The holidays are not the ideal time to send a puppy to a new home. There is too much hustle and bustle with travel, visitors, decorations, and gifts. Puppies require a lot of attention and work, and the last thing a breeder wants is for their puppy to be neglected when it first enters its new home.
We asked AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. breeders how they handle holiday litters, and they shared their valuable advice.
AKC reminds everyone that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas!
Happy Holidays from the American Kennel Club!
“I never allow puppies to be given as presents. I always have to interview the whole family/household to ensure the pup goes to a home where everyone wants it. For Christmas, I provide a picture for the new owner to place under the tree. Then I release the pup after the holiday excitement is over.”
- Kathy Coleman
“Instead of getting the puppy at Christmastime, I suggest that new puppy buyers plan for the puppy's arrival and purchase items for Christmas gifts that they would purchase for the puppy. That might include a care and training book to help them put together a strategy for the perfect start for their new puppy.”
- Meg DeFore
“I would advise puppy buyers to wait until after the holidays to bring their new puppy home, as it can be a difficult time to focus your energy and time on properly raising and socializing a puppy. A puppy has a big adjustment when transitioning to a new home, and it's important not to unnecessarily stress the puppy. That could happen with a house full of family and friends during the holiday season. A responsible breeder will ensure the puppy's transition is as smooth as possible, which means preparing the entire family with information on training, supplies, and how to properly socialize their new family member.”
- Lorraine Shore
“I tell people who want to buy a puppy for Christmas to instead put a picture of the puppy under the tree. I give them a leather-bound notebook with a lot of information in it. A pedigree, blanket, dog toys, and a dog food kit also make nice items to wrap for children, and then they can pick up the puppy after the holidays.”
- Angela Bransom
“If one of our females is having her heat cycle at the correct time (or depending on how you look at it, the wrong time), and her litter will be ready for their new homes right at Christmas, I will wait to place her with a male for mating for as long as possible without missing her cycle. This holding off will generally give me a couple of extra days to place the puppies at an age to go home after Christmas day. If this can't be done, I only place Christmas puppies with families that I've gotten to know and to those families that have been waiting with us for a few months for their puppy. This way I am more confident that the family is well prepared.”
- Patrice Hinsley
“I will allow puppies to be placed seven days before Christmas Eve to families with older children or four days post-Christmas for families with little kiddos. For them, I print an 8x10 glossy picture of their puppy with a letter from Santa saying that the puppy just couldn't fit in the sleigh and be safe on the trip from the North Pole.”
- Dr. Doris Newkirk
“I only bend my holiday rule when it is a couple with no children or without any big party or travel plans. Well, not entirely true . . . I did deliver a puppy to a hospital once to a little boy who was seriously ill. I got permission from the nursing staff to bend the rules, so he could cuddle his puppy for an hour on Christmas Eve."
- Dr. Doris Newkirk