Puppies for sale! When is the best time to buy a puppy in Australia, UK & America? - 15

In Australia as well as many developed countries, “puppies for sale” and “dogs for sale” search phrases are some of the leading dog associated internet searches by sheer monthly volume that you will find.

The obvious reason is that both dogs and puppies are very popular pets and people want to work out what breed and temperament are best for their family.

In this article we assume that puppies are born all year round, so the best time to buy puppies might be when there is least demand for them, so you have more choice. While this appears simplistic, there is a definite seasonal online ‘puppies for sale’ search trend of peaks and troughs in Australia. You may well be advised to look for puppies in the ‘off season’ or when the least amount of people are searching, which you can skip ahead and read about in the conclusion, or you can just enjoy the ride of reading about how people search for puppies, globally.

In Australia in Feb 2011 ‘puppies for sale’ had 14.800 monthly searches while ‘dogs for sale’ managed only 9,900 searches. A previous article looked at what seasonal trends searches for the generic ‘dogs’ search term in Google had. It showed that there were distinct trends in each of the major countries analysed. This caused me to wonder if searches for such things as ‘puppies for sale’ would have the same seasonal trend as the generic ‘dogs’ term or if people would have a different set of criteria for when they looked to buy puppies as opposed to finding out general information about dogs.

It seems that the only way to really settle the question was to perform similar analysis on Google data as was previously performed for the dogs market.


The graphs below show the ‘puppies for sale’ online search trend, then the ‘dogs’ search trend in Australia, 2006 to 2010.

These graphs are constructed by using Google data for the last five years and compare all the months to the January growth rate.  Here are some interesting points that you will find between the two graphs.

The ‘puppies for sale’ data for 2009 had an extremely high growth. This suggest potentially a Google data anomaly so the year was removed from the data so that it did not unduly influence the average growth rate (thick black line).

Both ‘puppies for sale’ and ‘dogs’ graphs have exactly the same vertical axis limits, which shows that the ‘puppies for sale’ graph has a much more volatile growth rate.

Both graphs have the same overall annual growth rate (December value) and it is near unity (no growth). It must be stressed that the Google growth data compares each term to the whole of its search terms growth rates, which means that a growth of unity just means that each term such as ‘puppies for sale’ is growing as fast as the rest of the market in general, which is expected for a mature market term.

Both graphs have very similar monthly peaks and troughs throughout the year. The puppies for sale graph for instance has peaks at the start and end of the year (Jan and Dec) as well as in April, July (largest) and a smaller peak in September. This is EXACTLY the same pattern as for the generic ‘dogs’ search term. The answer to when it is ‘best’ to buy puppies, is most likely in the lowest demand months.

Australia puppies for sale trends Australia dogs Google trends


For ease of comparison, the America data for puppies for sale, and dogs is also graphed on the same axis values.

Again it can be easily seen that the ‘puppies for sale’ search volumes are much more volatile than the dogs search growth rate, for 2006 to 2010.

While both graphs have their peaks and troughs in similar months, the July peak in both graphs is the largest growth rate, except for December.  The most remarkable thing about these graphs, in comparison to all other countries analysed here, is that the American ‘puppies for sale’ market does not end the year in unity, on average over the last five years the puppies term has had a 20% annual growth on top of the growth rate of all Google terms. The drop in interest in 2010 may be the ongoing financial crisis in America is continuing to drop demand for disposable income purchases such as puppies.

While in Australia dog ownership has been in decline over the last few years, America’s increase in searches for the term ‘puppies for sale’ suggests that the future dog ownership rates in America may be on the increase.

America puppies for sale Google trends america dogs google trends


The reason that the Canadian ‘puppies for sale’ term is analysed is that this country is one of the top five countries in the world for the growth of the whole dog associated online market. Its whole dog market ‘searches per capita’ rating is very similar to America’s, which you might expect with its close proximity and similar economic wealth.

