What goes into the cost of a puppy from a responsible breeder?

Once you choose to get a dog from a breeder, it’s helpful to arm yourself with facts so you understand the cost of raising a litter of responsibly bred puppies.

The price varies from program to program, but paying more money for a puppy that comes from a thorough and ethical breeding program can help save costs down the line. Additionally, it’s important to support reputable breeders in order to weed out puppy mills, scams, and irresponsible programs. Not only will you ensure the health and safety of your own puppy, you’ll be supporting an ethical program that truly cares about the well-being of their dogs.

The expenses can add up quickly for a reputable breeder — the average cost of a responsibly bred litter is nearly $16,000. That number can fluctuate, but being a responsible breeder takes a great deal of money, energy, and time. Many breeders begin by traveling to AKC events where the quality of their dogs is ascertained; this process can range anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000. 

Following that, stud services can cost up to $1,500 if breeders don’t have a stud of their own. This can also involve travel, overnight stay in hotels, gas, meals, driving, flying, or semen collection. Collectively, this entire process can add up to $4,500. Factor in that many breeders are taking time off of work to travel to a stud or take their bitch to the vet, and those lost wages can max out at $1,200.

A great deal of maintenance is required to make sure the mother of the puppies is comfortable and in good health. OFA and CERF certifications for health can cost around $430 for each prospective dam that will produce puppies. Getting several progesterone tests done is essential as well so the breeder can pinpoint the accuracy of their timing for conception — these tests average out around $400. 

Regular health checks are required for the bitch as well, in addition to a Brucellosis test. Brucellosis is a disease that can affect all kinds of dogs and livestock — it can even be transferred from dogs to humans. Signs of the disease are late term abortion, still births, and conception failures. It cannot be overstated how important it is to test both dogs, male and female, for this disease before beginning to breed them. This test, along with a health check, can cost anywhere from $80 to $175. 

If implantation or insemination is needed after collecting sperm, this can cost up to $1,000. An ultrasound will be needed soon after all these steps are taken to check in on the status of the pregnancy, which can max out at around $150.

Considering all goes well with the first attempt at breeding, implantation, or insemination, the total cost of breeding before the litter even arrives averages out at nearly $10,500.

In anticipation for the puppies’ arrival, a breeder will have to accumulate all the necessary supplies — including things like a heat mat, siphon bulb, clamps, heat milk, and a whelping box. The cost of this kind of preparation averages out at about $150 as well. 

Throughout the pregnancy, breeders invest in extra food, prenatal vitamins, and x-rays to confirm the pregnancy — all of which average out at around $250. The actual cost of birthing can get up to $3,000 depending on whether or not there are complications or if a c-section has to be done. 

Once the puppies arrive, AKC litter registrations are $25 initially and then $2 per puppy. Premium food for the nursing mom and weaned puppies who are starting on solid food will cost nearly $600. Essential vet visits for the puppies can add up quickly as well — worming puppies costs around $250 when you factor in stool samples and medication. Shots for Parvo, distemper, and a regular vet visit will land around $400 depending on how many puppies are in the litter. 

Additionally, puppy care packages with food, collars, and toys for new owners to take home can land around $160.

Other costs include emergency vet visits, missing work to deliver the puppies, replacing puppy toys and towels, home destruction, utility costs for added laundry and heating, communication with new buyers, and the 24/7 job of looking after a dam and her puppies — all of this can accumulate to nearly $1,600. 

Ultimately, the total cost of responsibly breeding a litter of puppies can range anywhere from $7,700 to $23,900. Although it’s an expensive and time consuming undertaking, the energy and thoughtfulness reputable breeders put into their puppies is the foundation of what will be a better world for dogs.

It’s important to note that a high price tag does not always equate to a responsibly bred puppy — scammers, puppy mills, and backyard breeders come in all kinds of sizes and prices. This is why it’s key to make sure you’re connecting with a good source and communicate at length with your potential breeder. At the end of the day, investing a little more money into your puppy now could save you both in the future — and you’ll be supporting a breeder that pours a great deal of money, energy, time, and love into each puppy that comes out of their program.

Article courtesy of good dog.com

Greetings

How many of you reading this blog have experienced sending an email, PM/DM, making a phone call or text and not having it returned? Frustrating isn’t it?

How many of you make a second attempt? A third? Not many Ill bet.

Now imagine if you are looking for a new puppy for yourself, your family and you have done all the research you know to do. You did a Google search, you read about the breed on AKC, you read breeder websites, you may have even attended a trial, show or meet the breed booth…or maybe you have not done any of those things but you saw what you think was a breed you have interest in and just want to learn more about them. Naturally you would try to reach out to breeders or clubs or rescues, right? Think about that for a minute . . .

