Back in March this year I predicted a looming puppy shortage. This puppy shortage soon eventuated and peaked in May 2020.
Due to the uncertainties around Covid 19 many breeders were putting the brakes on their breeding activities. But it turned out to be a perfect storm. The resultant lower than normal supply of pups combined with a higher than usual demand to produce a “puppy rush” the likes of which I’ve never seen in almost 30 years as a breeder.
During the lockdowns a switch clicked on in many families minds that their life would be better with a dog to share it with. Every man and his dog were suddenly desperate to fill the void. Puppy prices rose, as did waiting lists. Any and every available puppy was quickly snapped up, and the shelters all emptied of adoptable dogs.
Normal struggles breeders go through to securely place all their puppies seemed like a thing of the past at the height of the puppy rush.
Until now. Because, I’ve got news for you. The puppy rush is over. And is set to rebound on most breeders with a vengeance.
Many of the homes dogs went into are not secure
Many people who shopped or adopted during the lockdown measures would have done so on impulse. It seemed like a great idea at the time, especially if they neither had to pay much for it, nor wait a long time to take it home.
Where home-schooling was mandated, getting a dog may have seemed like the ideal project to distract the kids.
Sadly, for many, the novelty of having a dog is now beginning to wear off.
And the cuteness factor of all those puppies adopted back in April and May is rapidly running out.
With the waning of both factors emerges the strong realization that dogs require training, exercise, expense and care.
And owning a dog may no longer seem like such a great idea.
The lockdowns have eased in many places so many folks have returned to work, leaving thousands of adolescent dogs alone at home with nothing to do but be destructive.
The final nail in the coffin is that we haven’t felt the full economic impact of Covid 19 measures yet.
Many pundits are predicting that the worst is yet to come. And a second wave lock-down will wreak even more havoc.
Widespread supply chain disruptions is likely to result in the rationing of many foods in coming months, particularly meat. It’s going to be bad.
Coming… A massive rise in the number of young dogs in shelters
As things get tougher, that no longer cute and now destructive dog will be the first to go. Even in normal times around 1 in 5 dogs adopted from shelters end up being returned to them. In emerging conditions we could see this double, and extend to dogs adopted or shopped. That’s a lot of available dogs.
Coupled with a dwindling demand for all the reasons mentioned above, times do not look great for shelters or breeders.
As 2020 wears on, the increased availability of young dogs from shelters will see many households steering towards this option. Why? Because money will be tight and this is the cheapest option.
As a result I tip that the the middle and bottom of the market will become more price sensitive.
Which breeders will be most affected?
1. Breeders who rely on puppy sites to sell their pups.
Such breeders will struggle to place all their puppies in good homes. In coming months I expect to see prices plunge coupled with a huge increase in the number of older puppies for sale on these sites across the board.
2. Breeders without strong waiting lists of financially committed owners will suffer the most.
If I was in that position I would seriously consider pausing my breeding program now in expectation of worsening conditions towards the end of the year.
3. Breeders who sell to the low-end and middle priced parts of the market
The classic buyers at the low and middle sections of the market are blue collar worker families. These are set to be worst affected by the looming and severe economic depression soon to sweep the world. Most people in that economic sector wanting a puppy will seek the cheapest source they can find. Lots of breeders will be forced to give their puppies away. Many will simply not survive.
Conversely, the high end of the market will probably be the least affected.
Most high end, fussy buyers will still have jobs as they tend to be white collar and so more able to move their work home. Being fussy, they will continue to look for high-end breeders from which to source their next dog. And be both willing and able to pay for a great puppy from a breeder who meets their needs.
During the Great Depression of the early 1930s some families only survived thanks to high-end dog breeding. And its interesting to note that in the decade of the Great Depression, all top 10 breeds were small or medium-sized companion dogs such as Boston Terriers and Cocker Spaniels.
How to recession-proof your breeding business
If you’d like to learn how to become such a breeder and recession proof your breeding business, I have prepared a free Breeder Masterclass for you. If you’d like to stay viable as a breeder, you owe it to yourself to register now.
It will show you the steps you need to take to prepare for the coming tough times, and ensure that you won’t be one of those many breeders who go under.
Here is the link to the Free Breeder Masterclass. Register now.