Figures from the Pets4Homes website, based on about 150,000 adverts, showed the average price being asked from March to September was £1,883. During the same period last year the average price was £888.
Lee Gibson, from Pets4Homes, said between April and June visits to the website peaked at 20 million a month – double last year’s figure.
He said: “I think people had more time at home – and with their children. They knew they could put the time and effort into training a dog. And secondly, there was a need for companionships. For many people lockdown has been a lonely time.”
The website acts as an online marketplace, with the dog breeders themselves determining what prices to charge.
“During this period there wasn’t a huge increase in the numbers of puppies available – so it’s simply the economics of supply and demand,” he said.
Claire Calder, from the Dogs Trust rescue charity, said lockdown had created a “perfect storm” for puppy sales with many people thinking this is the ideal time to take on a pet – but she’s worried about the future.
“We’re expecting a dog welfare crisis further down the line – an increase in abandonment as people go back to work,” she said.
“The economic situation also means that some people may find they can’t afford to look after a dog.”