COVID-inflated prices for puppies are enough to make you howl.
Pups are fetching as much as 50% more nationwide now because lockdown loneliness caused a six-month run on designer dogs. And that’s before you pay for the mutt’s private-charter plane ticket. The increased demand for furry companions during the pandemic has created a shortage for the holidays, traditionally the busiest time of the year for breeders and pet stores.
“None of us can keep up,” Missouri breeder Pat Self told The Post.
Ordering a puppy now for delivery before the holidays will run upwards of $2,400. Top dogs at Citipups in Chelsea are the Cavapoo, a mix of Cavalier King Charles spaniel and poodle, and the Goldendoodle, a poodle-Golden Retriever hybrid, manager Emilio Ortiz told The Post.
“It’s quite shocking really.” A Maltipoo, a cute cross between a Maltese and poodle, sold for $1,000 to $1,500 per pup pre-pandemic, Self, 67, said.
The shop is selling the latter for $3,200, about $500 higher than usual. But elsewhere prices have skyrocketed to $4,700. Companionship-starved dog lovers are willing to pay, like a woman who slept in her car so she could get a puppy.
The New Jersey woman wanted a Cavapoo desperately and had been checking the Citipups website for when one would come in, Ortiz said. Finally, the good news arrived late on a Thursday night. Right then, she headed into to Manhattan, parked in front of the shop and was the first one through the door Friday morning. Virtually every hybrid of the poodle — smart, sweet, and non-shedding — is pricey, said Naama Bloom, who oversees marketing for PuppySpot, a company that connects ethical breeders with buyers.
A Bernedoodle, a Bernese mountain dog-poodle mix, can fetch into the high $5,000s, up from $3,500.
A happy, easygoing Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is $4,600, up from $3,000.
The smart, loyal and loving Golden Retriever: $3,900 for the holidays, $2,700 pre-pandemic.
But wait. There are travel expenses to factor in, too, and they’re also surging. Getting a puppy from a Midwest breeder to the East Coast, where most of the buyers are, used to cost about $399 for a commercial flight.
But many airlines paused their live-animal cargo because of the infection, Bloom said. Now, they get a $799 seat on a private charter. And a smaller-breed pup weighing less than 2 pounds needs a flying companion, which can bring the total to $1,599. Bloom stressed that PuppySpot decided to drop its margins because breeder prices have gotten so high.
But she made the point that puppies are simply going to cost more this Christmas and that anybody who wants one should get on a list now. “The early bird gets the worm.”