How much is that puppy in the litter box?

A Dog Breeder's Round table discussion on pricing



Introduction

Many people who are looking for a purebred dog don’t want to pay the price for a healthy, well-bred puppy. Iin dogs as in many other life matters, you get what you are willing to pay for. Not only must you put effort in finding a good breeder, you should expect to pay for the work that breeder has done to produce puppies that are sound in mind and body and for the work the breeder will continue to do to help with advice when asked.

Siberian Husky breeder Stephanie Renaker-Jansen has joined the round table for this discussion of puppy pricing.


Paula Drake; Akita breeder, Cincinnati, Ohio

It is not unusual for a quality Akita breeder to charge $650 for a companion puppy on a spay/neuter contact or $1500 for a show quality puppy. The show puppy contract may include additional considerations such as requiring the puppy be shown to its championship or requiring an additional payment of an offspring when the dog grows up and is bred.

The most important part of buying a puppy is learning about the breeder with whom you are entering into a life-long commitment. We all have budget constraints. Do your research and work within your budget. If you do not find a perfect seller to go with your perfect puppy, wait awhile and save more money to broaden your opportunities. It is wise to have a “dog fund” anyway. Put aside money in your monthly budget so when (and there will always be a when) your dog has unexpected veterinary or training needs, you will have the money to pay for the services required.

You need to find a quality breeder because a quality breeder stands behind that puppy for life. The quality breeder is there to answer your questions and help you and your dog through any struggle or crisis. And God forbid, if you can no longer keep your dog for any reason, the quality breeder will either take the dog back or help you find another home. Good breeders work extremely hard for you. They are worth every penny you will spend on one of their puppies.

There are many breeders who charge lots of money and win with their dogs in competitions but don’t stand behind their dogs. Buyer beware! Stay away from them! Buy from a caring dog breeder who specifically states in the written contract that if there is any problem with the dog, the breeder will take the dog back or replace the dog with another or give back a portion or all of your purchase price.


Melody Greba; German Shepherd Dog breeder, Verona, Kentucky

As German Shepherd breeders, we feel responsible for selecting the right homes. Sometimes potential buyers choose our breed for the wrong reasons or their current lifestyle won’t logically meet the needs of bringing up a GSD puppy properly. We feel the need to educate these folks and not sell them a puppy at that time.

The folks who seem to be ready and understand the German Shepherd receive a puppy that is extremely advanced for its age. The reason these puppies are so advanced is the interaction they receive from birth until the time they leave at about seven or eight weeks of age. The puppies are well exposed to many differences in the environment, which would include farm animals, trains, lawn mowers, rock piles etc. Through normal exploration, they benefit enormously.

Our puppies are conditioned to ‘potty’ outside to simplify housebreaking.

Our GSD puppies receive immediate vet attention from the time of birth. The vet checks hearts and lungs, looks for cleft palates, and clips dew claws if needed. At about five or six weeks, we choose to take our puppies to the vet for vaccinations and wormings. Hearts and lungs are checked again, and males checked for both testicles descended. We take no shortcuts on health care!

When people pick their puppy up to take home, we spend about 60-90 minutes with them. We provide buyers with written material on proper feeding, copies of parent’s pedigrees and pictures, and sign a basic contract that includes notifying us if the dog becomes unwanted and includes a basic health guarantee.

Before new owners leave with their pups, we show them some basic obedience conditioning techniques to teach the puppy how to sit, down, play a recall game, and how to teach the puppy not to jump up. These inducive techniques teaches these puppies ... right before the very eyes of the buyer. They are thrilled! This makes training fun and gives the new owner a great sense of pride with his pup’s advancement. We show each person how to use these techniques and encourage their participation too.

For people who want a nice companion/pet, we sell our puppies for $600 and provide limited AKC registration. Thus, if the buyer decides to breed his pet, the offspring are ineligible for registration. Limited AKC registration discourages backyard breeding.

For people who want a potential breed prospect, show or working dog, we charge $1000 and give full AKC registration. We provide a hip guarantee that we expect them to utilize before breeding. If the dog develops uncertifiable hips with OFA or the German “a” stamp program, we will replace the dog or refund a portion of their purchase price with proof of spay/neuter.

We have always encouraged people to contact us with questions. We have routinely been sent pictures of our dogs from loving owners. It’s great to see them grow up properly!

We believe that these procedures are our responsibility to the breed and define the difference between a backyard breeder and a ‘true’ breeder.


Stephanie Renaker-Jansen; Siberian Husky breeder; Florence, Kentucky

We are very proud of the fact that we produce some of the finest Siberians available anywhere at Spiritwynde Siberians, our AKC-registered kennel. Our dogs have many titles and are proven in the show ring as well as on the trail.

Any puppy or dog purchased from us come from solid lines documented for generations by OFA (hip health) and CERF (eye health) registries. All of our puppies have a lifetime health warranty. We carefully study the pedigrees before any breeding ever takes place; the upcoming breeding for winter 2003 has been in the planning stages for two years. We believe that by pairing the right dogs, we breed puppies that are healthy and long- lived and exemplify the standard set forth by the AKC.

These dogs are from ‘show’ lines so of course they must have solid superior temperaments and that ‘lead dog’ attitude. The very best show dog must also be the best family and working dog possible. That’s what a Siberian is supposed to be.

We find it is very important to start training early. Training begins for the family before the puppies are born when we establish a relationship with the prospective buyer. Our pre-puppy packet has the information the new owner needs to read and understand during the weeks the puppies are with their mothers.

This is the time we like to answer the questions that the new owners may have so when the puppy comes home there are no surprises. The puppies are well socialized in our home, with people of all ages – beginning with two-year-olds. We begin both house training and crate training, insuring success for the pups when they leave us. These are the reasons why our pet puppies’ range from $500-750 and our show puppies are $1500.

(BRT)

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