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How We Imported our Puppy

Updated: May 9, 2021

“Megaville's Stop the Guns”

(official name of puppy)

( Sire: Bulroarus Bobby Dazzler * Dam: Ch. Briden Chit Chat at Megaville)

Magnus – The Bull Terrier Puppy Who Flew Across the Ocean

from the U.K. to the U.S.

These days, distance is not an obstacle, but maybe we should have thought about it a bit more. Let me explain.

Magnus, our little Bull Terrier boy, was 10 weeks old (to be precise, 10 weeks and one day) when he traveled from London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Washington Dulles Airport (IAD).

Of course, we had a super team to support him in making this trip happen, but, boy, at that age! We are so proud of him! He is fearless and ready to conquer the world – proving his name, "Megaville's Stop the Guns" - call name: Magnus - was not an accident.

At 10 weeks, British Airways gave Magnus the OK to fly. We could not thank Anna and Pete Blair (Megaville Bull Terriers) enough for helping us on this journey. They promptly addressed our questions throughout the process, and Anna’s note to the flight’s cargo crew was a hit! After all, who wouldn’t say “hi” to Magnus after reading something like this?

Anna's Note:

We learned a lot from this experience, so we thought we could help others. We found out that each airline has its own rules, so you should contact the airline directly. In fact, you should reach out a few times to confirm the answers. After all, you may not get the correct answer from the first agent. We heard all kinds of comments, like Bull Terriers are not allowed to be transported, Bull Terriers are dangerous to have on the plane, and Bull Terriers are “short” nose dogs. If your conversation moves in this direction, respectfully end up the conversation. Above all, don’t get discouraged. Simply try to call later and ask to talk with someone experienced with the airline’s pet travel regulations.

As you might guess, the transportation price varied considerably! Some cargo companies charge steep prices to arrange the transportation. At the same time, we found that airline rules to transport a dog varied quite a bit as well. Due to the pandemic, airline rules have become much stricter, and some airlines will not transport pets at all. Magnus’s flight took place on March 11, 2021, when we were still dealing with strict COVID-19 regulations. We contacted several airlines flying from London to D.C., and we learned that few were thrilled about transporting a dog.

Originally, we had planned to fly to the U.K. and pick up Magnus in person, but quarantine rules didn’t allow us to fly to Great Britain and then turn around and return to the U.S. quickly. We also found that very few commercial airlines were transporting animals in planes with passengers due to strict COVID regulations.

We finally realized that our only option was to hire a professional pet shipper. Again, after contacting several shipping companies, we found out how much quotes vary. We suggest that you pay attention to what is included in your price. Be sure to ask the shipper how the pickup will be handled – whether the breeder will bring your pet to the airport or if the shipper will pick up the puppy from the breeder. Also, find out if the flight is direct . If not, will the puppy have to stay in an overnight pet hotel? Do not believe even for a second that the puppy has to stay in the pet hotel – it is simply a matter of convenience. Of course, you’ll have to reach an agreement on all these details, so do your research.

If you’re planning to transport a pet internationally, the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) is a good point to start.

In the end, we entrusted Magnus to James Cargo Services, Ltd., and we had an amazing experience. Below are the documents and items required by the cargo service and the airline:

James Cargo Services

· Health certificate for Magnus that stated he was fit to fly

This health certificate cannot be older than 10 days. Anna arranged an appointment with a veterinary office 24 hours before flight to ensure that our big boy was healthy and ready for his big day. Our thanks to Prime Veterinary Practice for issuing this certificate and making sure this little champion was OK to fly.

· Microchip

· Crate dimensions

The cargo service company provided a transportation crate based on Magnus’s measurements. Obviously, measuring a puppy is like shooting on moving target – puppies grow fast! We ended up with a crate size of 81 cm x 57 cm x 62 cm, which provided more than enough space for 10-week-old puppy.

Please note that you don’t want to pick a crate that’s too large because turbulence during the flight can cause your pet to slide around in the extra space; however, you also want enough space so the puppy can move around and comfortably nap during the flight.

· Flight schedule

The cargo service company arranged the pickup and drop-off of Magnus at Heathrow, and we scheduled a flight that took off at 5 pm. This way, Magnus could be picked up the same day without going through the trouble of leaving him in a pet hotel overnight.

British Airlines

· The airline required that Magnus be at least 10 weeks old for the flight

· Health certificates

· First round of vaccinations (Magnus already had his second dose when he traveled.)

