If you want to get an idea of the prices of a specific breed, just click on the links to the left. If you want to know the price ranges of dog breeds check out the information on the right side bar of this dog price page. The purpose of this page is to explain why there is such a variety in the pricing of puppies of the same exact breed.
Here is an article from a Dog magazine.
Dogs come in many different qualities and quality combinations. Most people do not know this and most breeders and pet shops take advantage of this fact.
The most obvious difference is the registration. Just because a puppy is registered does not make it a better quality dog than another one that is not registered, but it does make it worth more money. There are costs involved with registering a puppy and these costs are reflected in the final selling price of the puppy.
There are many registrars out there these days. Some popular registries are AKC (American Kennel Club), APR (American Puppy Registry or APRI), UABR (United All Breed Registry), UKC (United Kennel Club) etc. The most well known is AKC. Just like comparing non registered puppies with registered ones, AKC registered puppies are not necessarily better puppies than other registries. But they do spend the most advertising dollars on name branding, so they are the most recognized.
A pedigree is not the same thing as a registration. It is usually an add-on to the registration. It is a history of the parents and ancestors. It will usually go back four generations in order to prove the heritage of the bloodline.
You can expect to pay at least $100-$150 more for a registered puppy and if it has a pedigree, you can add another $100 to that. AKC Charges more for registration so if the puppy is AKC Registered with Pedigree, you can expect to pay up to $350 more for the puppy.
I know I said that just because a puppy is AKC registered, it does not prove that the puppy is any better quality than one from another registry, but, if the dog was not worth more, the breeder would not want to pony up the dough to get the more expensive AKC registration. Ex: If a puppy is only worth $350 with or without the AKC registration, the breeder is probably not going to spend the extra money, but if the puppy is worth $850.00 he is more likely to recoup the cost of the AKC registration. As a side note, more and more breeders are boycotting AKC because of the high price of the registrations, so it is getting harder and harder to find AKC registered puppies on the market.
In the olden days, if you had one puppy in a litter that was smaller than the rest, nobody wanted him and he was considered "the runt of the litter". You would have to sell him off at a big discount. Nowadays, it seems like everybody wants the runts. This drives the price of the really tiny "teacups" through the roof. The reality is that the smaller the puppy is, the more potential there is for defects and future health problems. The trick is to get two really healthy runts and breed them so that you can get a whole litter of runts and hope they are healthy, at least until they are sold that is. Then give them a fancy new term like teacup, toy, miniature or mini. If you are in the market for a teacup puppy, do not skimp on the price. Get the highest quality you can get and make sure the seller is willing to give you a congenital health guarantee.
The best warrantees will guarantee one year on congenital defects. It sometimes takes even longer to show up but this is as long as anyone is ever willing to guarantee their puppies for, so at least get that long. The better the guarantee and or warrantee, the more the puppy will cost because the seller paid more for it and because occasionally he has to actually take the loss on a warrantee.
One factor that goes into determining the price of a puppy is the quality of the breeder parents that were used and the history of their offspring. Sometimes they have championship bloodlines. This means that either the same parents have produced show winners in past litters and/or the parents are offspring of champions. Be careful with these claims, most of them are fraudulent claims meant to build up the price of the puppy. You know for sure they are lying if the puppy doesn't even come with a pedigree. If there really were champions in the bloodline, the breeder would surely want to document it with a pedigree. Of course if there were champions in the bloodline, you can expect to pay much more for the litter.
Another factor is the amount of time that the breeder spends with the litter. Some breeders think that breeding means opening the cage, throwing in some food and water and locking it back up again. Then plucking away the babies as soon as they are weaned from the mother and selling them off to the brokers or directly to the public in a classified ad Most small breeders are one or two man operations and there is no way they could possibly spend a lot of time with each and every little baby they raise. The very big commercial breeders also cannot spend that sort of time with each and every baby. That's why medium sized professional breeders are probably the best. They hire enough people to care for the animals properly and do not have so many that they cannot give them enough individual attention.
Since we are already on the subject of breeders, it may be a good time to bring up puppy mills. Puppy mills are a subject of another article so I will not spend too much time covering them in this article. There are however, several types of breeders:
· There are small backyard breeders. These are usually not the best breeders to buy from because they do not have a vet on staff and do not have the knowledge, funding or initiative to do things properly because they are not Government regulated. They do not usually sell to the pet shops, since they are not regulated by the USDA. Pet stores have to be careful where they buy from so that they don't come under scrutiny by the animal rights activists or unhappy customers. They usually sell their low quality puppies directly to the public in a classified ad or online for very cheap.
