Bringing your puppy home from a breeder

Breeders are plenty experienced making sure dogs get to their new homes, transporting them all across the country. Learn more about your options.

by Good Dog

Once you’ve finally found the right puppy match and are ready to bring him or her home, there are two main modes of transporting your new family member home. Each are completely valid, but make sure to check with your breeder first to confirm the options they offer. Breeders may only offer one method, so just be in communication with them ahead of time so you can plan ahead.

The important thing is that your puppy gets to you happy, healthy and safe. In order to achieve that, here are the two ways you can transport your puppy home:

1. Pick-up.

Some breeders will arrange for “pick-up days.” People taking home puppies from that specific litter will be assigned windows to arrive at the breeder’s location and pick up their puppy.

Finding a local breeder makes the pickup process easy and allows you to meet and share the special occasion. More often, you’ll likely wind up working with a breeder that’s more than a quick drive away. That’s totally fine — many breeders are plenty experienced making sure dogs get to their new homes, transporting them all across the country.

If driving isn’t doable, but you still want to collect your pup in person and also meet the breeder, flying in yourself is another great option (and you can make a fun trip out of it!). Just remember, though, your dog has to be small enough to fit in a carry-on that can slide under the seat in front of you.

Before you buy those potentially pricey round-trip tickets with the on-board pet surcharge (generally $100-150), check with your breeder to make sure your pup is still tiny enough to qualify as the most adorable carry-on ever.

You should also talk with your breeder about where you’ll meet once you get into town. Some breeders are happy to meet you at the airport to save you a potentially long drive, while others prefer you to come by their homes. Your decision will also help determine how much the trip costs you; in some cases, you may need to get a hotel room, which costs a bit extra but will make for a fun first night with your puppy.

2. Delivery

Flying or driving to pick up your puppy in person isn’t always feasible. The good news is that you’re not alone, and many of our breeders offer options to help bring your puppy to you safely and comfortably.

Flight nanny A flight nanny steps in to fly with your puppy if you can’t do it yourself. The flight nanny takes care of the pup during the flight, sitting with it in the cabin area, to ensure the dog’s comfort and safety. Sometimes breeders themselves serve as the flight nanny, while other breeders send along a friend or family member to play doggy chaperone.

As you’d expect, this service comes with an extra price tag. Along with the cost of round-trip airfare and the on-board pet fee, a flight nanny will likely want to be compensated for their time, especially on longer trips.

Pet air cargo If a flight nanny isn’t doable, there are still other options for air travel. Several major domestic airlines will fly your puppy in a pet safe air cargo area. Thanks to decades of experience, these airlines are experts at keeping your pups comfortable and secure. There is a special area at the bottom of the plane for animals that is both pressurized and temperature-controlled, making it perfectly safe for flying.

In fact, your puppy will have some room to roam in a large hard crate that has extra food and water, which is more than we can say for most human plane passengers. Work with your breeder to make sure you follow the airline’s kennel requirements, so that your puppy doesn’t get turned away from traveling.

It’s important to note that some breeds are not allowed to fly in pet air cargo, out of an abundance of caution. These breeds are generally the brachycephalic (or short, snub-nosed) dogs like French Bulldogs and strong-jawed dog breeds like Chow Chows or Mastiffs.

Your puppy’s flight will have tracking information so you can watch their progress as they fly through the sky and make sure you time your arrival just right. Generally speaking, when you get to the airport, you’ll head over the baggage claim, where you’ll find a cargo pick-up desk. Remember to bring a valid ID that matches paperwork provided by the breeder so there are no delays in your meeting your new best friend.

Some breeders are careful to only book direct flights for their puppies, because hey, not even dogs like layovers. But depending on where you live and where the puppy is coming from, a connecting flight might be necessary. That shouldn’t pose a problem, as these airlines have systems in place to help your puppy move from one plane to another, with a much-deserved break in a temperature-controlled room, so they’re never sitting in a plane or exposed to the elements. Some airlines will only do one connection, though, a limitation that’s in the pup’s best interest.

All told, this service can run between $200-500, but the professional care and peace of mind is worth every penny.

Delivery by car

Meeting your pup via ground transportation is less common than other methods, given the fact that breeders are often all over the country and long drives are not easy on young dogs. Usually, the faster you can get your puppy home the better. But if a breeder is nearby, they may opt to deliver your puppy themselves via a car or van.

Some breeders ask to be compensated for the trip, but a safe and comfortable ride with an expert is well worth it.