Why Do Some Puppies Cost More?
Things that factor the cost of a puppy
Health testing of parents—$2000 or more per parent dog
Parental lines (champion or titled Poodles or Goldens. Imported, health tested, known progeny, temperament, working ability, conformation, etc)—Breeding dogs cost more than pet dogs and can be expected to sell for $5,000-$10,000 each. This is due to guarantees for health, bloodlines, etc.
Breeding environment (home breeding vs kennel)—Home-based breeding costs more, and requires more care and daily interaction, but produces healthier puppies with better temperaments.
Post-whelping socialization, training, and enrichment—Whelping can take 12-24 hours of stressful, unscheduled, uninterrupted time. Daily care of a litter can easily take 4-6 hours per day. Well done socialization, training, and enrichment can take 4-6 hours per day, depending on the size of the litter. Factor all of this in for 8-9 weeks, with no days off, somewhere in the range of 200-250 hours per litter, or 84-132 hours per puppy in an average litter. Assuming a very inexpensive professional hourly rate of $20/hr (on the lower end of what a professional dog trainer charges—trainers routinely charge up to $125-150 per hour), you are looking at a care and training cost of $1680-2640 per puppy on top of other hard costs. More if you value a breeder’s time at a higher rate.
Nutrition and feeding. Good food and supplements cost more. There’s a huge difference between feeding Ol’ Roy or Kirklands versus feeding PawTree and quality supplements.
Cost of supporting breeding dogs throughout the non-breeding season.
Lifetime breeder support, microchipping, rehoming, etc.
Adopter education. We spend as much time as we need to help educate puppy parents in the care and training of their dogs to help ensure happy, long relationships with their pups.
Breeder experience. It’s my opinion and experience that an experienced breeder will produce healthier pups and produce better adjusted and trained puppies.
There are times when you get what you pay for, and, assuming you check out your breeder, purchasing a puppy is definitely one of those times. Puppies cannot be well bred on a budget. We have always paid a premium for our dogs and puppies and have purchased them from reputable breeders. The dogs in our breeding program are carefully selected and tested for temperament, health, and other factors and are cared for with the best nutrition, food, and vet care available.
Here is a dollar-by-dollar breakdown of costs by Kent Family Farms: http://www.kentfamilyfarms.com/costs-of-raising-a-litter.html
A smart puppy-parent to be shouldn’t even consider buying a dog at a budget price without knowing there would be a deficiency in several of the factors listed above. A good breeder just can’t afford to breed and sell cheap puppies.