· Hobby Breeders are just doing it as a hobby and not professionally. They may or may not be regulated by the government, but they do not have a vet on staff and they lack the proper funding to give the proper care for the puppies, even if their heart is in the right place. Strangely enough, these are the breeders that the animal rights activists would have you go to. They sometimes try to do more volume then they can handle properly doing it as a hobby, but since the overall volume is not that much, the USDA does not pay a lot of attention to them. The quality of the puppies they sell varies. Some are very good and others are not so good. They don't usually sell to pet stores but this is not because they sell such high quality pets as they would have you believe. It is because they are eliminating the middle man for their own profit. They sell their puppies for more than backyard breeders because they put a little more retail margin on them.
· The Show breeder is a hobby breeder of sorts. They breed to perfect their chosen breed of dogs. When two of their champions are bred together, they keep the ones that have the best qualities and sell off the rest. This is probably the second best place to get a puppy from if you do not have access to a Puppy Specialty Store in your area. The problem is that they tend to be snobby about the quality of the flawed puppies that they are selling. Yes, if they were selling you the best show quality puppy, it would be worth a premium price. Usually if you can find a realistic Show breeder, you can get a good Pet quality puppy for a reasonable price. You will find them at the Dog Shows.
· Then you have commercial breeders. There are two types of commercial breeders: the puppy mill and the professional commercial breeder.
- The Professional Commercial Breeder takes the time and spends the money to do things right. They usually have a vet on staff and take great care of the breeder pairs as well as the babies. They are set up to produce a high volume of puppies and they hire and train professional employees to care for the dogs. They observe proper on and off cycle breeding schedules. The USDA closely regulates these breeders because of the high volume of puppies they produce. They try to focus on quality because if they continually supply problem puppies, they will lose their regular customers and their whole business is dependent upon their regular customers. Of course they charge more for the puppies than puppy mills or other sources a pet store could use. This is why Most Pet Shops usually try to avoid using high quality professional dog breeders. This type of breeder produces the best quality puppies but since they only sell to pet stores and brokers, buying from one of these breeders directly is not possible. The best way to acquire one of these high quality puppies is to go to a local Puppy Specialty Store. This is why puppy specialty stores usually have higher prices than other pet stores or local breeders, but you are actually getting a better quality puppy for your money. If you are not sure whether the puppy store you are dealing with is using high quality professional breeders, the price can be a good indication.
- A puppy mill on the other hand is like a slum lord. They take poor care of all of the animals and don't provide the proper veterinary health care. They usually cut every corner they can. They do not house the puppies properly and have way too many puppies for the amount of people that they have on staff. The dogs there tend to be very sick and unhealthy and have a very poor quality of life. Puppy Mills almost never off cycle the breeder pairs. They breed them one pregnancy right after another until the mother loses her ovaries or worse. Puppy Mills are supposed to be regulated by the USDA but many times they fly underneath the radar by not registering or they set up a false front business with the government while most of their dogs are bred at the actual puppy mill location. This makes it very hard for the government to find them. Because they cut so many corners, they can afford to sell their puppies very, very cheap. This is the preferred venue for pet stores to buy their puppies. Unfortunately the stores feel pressured by their customers to offer the absolute lowest prices. This is because the public does not know many of the things mentioned in this article. If more people were aware, they would understand why they need to spend more for a puppy and in turn, the world would be a better place for dogs. If you are looking at a breed that usually goes for $1200 and you find it at a pet store for $695.00, you can bet it is a puppy mill puppy. Please do not knowingly support the sales of puppy mill puppies. If you do you will most likely be rewarded with a dog that has lifelong health problems.
One more factor that comes into play when determining the price of a puppy is the cost of the food. Some breeders use only the cheapest food available and others use the most expensive and nutritious. Almost all breeders will say they feed only the best diet. Yeah Right! The truth is that even the best breeders don't feed all the animals the highest quality food all of the time. A breeder will get eaten out of house and home if every dog ate that way. Feeding is the breeders' biggest expense other than vet bills and payroll. Here is a tip; the higher quality puppies receive the better, more expensive diet. They are worth more and the breeder will recoup more money for expenses.
Breeder parents especially the mothers, need special high nutrition diets in order to sustain pregnancies and produce milk. Some breeders will cut down the quality of the food when the breeder dogs are off cycle. This is just another way they can afford to sell their offspring cheaper.
