How to Give a Puppy as a Present

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: May 18, 2022
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You can already picture the look on your daughters face when she opens the box to be greeted by a squirmy Goldendoodle puppy. Maybe your Grandma is ready for a furry companion and you know she would love a little Yorkie to keep her company. Giving a puppy as a present can be an exciting and rewarding event, but be sure to follow a few simple guidelines to make sure it is the right choice for everyone. Read on to find out how to give a puppy as a present.

Get Permission First

how much does a dog cost

If you want to give a puppy as a present, be sure to get permission first.


If you want to give a puppy as a present be sure to get permission first. Taking care of a dog is a big commitment and the life span of a dog is anywhere from 8-15 years. Be sure the receiver or the receiver’s parents are committed to the long term care of a dog. This not only includes the costs associated with taking care of a pet, but also the time commitment based on the breed. A big dog is going to need a lot of daily exercise and little dogs need to be let our more frequently. Is there going to be someone home to care for the puppy during the puppy stage? What about during the day when the puppy is older. Be sure to consider the long term effects of raising a puppy.

Choose the Right Breed

dog food for large breed puppies

Choose a breed carefully. Think about the long term care of each breed. Saint Bernards can get to be 140-180 pounds!


You may already know the breed of dog the person wants, but double check that they are aware of the pros and cons of their chosen breed. Big dogs like a Saint Bernard will cost more over time because of the enormous dog food bill! They also typically have a shorter lifespan. Saint Bernards have a lifespan of 8-10 years. Smaller dogs like a Chihuahua will have a longer life span, but some breeds are harder to train. Some questions to ask before choosing a breed are:

Chihuahua (Canis familiaris) - chihuahua puppies

Chihuahuas usually only get to be 6 pounds but can live for 14-16 years.

©Natalia Fedosova/

  1. What experience do you have taking care of a dog?
  2. How much time do you want to spend training your dog?
  3. Where do you live, do you have a large yard, access to a dog park, apartment?
  4. Are there young children in the home, under 10 years of age?
  5. How do you feel about the barking level of your dog?

You will also want to look at the personality of the breed, life span, and care requirements like grooming.

Decide Between a Breeder and a Shelter

When trying to decide if you should get a puppy from a breeder or a shelter there are a few things to consider. Do your research and find out if some of the ideas you think about either are really true. For example, some people believe that all shelter dogs are mutts (a mix of unknown breeds) but that is not the case. The Humane Society estimates that 25% of the dogs they get are purebreds, but this could be closer to 5% so do your research. Some groups specialize in rescuing specific breeds so look into that if you are interested. It’s also helpful to know that mutts are less likely than purebreds to develop genetic disorders and health conditions, since they receive genes from different breeds and benefit from genetic variety.

The Pros and Cons of Getting a Puppy from a Shelter

Pros of getting a puppy from a ShelterCons of getting a puppy from a shelter
1. Saving a life of a dog or puppy and opening up a spot for another in the shelter1. You may not know what breed the puppy is, may be uncertain how big it will end up
2. Costs a lot less, costs $150 on average to adopt2. Uncertain temperament, if not treated well could have behavior issues
3. Could get an older puppy that is already trained3. Unknown health risks, but many times mutts have less health issues than purebreds

The Pros and Cons of Getting a Puppy from a Breeder

Pros of getting a puppy from a BreederCons of getting a puppy from a breeder
1. Be certain of the breed, if you want to eventually show the dog this is necessary1. Costs a lot more, new puppies can be $400-$2000
2. Breeders often breed dogs with easy temperaments, may be easier to train2. There are already puppies that need homes that are in shelters
3. Can choose the timing and gender of the puppy you really want, more predictable3. Purebred dogs can have more health issues

Is Timing a Factor?

Cute Lhasa Apso puppy at Christmas.

If you know you want to give a puppy as a present for a specific event, you need to plan ahead.

©Ruth Black/

If you are planning around a birthday, Mother’s day or holiday like Christmas, then you will want to start your search early. Often breeders will start advertising “Christmas Puppies” early and you may need to reserve one even before the litter is born. For a late December present you would be looking at puppies being born in mid to late October. The best age to adopt a puppy is when they are 8-10 weeks old.

For a shelter puppy you can start looking around a little closer to the date. If you find the perfect match you could see if you can put a hold on the dog until the specific date or offer to foster the dog until you are ready to give the present. It is best to not put the dog through too many transitions though, so finding the right dog closest to the date is the best. Making arrangements to have flexible dates is even better.

How to Give a Puppy as a Present: How do you “Wrap” a Puppy?

Boxador Puppy Falling asleep on blue Christmas wrapping paper

Be ready to see the look on the face of your loved one when they see the puppy for the first time!


When the day comes to actually present your gift of a puppy, try to control your excitement! Two fun ways to give a puppy include wrapping a box with air holes in it and putting a large bow on top. A box with a cover that slides off is easiest. Wait until the last possible moment before putting the puppy in the box and be sure there are air holes in the side. A second fun way to present the puppy is to tie a big bow around the puppy’s neck and allow it to make an entrance. Either way, the look on your daughter’s face or Grandma’s will be priceless! Have a friend videotape it so you can enjoy it “live”.

Consider Other Options

Golden Retriever puppy chewing on a toy

You can give a gift certificate for a puppy so your loved one can pick out the puppy they want. Include a few dog toys as well!


If you know the person really wants a puppy but may want to pick it out themselves, you can give a gift certificate to an animal shelter. You could also offer to pay the fees to adopt from a breeder, but in a clever way by giving a basket of dog toys and a stuffed puppy. Giving a box filled with new puppy toys, leashes, and supplies is a fun way to deliver the gift as well. Ask if you can go along when the person meets the puppy for the first time, to really enjoy that “Wow” moment.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Blanscape/

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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