How do we get this puppy from Canada when we are in the states?

Long story short, we are finally in line to get a puppy from the same lines our last shepherd came from. We honestly didn’t think it would happen. I’m still not holding my breath, but that’s another story. My husband and I figured we should be prepared if it does happen because this won’t be as simple as “drive to breeder and pick up dog.”

I am in Vermont. The puppy is about 2 hours north of the Canadian border in Quebec. There is no travel between countries right now except for essential travel. Picking up a puppy does not count as essential travel and in speaking to someone who works for CBP he isn’t sure they’d even let us meet at the border and do the exchange.

I believe commercial shippers are still allowed back and forth, so SO and I are trying to figure out if this is a possible route. I have never used a commercial shipper for anything, so this is entirely new territory. I assume there are professional animal haulers for small animals in addition to large, but I have no idea where to start. Puppy wouldn’t be ready until end of March or so, so there is a small chance the border will have opened by then. With the COVID stats in the US, however, I think probably not…

Anyone with experience in this realm? Or resources I could investigate?

I have read that many of the commercial horse shippers will take a dog in a crate. Maybe he could hitch a ride with one of the big commercial carriers and you could meet them just across the border for the hand off.
I would guess with a puppy the crate would go in the sleeper cab of the truck not the horse compartment of the trailer.

Check this first;

Pets are still being routinely shipped. The trick is finding a good company but if you can find one, they can walk you through the process and ship the puppy efficiently.

Just a word of warning, though - some companies are better than others and a bad shipping company can cause all sorts of headaches.

What about checking with airlines to see if you can ‘ship’ a crated dog as ‘freight’ on a passenger plane.

I got one of my dogs, albeit many years ago, from Edmonton as cargo on passenger planes (he had to change planes in Salt Lake City).

I knew what flights he was on and could call and have a fit when the airline told me he wouldn’t be on the connecting flight until I chewed them out that this wasn’t ‘cargo’ it was an animal and yup, he was on the connecting flight as scheduled :slight_smile:

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I think if you plan on flying the pup they have to have their first rabies vax, not sure about driving? Which would mean the pup would have to be at least 12 weeks old.

This is West Jets info.

I would definitely look into the commercial equine shippers. Lots of them will be going back and forth in March/April bringing horses back from Florida.

A fair number of commercial truck drivers and horse haulers are doing this now in the maritimes/Ont/Maine region. I would advertise on any local hauling facebook groups, and your local kennel club to see if they know of anyone going the direction you need your puppy to go, I’d ask the breeder to do the same in her side as well. Good luck.

I think flying the puppy would be both overkill and unnecessarily stressful to the animal given it’s literally a 2 hour drive from the breeder to the border. And yes, to fly the pup needs a rabies vaccine (at least that is my understanding) but at 8 weeks old they won’t be ready for that yet.

I haven’t found anything in any of my research that says the US/VT requires anything more than a health certificate for entry for a dog this young.

So yes, it appears that finding a good hauler is going to be the challenge. I’ve joined a couple FB groups for livestock haulers and posted in another New England FB page so I’ll see what I dig up.


Chiming in that I think finding a horse hauler is probably going to be your best bet. Especially with a puppy, they would be able to have it in a small crate up in the cab with them so I highly doubt they would charge much - especially if the breeder is wiling to meet them along their route for hand off.

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Your breeder should call their local Canadian Food Inspection Agency office and ask about requirements to export a puppy. The inspector may be able to refer them to a vet who is accredited to certify animals for export. That vet may have some reputable shippers. Despite the name, CFIA is the federal regulator of pet trade for Canada.


There are no requirements to export a dog from Canada to the US. And it wouldn’t be up to the CFIA, it would be the CDC and USDA spelling out any requirements.
The dog just needs to appear healthy. To be safe, whoever is crossing the border with the dog should have documentation of current vaccinations.

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One of the great things about the Canadian government is that you often have to check with many departments to get certification to export or import things. While there are no CFIA requirements to export dogs to the US, there are requirements that the CFIA has to certify for dogs to other countries and other animals to the US. There are vets who regularly fill out the CFIA paperwork for these animals and I’m guessing they probably have some recommendations about which companies to use.

Annnd this has been basically the bane of my research the past week or so. The breeder has basically told me “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”, and I don’t know how much experience he has dealing with dogs going to owners not in Canada.

More of my research is showing there are no specific Canadian requirements for dogs leaving the country to come to reside in the US than the opposite. I have confirmed that the US (and Vermont, specifically) doesn’t have any specific requirements for a dog this young other than a clean bill of health via a health certificate. Not even a Rabies vax, as the dog would be too young to receive one.

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Feel free to PM me. I shipped a pup from Ohio to Canada in December. You will have to hire a commercial shipper and I can give you recommendations. Flights aren’t easy to come by at this time, so I wouldn’t count on that option, plus they have implemented addition hoops to jump thru just to book (you need to be a registered licensed animal shipper to just book a pet flight now). I also have a pup heading to Vermont in 2 months. For import to the US you need to have vaccines that are up to date for the age of the puppy. Over 16 weeks you need rabies. You will also need an international health certificate that is less then 72 hours old at the time of crossing. Not sure if you will need import papers if it is just a pet and not a show or breeding animal.


This is great advice! I wonder if the American Kennel Club or the Canadian Kennel Club can help you too.

Your post is congruent with what I hear from my dog people. Air is iffy, ground transport is the current best option and paperwork will have to be up to date but isn’t particularly onerous.

OP - watch out on selecting ground transportation company. Be very particular

I’ve seen dog shippers on FB before so they are out there. I wouldn’t fly a puppy - unless you can go up there and bring him/her back under the seat of the plane. NO WAY IN HELL WOULD I LET THEM PUT A PUPPY OR OTHER ANIMAL IN THE CARGO AREA – ESPECIALLY IN THIS WEATHER!! I am in AL and bought a GSD puppy from a breeder in N Carolina near the VA border, so I flew up when she was 8 weeks and brought her back under the seat - another week and she would not have fit! It was uneventful, got all the paperwork, an approved crate and caught a one way flight both ways. Good luck and safe travels for your baby! Maybe check with all the authorities about meeting at the border and getting your puppy - that seems the easiest.

The CKC is a joke. They cant even get registration papers out in a timely manner, no way they will help with transport

Lindsey Partridge of Harmony Horsemanship is heading to the US shortly and she is a commercial hauler, maybe she could bring him across for you? Shes on FB and was just posting today.


@Jealoushe - Lindsey and I are acquainted - I believe she is in Ontario. I didn’t see anything on FB recently regarding her coming to the states but I don’t think she’s headed far enough east to be able to pick up the dog.