The lower priced puppies may have some sort of physical defect such as a hernia or bad knees. This is very common. If a puppy has a hernia, it is easily fixed with a simple surgery requiring just a few stitches. This puppy will still make a fine pet and it will not affect his health in the least, but you should be able to buy this puppy cheaper than others. One thing you should know is that hernias are hereditary and if a puppy in a litter has a hernia and the others do not, the siblings still carry the bad gene. For this reason, all of the offspring past present and future of the parents should only be sold with the stipulation that they should never be bred. Obviously this makes them less desirable to buyers that want to breed, but it should not sway the decision for a new pet owner to buy the baby. The baby with the hernia should be discounted more, but all of siblings should be slightly discounted. Since it should affect the price of all the offspring, it is usually not disclosed to the buyers of the siblings, just the buyer of the one who actually had the hernia.
Additionally, the parents, in a perfect world, should not be bred again. This rarely happens since the breeder is relying on the income they produce. It would be a huge loss for them to lose a pair of good producers. Then of course they would incur more expense from purchasing a new breeding pair. You can figure out that a breeder who actually would do the responsible thing and retire the pair who was producing offspring with defects would have to charge more for their puppies in order to cover the additional "cost of business".
If a puppy is found to have weak or loose knees, the vet may advise them to exercise the puppy daily on a hard surface to strengthen and tighten the knees. In most cases the puppy turns out just fine, but again, you should be able to buy the puppy at a discount. If a puppy is found to have loose knees, the vet will assign a grade to distinguish the severity of the problem. Grade 1 is the mildest form. The worse the grade, the bigger the discount should be, but pet shops almost never disclose this information to the buyer.
The funny thing is that usually the puppies that need the most attention from the vet and cost the most to treat, are the ones that have to be sold for the least money. This expense has to be recovered by charging enough for the healthy puppies. For example, let's say it costs the breeder $2000.00 to raise a litter of puppies with all of the expenses included (food, employee time, veterinary care, shots, etc.) and let's say there were 4 puppies in the litter and the breeder wants to make $100.00 profit on each puppy for his effort. He would then have to ask $600.00 for each puppy ($2400 divided by 4=$600). If there are only three puppies in the litter, he would have to charge $767.00 for each puppy ($2300 divided by 3=$766.67) to cover his expenses and still make $100.00 a puppy. I know I am oversimplifying this a little bit, but you get the picture.
Breeders don't usually figure their costs out on a per litter basis like we did in this example. They usually know about how many puppies a breeder pair will produce each year and times that by how many pairs they have and then factor the down time when some of the breeder pairs are off cycling or resting and average it all out to get the average price they need to charge for each puppy.
Sometimes there are other minor physical defects such as the coloring not being just right or the coat isn't in perfect condition. Once again the animal should be discounted.
Other differences in quality are the mental characteristics. Even at a very early age, the puppy may be displaying signs of future aggression or shyness. Since all puppies look and act sweet and cute, most consumers do not know what to look for and cannot tell which ones are displaying these signs. Breeders and resellers will take advantage of this fact and tell you that all of their puppies are the sweetest in the world. They will show you pictures of their babies cuddled up next to teddy bears and toys, but these are just sales tactics. If they told you the truth, you probably would not buy their puppy.
So how do you as a consumer know which ones are the best. Well first of all, you do have to come to terms with trusting someone at some point in time. Most high quality professional commercial breeders run a closed facility. This means that you will not be able to see the breeder parents, what they feed the babies or parents etc. Also, most commercial breeders do not sell directly to the public. This means that you will have to take the pet stores word for it. Who do you trust? Here is a tip; how many stores and/or breeders told you there even was a difference in the quality of the puppies for sale. Hopefully this article will help you out at least a little bit. I suggest going to a Puppy Specialty Store over a pet shop. They tend to have higher quality puppies and take better care of them as well. If there are no puppy specialty stores in your area, try to find a reasonable show breeder.
One way you can tell the quality of a puppy is the price. Each dog breed has its own wholesale price level. Let's say that hypothetically a healthy middle of the road "pet quality" German Shepherd for example has a wholesale value of approx $895.00. This means that this is the price any pet shop would be willing to pay for a good healthy pet quality German Shepherd puppy (if good quality healthy puppies is what they sell, most opt for cheaper puppies). Should you be able to buy it for this price? Not unless you own a pet store, have a resale tax id number and are buying several every month. If the pet store is putting a $250 profit on it and selling it for $1150.00 that would probably be fair. But that does not mean that you cannot buy a slightly lower quality puppy for that price or even cheaper, but there's a catch. Keep reading...
