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Have you found a puppy that you simply can’t live without? If the breeder is within driving distance, then you’re quite lucky. Unfortunately, breeders can often be hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away, and the logistics of getting your newest addition from point A to point B can be quite overwhelming.

Shipping Directly Through Your Breeder

Most breeders have a tried and true method for getting puppies to their new homes—usually a direct flight from their airport to yours.  After payment has been made for your new puppy (or sometimes a down payment will suffice), breeders begin to coordinate the logistics of getting your new puppy home to you. Be sure to start communicating with breeders early; some airlines won’t allow dogs to fly until 8 (or even 12) weeks of age, but you may want to start planning well before this point to ensure that everything is prepared in time.

Since shipping charges with airlines are constantly changing, most breeders choose to charge a flat rate to owners. Let’s say a breeder charges $350: this will cover the airline shipping crate ($55), a health certificate ($50), and airline shipping charge, which can range from $200-$300 depending on the airline, destination, and the size and type of crate. Some breeders will even offer pressurized pet carriers that are temperature controlled so your new pet will be as comfortable as possible. Be sure to check that your breeder only ships puppies on direct flights, as layovers only add stress to your dog.

Coordinating shipping directly through your breeder is probably the best and most convenient option for owners who are looking to get their new puppy safely, quickly, and with minimum hassle. The ins and outs of airline shipping are complicated, and having someone else take care of the details will allow you to relax and just focus on your new pooch. If price is an issue, however, paying a flat rate to the breeder may not be the most cost-effective option.

DIY Shipping

Keep in mind that not all breeders offer shipping as a part of their available services, especially now that breeders must be USDA certified in order to ship dogs directly. If this is the case and you choose to arrange to ship with an airline yourself, be prepared to do your homework!

The first step is to check with the breeder. Puppies need to be a certain age before being allowed to fly, and a health certificate must be issued no more than 10 days before the flight. The certificate needs to come from a licensed veterinarian and certify that the puppy is in good health and thus able to make the trip, and also that the puppy is up to date on all required vaccines. These vaccine requirements can change depending on the airline and even the age of the dog, but rabies is almost always on the list.
After communicating with the breeder, check with the airline—especially before you make any airline pet carrier purchases to ensure that it is the correct size and type. And don’t forget about providing food and water in the crate. Also, be sure to think about things like the weather: extreme temperatures can be hazardous to your dog when flying in the cargo area (although most airlines have guidelines that prevent shipping of live animals in extreme weather).

Land or Air?

yorkie shipping options

If your breeder does not provide shipping, or if you prefer to arrange the logistics yourself, the first question to decide is whether to ship via land or air. As discussed above, shipping on an airline can produce myriad problems that some would rather avoid. If you decide to transport by driving, check to see if the breeder is willing to meet at a halfway point. Some even provide transportation with costs based on mileage. This option, though perhaps more expensive and probably more time-consuming, is likely to be less stressful for the dog.

Hire a Pet Transport Company

Another option is to hire a third party to coordinate everything you will need to get your new pup from the breeder to your front door: arranging the health certificate, organizing ground transportation or booking flight arrangements, supplying travel crates and boarding, providing proper labeling and identification, all while maintaining state and federal regulations. While these services can be expensive, they focus on the safety and comfort of the animal, and most are experienced with this type of transporting. Be sure to do your homework to ensure that the company you are hiring is experienced and reputable.

Other Options

If you like the idea and convenience of flying your new dog home but would rather not deal with shipping (or if you are uncomfortable with the idea of your dog flying in the cargo area), consider flying to the breeder yourself and bringing your new pup back with you as your carry-on. This may be the most ideal option so you can get to know your new dog as soon as possible. Most puppies (especially Yorkies!) will easily fit in airline-approved dog carriers that slide under the seat in front of you. If you decide to go with this option, you will need to book a “seat” for your dog, so call the airline well in advance to make sure you have covered all the bases. There are some things to consider, so be sure to read more about flying with Yorkie.

If you are unable to travel, however, you may want to consider hiring an escort who will take your new puppy to the cabin on the plane. While this option will undoubtedly be more expensive than the cargo shipping method (since you will be paying for two tickets), your new pet will likely be less stressed, and you will have the peace of mind that they are being supervised the entire flight.

No matter which option you choose to go with, speak with the breeder and your veterinarian to make sure that the option you select is best for your new dog.