown,’ she continued. ‘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 interacting 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’ warned Paula.