Having the company of a very good boy is one way to ease the pain of social isolation during coronavirus lockdowns. 

Udo Kopernik, chairman of the German Breeders Club, told Aktualne.cz that there has been a massive increase in demand for dogs the past year, especially puppies. 

“We’ve noticed that dog owners tend to be a little happier than the average person during this time.”

But Kopernik worries that many people are just looking for a boredom killer during the lockdown and won’t be able to commit to it long term. He says there’s a real question of “what will happen to all those dogs once the home office is over.” 

The demand for “pandemic-puppies” isn’t unique to the Czech Republic. After almost a year of coronavirus in the UK and the US, puppies and dogs are being returned to breeders and shelters as their former owners realise that they have to go back to work soon or couldn’t actually handle dog-parenthood in the first place.

Additionally, the rising demand for dogs overwhelmed traditional breeders and flowed into the black market of dogs. Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic have become hubs for illegal puppy breeders who supply dogs to Germany and other countries to the west. These dogs tend to be much cheaper but end up having expensive diseases or health issues later on in life.

Experts in the breeding industry say that people hoping for a canine companion should consider if they can seriously handle one with or without a home office, and to avoid the black market of dog breeding. Signs of illegal dog breeders are suspiciously low prices, duplicate advertisements, sketchy contact information, and when they prefer to deliver the dog to you rather than have you visit the dog’s home.