Every morning while I have my coffee I sit at my desk and catch up on news stories, social media posts, emails and other messages. On Social Media I see breeders spouting off about how can we distinguish ourselves from ‘people making puppies’, ‘back yard breeders’, ‘puppy farmers’ – basically – how can we help the general public who just wants a puppy see the work that goes into breeding for preservation and passion of a breed and give that work value vs those selling puppies to pay their bills? How do we differentiate ourselves? How do we help the public see the difference in breeders who put in all the time, money, energy, work for decades just to produce healthy, sound dogs? How do we show them that we are willing to be there for the life of that dog for any reason? (As I type this, I understand of course the many levels of breeders, both good and bad…but this applies to us and our respected fellow breeder friends with similar goals as us) I will tell you one great place to begin!

COMMUNICATION!

Look at it from the other side for a minute. In order too educate and get through we must respond to emails, calls and yes – sadly – even texts! Now, don’t get me wrong – I detest getting a text which simply says – ‘any puppies for sale’ – its an awful way to begin dialog. I prefer a nice introductory email from someone who has seen this website and understands what we do here…..but that isn’t always how it goes. I answer every single email, call, text, PM that I receive even the ones that are rude…because maybe, just maybe, I can help educate that person and explain to them more about this breed. Maybe I can explain to them why it is important to be polite and use words – not just – ‘how much for a puppy’ type inquiries. Trust me, I get some ridiculous messages – some are rude, some are ignorant, some are clueless and some are just uneducated on how the process should go in order to find the right breed, the right breeder and hopefully the right puppy for them.

Guess what those other ‘puppy makers’ (I refuse to refer to them as breeders) are doing? Yep, you guessed it. They return messages because to them – that’s a sale they can’t afford to miss. If we do not communicate in the same manner we risk losing the opportunity to educate. It won’t always be heard – in fact – most of the time it is not…but we must change our ways and COMMUNICATE the same as those people putting dogs together and $elling puppie$ to anyone who call$.

To me, that’s part of what a responsible breeder does. We educate. We mentor. We support. I almost never have a puppy for sale that I already don’t have many people waiting for – but the opportunity to educate is always available.

Looking for a Stafford?

I have noticed an increase in people reaching out for help after buying a puppy and realizing they might not have gotten exactly what they were hoping for. There is a real need for more education on this breed. A number of ‘pop up’ breeders are literally cashing in on the upsurge of popularity in Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

In an effort to educate we are working on marketing ideas to try to reach people BEFORE they purchase a Stafford puppy so we can make sure they are well equipped with all the information they need to make a good purchase from a breeder who will support and mentor them, a breeder who is involved in more than ‘making puppies’, a breeder who does (and can prove) all breed appropriate health testing, a breeder who will take back a dog they have produced for any reason at any time, a breeder who is involved in breed rescue, a breeder who is well educated on the breed – an honest preservation breeder.

You deserve to bring home a puppy who has been enriched and raised in a loving home environment for the first 8-12 weeks of its life. You deserve the correct temperament. You deserve a happy and healthy, well adjusted puppy. A Stafford puppy should be confident, eager to learn and energetic. Whether or not your breeder feeds raw, naturally rears or not – they should be a well respected active member of the Stafford community. Help us help you!

The new marketing campaign will be designed to target regular people looking for a puppy so they have this information in hand! Tell us what you search for when looking online – tell us what you expect to find – tell us your thoughts on what you are finding when searching. Send an email to wavemakerstaffords @gmail.com with the subject: Stafford Search Study so that we can put together a helpful education campaign.

An Open Letter to All Breeders

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL BREEDERS
By Lynsey Smith 

-If you don’t have goals: DONT BREED.
( Producing “great” pets, or big and impressive ISN’T a goal). Far too many breeds have been RUINED because people breed simply for pets with no REAL goals for the breed. 

-If you don’t TEST your dogs in some way (health and/or temperament and working ability) DONT BREED 

-If you don’t research the history of the breed to know what to look for (other than “great” pet or big and impressive) DONT BREED 

-If you don’t become familiar with the dogs within the pedigree of your dogs in order to know what traits may show up in a breeding: DON’T BREED 

-If you breed back to back to back to back to back: STOP BREEDING 

-If you never hold any pups back to watch how they develop in order to determine if you are meeting your goals: DON’T BREED 

-If you make “picks” at birth or a week old BEFORE a pup can even show you anything about itself other than it’s sex and color: DON’T BREED 

-If you will sell a puppy to anyone with the cash or to someone who knows nothing about the breed and you dont bother to educate them: DON’T BREED 

-If you “ride coattails” of other breeders in order to talk up your own dogs even though you have done nothing with them yourself (ex: “champion bloodline” or has a “famous” dog back in its pedigree): DON’T BREED (get off your arse and prove your own dogs first) 

-If you do not know your own dogs pros and cons and are unwilling to acknowledge their faults and adjust your program accordingly: DON’T BREED 

-If you do not offer to take back dogs or puppies if they are not working out for whatever reason and will allow a dog that YOU brought into this world to end up in a shelter or worse; don’t say that you LOVE your breed b/c clearly you don’t so do the dogs a favor and DON’T BREED 

-If you are unwilling to learn from others, take advice (good and bad) and in the process BETTER THE BREED: DON’T BREED 

-If your aim is to make a name for yourself or fatten your wallet and not to better your breed: DON’T BREED

Who would ever know?