The puppies for sale graph looks similar to that of America’s graph, both having a pronounced mid-year peaks in July and a trough following that in September/ October. However the big difference is that Canada’s yearly trends are not as stable as America’s AND the end of year five year average growth rate (compared to the whole Google market) is only up 8%. You will see from the vast spread of December values for Canada that this average is not very indicative of any particular year, so quoting an average value over the five years is not such a reliable measure for Canada.

Canada puppies for sale trends Canada dogs Google trends


The UK is the global leading dog associated search country per capita. While America has a higher dog ownership in the real world, the UK has a much higher monthly search rate.

For the puppies for sale graph, the 2009 UK data showed unrealistically high growth so this was excluded from the graph and the average. The 2007 data also shows growth considerably higher than the average, but not as much as 2009, so it was left in.

The UK follows a similar trend for the comparison of puppies for sale with the DOGS term. The puppies data is much more volatile for each year than the DOGS term.

Both graphs have a similar peak around August with a trough on either side.

While the puppies for sale average growth rate appears to be near unity, the ‘dogs’ growth rate was shown to be minus ten percent over the last five years. This shows that the UK annual growth rate for dogs and puppies is the lowest of all the countries analysed.

UK puppies for sale trends UK dogs google trends


With the similar growth trend between ‘puppies for sale’ and ‘dogs’ for each country, and also between countries, you might consider that potentially any ‘bumps’ in the data are caused by shifts in the growth of the entire market. After all, the data points are directly in comparison to the whole search market. So how can you be sure that any peaks are a direct relation to actual peaks in people’s searches for puppies for sale, and not underlying peaks of the market?

Not surprisingly, Google does not provide trend data for all of its searches combined. However you can begin to an understand if the data is ‘corrupted’ by all market growth trends by comparing the puppies for sale data with other large mature market trends. In this case I have chosen the Australian trends for ‘food’ and ‘water’ over the last five years. While these terms are expected to have some seasonality in their data, what we are looking for is different, or individual growth signatures of these terms compared to each other, and in particular when compared to ‘puppies for sale’.

The graph below shows the five year averages for ‘puppies for sale’, ‘food’ and ‘water’ in Australia and shows that while there is a little correlation between food and water peaks and troughs. The puppies for sale data is almost the inverse of these two staples search growth rates. This suggests that on this limited comparison, that the ‘puppies for sale’ data’s peaks and troughs are likely to be actual peaks and troughs in the absolute search term data for ‘puppies for sale’, and are not caused by the total search market fluctuations.

australia puppy food water trend


Real world dog ownership rates give you an indication what is happening now, although many times the data collection methods are unreliable and the data is often a year or so old.

Using current Google data trends for searches on ‘dogs’ and ‘puppies for sale’ gives us a good indication of where the future dog ownership values may be – whether that be an increase or decline.

This article suggests that the decline in Australia’s dog ownership rates is also reflected in the low puppies for sale growth rate. The most curious things about the Australia puppies for sale data is the three pronounced, repeatable, mid-year peaks of April, July and September. And that these correlate very strongly between the two graphs (dogs and puppies). Along with a big increase in search interest in summer/ Christmas time, there seems to be a very regular seasonal pattern to when people search for puppies on the internet.

America has the highest and one of the most repeatable annual growth rates for ‘puppies for sale’ on the internet of all countries, running at about 20% per annum. While the ‘dogs’ searches are almost completely flat except for a small rise in July, the puppies for sale trend has a much larger peak in July and a very high ramp up from October through to December period. This is a clear indication that puppy Christmas presents are being used to refresh the already high stock of dogs.

The UK and Canada has a much more volatile puppies for sale trend over the last five years with a lack lustre unity average growth rate over the last five years.

So in answer to the question, when is the best time to buy puppies? The easy answer is all of the time. The more precise answer might be when other people are not looking, which in Australia is the lowest online demand months of: March, May, August and October.


Please consider Dog Walkers Melbourne (0402 262 875) for all your professional dog walker and pet sitting needs.

Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link to http://www.dogwalkersmelbourne.com.au


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