For Breeders, there is a significant stigma about selling puppies at Christmas. Realising that any dog mate mid to end of August will be born middle to end December, and requiring homes mid to end December. As a breeder, you have three options:

  1. Don’t breed your dog
  2. Breed and only rehome pups after Christmas
  3. Breed and suitability vet the owners

Let’s look at each option in more detail.

1. Don’t breed your dog

It’s is easy to say don’t breed, and to be fair most breeders prefer summer to winter litters. It may be a pivotal breeding or a girl that only cycles every 12 months. Whatever your reason for deciding to breed, I assume it’s a well thought about and considered. Most breeders have plans, and they probably need to be kept, regardless of the seasons and festive clashes.

As a breeder, you should have an awareness that it can be more challenging to sell or rehome puppies during this season. You should start advertising early to ensure you get the best possible puppy parents. No puppies should ever be purchased as a surprise gift and anyone enquiring which such ideas, regardless of the time of year, should be declined and educated as to why this is a bad idea.

The purchase of a puppy should be taken seriously, and the education and commitment to this life-impacting and long term decision will start long before a puppy is introduced into the home.

Puppy and Christmas Tree Safety

2. Breed and only rehome pups after Christmas

So what are the main issues about selling pups at Christmas?

  • Puppies are for life, not just Christmas
    We all know this slogan, and I hope it needs no explanation, for this reason, you should never sell a puppy that is going to be gifted especially surprise gift. How will you know this? Suitability vetted puppy owners, particularly those who expressed an interest in advance of your litter, have stayed in contact since joining your waitlist.
  • Seasonal Hazards
    One of the main concerns is there are many ‘untypical’ items in your home at Christmas, which can be potential hazards for a new puppy. Festive decorations including pine needs, bauble, tree chocolate, light wires and present can be severe issues for a curious puppy. New owners may underestimate the risks.
  • The high volume of visitors
    This could not only be confusing for the puppy, leading them to become overawed and triggering anxious or nervous behaviour. They could also be missing out on a structured routine and missing vital sleeping times. There’s also a risk of visitors leaving doors or gates open, causing additional safety issues.
  • No structured routine
    During the holiday season, people’s habits tend to be much more relaxed, e.g. sleeping longer which could impact toilet training. The time in contact will be significantly increased due to no work commitments, once the holiday period is over and the typical routine starts, the puppy may suffer separate anxiety because they were initially introduced to a ‘false’ routine.

These are all credible reasons why homing puppies over Christmas could be less than ideal. As a breeder, it’s your responsibility to act in the best interest of the puppy. Your aim is that the puppy settles well and starts its journey with a lifelong family and home, but also that you support the owners to ensure the transition is smooth. Providing ongoing advice to prevent the puppy from becoming problematic, being returned or worse still passed to a rescue charity.

For this reason, it’s why many breeders decide to not home puppies around Christmas and instead run them on for an additional one or two weeks.

Is this the best thing to do?

Puppies have a socialisation window of 3 to 16 weeks, can a breeder keeping a puppy until 10 or 12 weeks of age harm a puppy’s development?

3. Breed and Suitable Vetting

This option if you decide to breed and how you home a puppy will depend on the individual basis, rather than all the owners of the litter receiving a blanket treatment.

I don’t see a problem selling puppies to owners who are highly qualified through your vetting process and have been on your waitlist. They’ve taken the time to research before the puppy purchase and have shown patience by eagerly waiting for your puppy news and updates. It’s been confirmed the puppy is not a surprise gift, just a case of bad timing due to the calendar clash.

This point should be raised with each potential owner on a 1 to 1 basis, and your concerns as a breeder should be shared. Some owners may well agree! Their Christmas celebrations might be on par with National lampoons, and the home is not an ideal place for a puppy’s introduction.

This is fine, and discussions should be made as to when the collection date will be, as a breeder you should continue their development and enrichment plans ensuring proper steps are taken to developing their toileting regime, lead and collar training, vaccination requirements and ongoing food requirements.

Some owners might feel they could handle the pup over this season; they may be:

  • Retired couple or Homeworkers, so daily routine don’t be impacted.
  • They are existing dog owners and already adjust their home to accommodate this festive time.
  • Have no young children and are happy to have no Christmas decorations up this year.
  • Culturally or for personal reasons they don’t celebrate Christmas, so their routine is not affected.

So, rather than making assumptions and making a blanket decision for your owners, it’s worth asking them.

Ask the Owners

This way, you can make your decision with confidence, knowing you have acted best of the puppy and the future owners. If the owners can counter all of your concerns, you’ll have reduced any future problem or concerns about this issue.


Looking for more information and support on the topic covered in this blog? Wanting more information on:

New Owner Vetting Questions ✅ Puppy Socialisation ✅ Puppy Sale Paperwork 

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