· Crate dimensions

· Microchip

Laing International, Inc., Customs Broker

You may also decide to work with a customs broker; however, it is not a must. This service provided us with peace of mind, knowing that the customs duty process was solved while Magnus was in the air. When his flight landed, all we had to do was go to the British Airways cargo area and ask for Magnus. This was a key factor in our decision to hire Laing International, Inc., to take care of the customs duty process. All we had to do was identify ourselves with a driver’s license, present the Delivery Order with Airway Bill, and sign the document confirming we had picked up our champion.

This is what Laing International took care of:

· Entry Fee and Entry Summary for the Department of Homeland Security

· Bonds and insurance

· Customs duties and fees

· APHIS fee

· Import service fee

· Delivery order

· Entry Fee and Entry Summary for the Department of Homeland Security

Required documents for the customs broker:

· Copy of the Air Waybill, which was arranged by our shipping company

· Commercial invoice

You can get a template of a commercial invoice on the internet. We used this link:

· Heath-related documents for Magnus

· Custom power of attorney

By hiring a customs broker, we could focus solely on one thing – our boy. Magnus was an excellent airline passenger. He kept his area nice and clean, just like a perfectly trained older doggie. Again, great job, Anna! Your special note on his crate reminded the cargo crew to perform their duties – his water was clean and fresh and properly filled. Much appreciated!

Another reason we hired a customs broker was related to the flight timing. The Dulles Port of Washington has office hours from 8 am to 5 pm. This meant that the port office would be closed when Magnus’s flight arrived at 8:25 pm. The port office warned us that, without a customs broker, we might have to wait to pick up Magnus until the office opened the next day. He strongly recommended a custom broker as well. We decided to rely on the experience and knowledge of Laing International, Inc., and we could not have asked for better service and guidance throughout the arrival process.

And More Documents and Supporting Material

Even though we had this amazing team, you will still want to do your own homework and contact all needed U.S. bureaus. In our case, this included the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services to obtain written statements for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These statements serve as safeguard in case some questions legal ins and outs of your pet’s international transportation. (click on the following link: Statements)

When we contacted the Port of Washington at Dulles, we were extremely lucky that we had already done our research on transporting Magnus beforehand, because the agent told us during our first phone call that we could not import a Bull Terrier. We were told that the breed was the main concern.

During the second phone call (when we talked with someone else), we were told that there was no way the puppy could travel that young or without a rabies shot. After we provided a statement from the CDC and maintained supreme patience, the same officer helped us and contacted the CDC directly to verify our statement, which quickly cleared up the questions.

We understand that international regulations are changing every day, and not everyone is familiar with the details. That is why we have continually urged you to do your homework and complete all the needed paperwork. Be sure to provide these statements to your shipping company and your customs broker as well. They will appreciate it!

We’ve listed the statements that we took with us when we picked up Magnus at the British Airways cargo office (just in case something went wrong):

· State requirements – for us, this included North Carolina and Virginia

The USDA recommended that we attach statements that provided information on Virginia and North Carolina requirements. In addition to CDC regulations, you must comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and your destination state’s regulations. State regulations are often stricter than federal regulations.

Importing our boy Magnus from the UK to the U.S. was amazing!

To look into the eyes of our champion for the first time was an unforgettable experience.

This trip was a piece of cake for Magnus – when he saw us, all he seemed to want to know was whether we were ready to play. Amazing puppy!

Before we got into the car to go home, we took him for a walk to stretch his wobbly puppy legs and give him a little break. After that, our experienced traveler’s journey continued to his forever home – and he slept like a baby in the car.

We had booked a place to stay overnight, just in case Magnus needed some time to clean up as a result of long flight. However, he was clean and neat, so we drove straight back home. Anna and Pete could not be prouder of this little sweet guy!

The U.S. has just become home to a one-of-a-kind English Bull Terrier boy. His future is bright and promising. Stay tuned! Of course, if you would have any questions don't hesitate to contact us.

We wrote this article for the sole purpose of sharing our experience of transporting our little Bull Terrier boy Magnus from the UK to the United States. As international regulations vary and change, we do not guarantee that this information will apply to your situation. We encourage you to do your research and verify all sources of information before you decide to take on an international puppy adoption.


Lori Burdoo Craig
Lori Burdoo Craig
May 24, 2023

Your article on importing you beautiful dog has helped immensely. We have a pup coming from Sweden and needed every bit of this info. thank you!

Replying to

Thank you very much . It is great to see we were able to help! It can look overwhelming, but at the end to hold the pup in hands is that much nicer ❤️

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