In the days prior to Facebook we had Bullbreeds Online. Before that Yahoo groups. Prior to that there was Compuserve chat rooms. Even before that, before the internet, people actually called on the telephone to speak to one another. The phones usually were attached to walls or at least a base unit was. Those who did rescue could have ‘telephone tree’ calls to arrange assistance to the dogs, the breeders, the owners. People actually SPOKE, in real works, out loud or sometimes even in person. HORRORS! You mean people actually looked one another in the eye and had conversations? Yes, my young readers. This is how it was ‘in the old days’ before FB.

When you have to look a person in the eye to speak it makes it more difficult to tell lies. Don’t get me wrong – there are those who are especially talented in this area who can still do this. Well seasoned at bending the truth, some people can make the world sound like just about anything they desire. Sometimes people lie for the sport of lying and sometimes they are ashamed of their actions and guilt makes them lie. Sometimes they feel no shame, and lie because its what they feel is expected of them. Lies simply flow easily out of their mouths any time they speak.

In dogs, here is the problem with being dishonest. There is always somebody paying attention who knows you are not truthful. Today’s blog entry is about breeders who routinely tell lies and think they get away with it. I want to begin by telling you that I have never in my life been associated with so many wonderful people who are passionate about a hobby they spend 24/7 living/breathing/enjoying. In contrast to that, I also have never met so many cold hearted fake egotistical sociopaths either. How can these opposing groups continue in harmony doing the same hobby? Well, my theory is that many of the passionate happy positive people aren’t aware of the other type – mainly because why would you seek that out? Sometimes it is best/easier to ignore those miserable, cold hearted, selfish, controlling, shit stirrers. Sometimes that’s all you can do. Today I am blogging because I am sick to death of those types and I feel strongly they are why breeders and dog show folk have such a negative reputation with the rest of the population and also why the few doing purebreed rescue get so burned out and disgusted. The loudest people get the attention. The angry loud few are what people remember most. And on top of that, when a person who normally is NOT like that gets fed up and becomes angry, loud and attention seeking – that’s what they will be remembered for as well. Thats a shame. What should be remembered – what SHOULD be spoken about are the others – those who ruin it for everyone. It’s those people who make us ALL look bad. I can totally understand why so many people, especially in rescue, HATE breeders. I get that!

Here is what I know as someone who has been devoted to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier in both rescue, re-home, fundraising, volunteer work, breeding, mentoring and educating – people tell me things. I listen. Now I will speak.

  • I know of a breeder who left a dog she bred knowingly in a kill shelter.
  • I know of a breeder who has had dogs they bred returned to them and chose to  euthanized rather than take the time to train/socialize/rehome the dogs.
  • I know of a breeder who euthanized a dog that was returned and then lied and told people it was placed in a wonderful home.
  • I know of this same breeder who has done this routinely.
  • I know of breeders who import so many dogs then sell them on like one might buy shoes.
  • I know of breeders who are pyramid sales type breeders – you buy a puppy and sign a contract stating the Stafford must be shown (maybe even by them, maybe for a handling fee), bred from and puppies given back to the breeder and that then you must carry on in the same manner…and on and on and on.
  • I know of breeders who would just as well breed on the 1st heat just as easily as taking 7 litters from a bitch.
  • I know of breeders whose dogs live in kennel runs on abandoned properties not where anyone lives and the dogs are visited once daily for a scoop of kibble and some water.
  • I know breeders who routinely keep non refundable deposits no matter why the puppy didn’t go to that home – even when its the breeder who turns the buyers down.
  • I know a breeder who makes their buyers use their stud dogs and charge the stud fees anyway.
  • I know a breeder who charged the breeder of their stud dog a stud fee even after being given free Staffords from the same breeder in the past.
  • I know breeders who lie about health testing.
  • I know breeders who lie about puppy enrichment protocols they claim to use but don’t.
  • I know breeders who care more about ribbons, specialty wins or how many champions they have bred than they care about the lives those dogs lead.
  • I know breeders who think they are the center of the universe and that all others are below them and must respect anything they say no matter how absurd their words are.
  • Sadly, I also know breeders who are hoarders and get in over their heads and cannot find a way out but are not able to ask for help.
  • I know breeders who lack so much confidence that they need a pat on the back for anything they say or do in order to feel okay and accepted.
  • I know breeders who collect semen like some collect coupons.
  • I know breeders who collect dogs like some collect coupons.
  • I know breeders who pay their bills by selling puppies but wouldn’t ever admit that they need the money and the puppies are how they earn it.
  • I know breeders whose actual self worth is based upon dog show wins.
  • I know breeders whose puppies are born and raised in stalls or basements, mostly unattended.
  • I know some breeders who may read this list and not see themselves on it.

I know a lot of things and I also know that for the most part, nobody really cares. Knowing all these things makes me sad if I think about them. In today’s world of having all your ‘friends’ made by a click of a button on FB, telling lies seems to be much easier. After all, who would ever know?