I think it’s safe to say that most of us are not rich, and we all appreciate a good deal. Why not? Blowing money unnecessarily is just a waste, and most of us enjoy finding a bargain even if we can afford to spend more. When shopping for cars, electronics, furniture or even a pet, frugal living is the way of the wise these days. So, why the big deal about shopping around when looking for a puppy? The price that you pay for a healthy well-bred puppy is minimal compared to the cost of raising, owning and veterinarian costs for the life of a dog that’s ill-bred and sickly.
“The bitterness of a poor-quality dog will linger long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten.”
Ever heard the saying, “You get what you pay for”? Yeah, well, the pet dog industry is one place you won’t find a better example of the prudence of that advice. Quality in the breeding world can range anywhere from absolute crap to jaw-dropping fantastic – and everywhere in between. And although it may not always be this way, in most cases you’re going to get exactly what you pay for.
Quality has never been cheap and buying a quality puppy definitely is not! You are going to have to expect to pay more than just a few hundred dollars to buy from a responsible breeder. It is important to remember though that just because you are paying a large price for a puppy it does not mean it is quality. There are several factors that go into the price of buying a puppy from a good breeder. The ever increasing price of top notch veterinary care is one of the main reasons, many breeders spend thousands upon thousands each year at the vets. Not to mention the money that goes into a breeders breeding stock, high quality diets, pre-natal exams, pregnancy x-rays, supplements, emergency veterinary care, c-sections, assisted whelpings when complications arise, vaccinations for adults and the puppies, health testing, routine blood-work, dental cleanings, veterinary exams/health checks for each puppy at least twice, sometimes 3 times! If you can imagine this is just the short list of costs, but it gives you an idea!
I personally spare no expense for our yorkies! Add to that that a responsible breeder rarely breeds a female more than twice a year and due to the fact that Yorkie’s have such small litters usually only 2 if your lucky 3 puppies. Now divide all those expenses by the number of puppies and even at $1,800 most Responsible breeders are lucky if they even break even. (Responsible breeders of any breed are lucky to break even) Also, personally yorkies are hard to breed due to their small size. Often requiring C-sections and vet assistance.
Because well bred dogs are expensive to breed. Even poorly bred toy dogs are not cheap to breed. The dam often needs a c-section for the birth that can cost $1,000 or more. Plus there is care for the dam during pregnancy and after birth. If they do it right there is health/genetic testing before breeding. The average litter can cost $2,500+ or so to breed by the time all is said and done. If there is only 1 or 2 pups in the litter as is often the case with toy dogs even at $1,000 the breeder is often taking a big loss. Any purebred dog is going to be expensive. When you purchase a dog through a reputable breeder, you have to remember that the breeder has already spent a good amount of money on veterinary care for the mother and the pups, and that is reflected in the price of the puppy. Pre-breeding health checks for both parents, stud fees, prenatal care, initial vet visits, shots, wormings, food, and all the other things that the breeder takes care of long before you ever get to bring your puppy home–these things cost a lot of money.
It has been said that exceptional quality is not expensive, It’s PRICELESS!
So What is a breeder’s time worth?
It is estimated that the average breeder spends 120 hours per month caring for their dogs and pups. This 120 hours cannot be scheduled around other obligations; other obligations must be scheduled around your puppies. The small size of Yorkie puppies make them extremely susceptible to hypoglycemia and instant death during the first three months of life if they are not cared for properly. So, having a litter of puppies for any breeder pretty much takes a considerable chunk of time and independence from your life. A good breeder will carefully screen and interview all potential buyers to ensure that their puppies get placed in only the best homes. They will also offer support to the puppy’s new family to make sure that they are properly prepared to care for the puppy, and they will stay available to help out any purchasers in need, even if it means accepting the puppy back into their home if problems arise. Look at it as an investment in your emotional health you couldn’t get any mental health professional to treat you daily for the next 15 years for $1800-$2500.
My hope is that people who are willing to pay for one of my puppies will provide a very good home. That they have thought long and hard, researched and read about Yorkies and other dogs before deciding on a Yorkshire Terrier and the puppy they purchase will be worth every single penny. Not just anyone can walk up, pick up a Yorkie and take it home. They are high maintenance, fragile, tender and the best emotional investment for the right family which is priceless!
Good puppies start long before their parents are bred. Both the sire and dam need constant care, or conditioning, to produce the best offspring. This means regular veterinary care, screening for genetic problems, pre-breeding health tests, regular exercise and good nutrition.
It also means maintaining your dog’s mental health. Stressed animals can experience fertility problems. Many breeders swear by the belief that the dam’s temperament affects the puppies – good puppies come from good mothers. Consequently, they avoid breeding shy or unstable dogs.
I personally feel NO BREEDER SHOULD EVER have to explain or justify their prices. Quality dogs are expensive to buy, expensive to maintain, and expensive to breed. Much goes into breeding of dogs and the price a breeder is asking for their puppies is up to their discretion. Whether it’s $500 or $2500 every breeder knows what they’ve invested into their dogs, how much they’ve paid, and the quality they are producing, registration, and their actual litter expenses. When looking at purchasing a puppy you can’t just consider the cost of the puppy but a breeders overall expenses to just obtain that litter.
