To people who are following the world of companion animals during the coronavirus pandemic, it comes as no surprise that purebred dog prices have gone through the roof in Australia. It’s about supply and demand; the marketplace. If a lot more people want to adopt a dog and the supply has not adjusted upwards to meet the demand then the prices go up. It’s as simple as that. In this instance the pressure is so great that middlemen are coming into the picture, buying dogs from breeders and then selling them on to take their profit margin. The market has become that distorted.
One breeder, Amanda Wilkinson, breeds groodles (Adelaide Hills Groodles). These are a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. They are adorable and I can see why they’re so popular. The normal price for these super-cute puppies is between AU$3,500 and AU$4,500. The price has been pushed up to between AU$7,000 and as high as AU$15,000. This top price is £8,310 (UK).
This upward pressure on prices creates an unwelcome problem: security. The picture on this page shows 10 groodles. If each one could fetch AU$10,000, this group is worth AU$100,000. Unscrupulous people might think it a good idea to break into her home and steal them. Nowadays people steal anything.
A similar picture can be painted in the UK. I suspect that the inflationary pressure on pedigree dog prices is a worldwide phenomenon; a result of the pandemic. People who had thought about adopting a dog for a long time decided to take the plunge because they had time on their hands due to lockdown measures and furlough schemes. And a lot of people were going to be alone and therefore wanted the company. Unfortunately, on occasions, adopters had not really prepared themselves sufficiently in terms of their attitude towards a lifetime care of a companion animal. It is almost as if they were buying a companion animal for the duration of the lockdown or until a vaccine has been developed. That is not how you adopt a companion animal.
Even where I live, I’ve noticed far more puppies than usual being walked on a lead in the park that I go to. It’s a great time to be a dog and cat breeder. I suspect, by the way, that dogs are proving more popular than cats. This may be because you can go for a walk with the dog and people need to find ways to exercise during lockdowns, either partial or full. The dog meets this requirement.
There is a fear that at the end of government restrictions on socialising and movements, that a substantial proportion of dog and cat adopters will give up their new pet because they haven’t really committed to providing a lifetime care. The rescue centres are preparing for this.