Now let me ask you a question. You would not sell a ten-dollar bill on the Internet for $7.00 if you knew you could go to any bank and get ten singles for it, would you? I didn't think so, unless you already brought it to the bank and they told you they would not accept it because a corner was ripped off or something like that. Then you might consider selling it for $7.00
Well no breeder is going to sell you a $900 puppy for $500 either, unless it is only worth $500.00. So if you see a German Shepherd in a store for $895.00 and deduct $250 for profit, you can conclude that this puppy was $650 wholesale. That is below wholesale, so you can bet it has one issue or another. Remember, these wholesale price examples and retail margins are made up hypothetical approximations, but they are not far off.
Generally the cheaper the selling price, the more issues but keep in mind that some chain stores will buy the lower or middle of the road quality puppies and then sell them for premium prices and some things add value to the puppies selling price and some things detract from the price, so if you have and AKC registered German Shepherd, the AKC registration would add value, but if it had a hernia repair, you could subtract from the price and the final selling price would be about the same.
On the Internet, you may find legitimate sellers selling German Shepherds for as low as $500 or $600. This price is way below wholesale. There are several reasons for this.
These sellers are only advertising their cheaper (lower quality) Puppies online because that is what the online shopper is looking for. Most breeders don't explain this to online shoppers because it takes too much time, the online customer won't appreciate the difference anyway and someone has to buy the lower quality puppies. It might as well be the person shopping online for the cheapest price. Like I said earlier, Most people don't know the difference so most breeders will take advantage of this. They will tell you that the puppy you are buying is the best quality you can get. Remember, he is a salesperson. He knows he only has one shot at selling you a puppy so if he doesn't make his puppy out to be the best in the world, you may buy one from someone else.
Think about it, If a breeder sells 15-20 puppies a month to a puppy specialty store and you are going to buy one puppy right now, who is he going to want to give his best quality puppies to, you or the one who is coming back for more every month? It is very common for the rejects to get sold online for very cheap.
There are a lot of fraudulent sellers on the Internet. In fact if you find any prices too good to be true (example: "German Shepherd Puppies for sale for $350.00") Rest assured, it is a fraudulent seller. Also, Don't fall for the "Africa scam". I call it the Africa scam because it seems like most of the scammers' claim there are in Africa, but they could be anywhere. I have seen scammers from all over Europe, Mexico, Canada and right here in the United States. The scammer asks you to wire him the money or at least a deposit and he will send you the puppy. Needless to say, once he gets any money, he is nowhere to be found and you will never get the puppy. If you are going to buy online, make sure the seller is in the USA and get a reference from his vet. This will not guarantee you a high quality puppy but it will at least guarantee that he is a legitimate seller.
Just remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch. There is a standard for pricing on dogs, so if one is cheaper than another of the same breed, you can bet there is a reason for it and it is not because of low overhead or just because he likes you. There is something wrong with the dog.
Age is another factor. Any older puppy should also be bought for cheaper than a younger one of the same type and quality. This is because Puppies only have a small window in order to be socialized. The window is usually between 5 and 15 weeks of age. Most states require that the puppy be at least 8 weeks of age to be sold, so you only have a window of 7 weeks in order to socialize your new pet. Of course a good quality puppy will be already socialized to people and other dogs from the breeder during the first 5-8 weeks of age that you missed out on and if the puppy is at a good quality puppy store, they will take over socializing the puppy for the time being until it is sold (usually one or two weeks). After that it is up to you to finish socializing the puppy (about five weeks). I am not saying that it is only important to socialize the puppy for the first 15 weeks, to the contrary, it should be well socialized for the first 6 months to a year, but it is the first 5 to 15 weeks that is the most crucial. If you are buying a puppy that is older than 15 weeks, it should be discounted
Most of the puppies listed for sale in classified ads are slightly older ones that have already developed socialization or training problems. Most of the sellers in the ad will tell you that it is great and that they are only selling it because of a divorce or they are moving or they no longer have time for it. But in most cases, it is being sold because the owner realized that his "good deal" wasn't such a good deal after all.
If you don't want to end up selling your "good deal" in a classified ad in a few months or so, you should bone up and get the better quality puppy. If you spend an extra couple hundred dollars, prorate that over the lifespan of the dog and you will see that it did not cost you that much more and you and your family will end up with a healthier puppy that will live longer and be happier.
I hope this helps you to understand why dog prices are what they are and why some puppies of the same breed have cheaper prices than others.
Puppy Mill facts .com