Exceptional Quality Is Not Expensive, It’s Priceless!
“There is only one Happiness in Life, To Love and Be Loved. ” A TRUE BREEDER is not in it for financial gain, puts their WHOLE HEART into and risking it being hurt….but at the same time…could not see their life without it all, the good, the bad, and the beautiful… IT IS WORTH EVERY MINUTE OF IT! A Breeder will be challenged…A TRUE BREEDER will overcome… “The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief. But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared the pain of never risking love.”
Here is another article on the same subject for those who are interested:
This article has been re-printed with thanks from HeartDreams Quality Papillions. Their website can be found at: http://www.heartdreams.com
The price of QUALITY purebred dogs is a bit high these days. Many people want to know why.
For the reputable breeders who care about the breed they are breeding and are working hard to provide quality dogs, both physically and mentally, that will be an asset to the breed, there is a LOT that the breeder puts into their program before a puppy is even born!! The puppy costs themselves are minimal, unless a c-section was needed (add $600 to $1500 for that).
Showing to Strive for Quality I believe showing dogs is important for the very reason the shows were invented in the first place: to find the best possible specimens for breeding. I show my dogs to make sure I know what the top dogs are, what their qualities are, and to strive to meet or exceed those standards. There are fads that come and go in the show ring and I am not talking about that, and I am very against breeding to dogs that win ONLY because they win. A good breeding program still must have the knowledge of correct canine structure and locomotion (movement), what correct “type” is for that breed, a thorough understanding of the breed standard for that breed, etc. However, I feel it is very hard to breed outstanding dogs of a certain breed without measuring your dogs against others — it is simply too easy to become isolated and out of touch with what is important for that breed.
But I Only Want Pet Quality Pet quality puppies from “show lines” are usually a better cut above ones who aren’t simply because they are bred with the goal in mind of creating the highest quality possible. Breeders who only breed “for pets” have their goals set much lower.
Costs of a Good Breeding Program Here are some of the things that go into creating and maintaining a breeding program of lovely dogs that are great representatives of their breed, are healthy and have good temperaments:
Go to shows, meet breeders, show commitment to breed (join clubs, attend meetings, read books and articles) COST: $200 to $500 per year plus many days and hours! Purchase show quality dog to show (NOTE: the above step must be done first or it is very hard to acquire a show dog of any worth!!) COST: $1500 to $2500
Maintain dog (food, vet bills, de-worming, etc.). COST: about $500 per year per dog
Show dog to Championship to prove its worthiness and value to the breed. COST: on the conservative side, about $1800 (this is ridiculously conservative as only gas money, entry fees and grooming products were included and not lodging!)
Assuming success thus far, purchase another show dog of opposite sex whose pedigree and physical characteristics (genotype and phenotype) will compliment your first one. If not successful, start over anyway! COST: add up totals above once if first one worked out, twice if not.
When above has been repeated (and paid out) enough to have acquired and shown two lovely dogs, one male and one female, who compliment each other, you can now prepare to breed them by doing the necessary genetic screening tests for that breed. In Papillons that’s eyes, knees, and heart. Permanent identification is required previous to the tests. So for Microchip, CERF, Patella and Cardiology screening and certification PER dog, COST: currently about $147.50 per dog if you save money at screening clinics.
IF ANY DOG DOESN’T PASS ALL THE TESTS, STOP, and START ALL OVER!!!
If your male and female pass the genetic screening to make sure no awful stuff will be passed to the puppies, perform a Brucellosis test on at least the female. COST: $60
If no one has scary diseases, you may breed them. Now we have Ultrasound and Xray exams for the hopefully pregnant female. COST: $120 to $300
IF YOU CANNOT GET FEMALE PREGNANT, STOP, and START ALL OVER with new female, male, or BOTH!!
If you are Blessed with a litter of 2 to 4 puppies (average for Papillons), you will now need to feed them when they start eating mama’s food, give them at least 3 sets of shots and de-worm them. You also may need dewclaws removed. COST: $30 or so as a low estimate PER puppy.
HeartDreams puppies also get microchipped, spayed or neutered, and their rabies shots. COST: $275 PER PUPPY
IF A C-SECTION WAS NEEDED, add $600 to $1500 to litter cost.
TOTALS WITHOUT a C-section, a conservative estimate assuming only 2 show dogs were purchased and turned out (HIGHLY UNLIKELY), a litter of 3 puppies costs the breeder: $8,340.00 (with spay/neuter, microchip and Rabies).
THIS IS $2,780 PER PUPPY!!
To be quite honest, HeartDreams and most breeders have actually paid a LOT more (most of us would much rather NOT look at the actual figures!). The cost of the hotels or RV were not added to the show costs, several dogs purchased did not turn out good enough quality to breed, etc.
And so now you know, Why the Prices are So High :-).