Pandemic Puppies: Exploring motivations and behaviours of UK owners acquiring puppies during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown


AWF Research Fund



Research Period


Area of study



Investigator(s): Dr Rowena Packer

The spread of coronavirus during has been limited by a period of ‘lockdown’ in the UK, where a large proportion of the public have spent several months restricted at home with limited external social contact. Widespread media reports indicate that during lockdown, unusually high numbers of the public have sought to, or have, purchased a puppy; with The Kennel Club reporting a 225% rise in puppy enquiries in April-May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

This project will explore by whom, why and how puppies were purchased during UK lockdown (March-June 2020). They will compare pre-, during and post-purchase motivations and behaviour of owners of popular dog breeds acquired during lockdown to the same months in 2019, to explore whether these pandemic purchases were atypical for the breeds investigated, as impulsive as media reports imply, and owner plans to mitigate potential negative effects upon their puppy.