“Hundreds of € for a puppy?? Oh, a lot, this is robbery! “ … Or maybe not?

Who has not heard or thought those words … And yet when it comes to buying a quality puppy, figures should not horrify anyone. Theft? Manipulation of the market? Profit on puppies’ account? Many people incline to think this way when looking for a puppy in a kennel of a breeder because everywhere there are currently for sale, at very low prices, half-breed puppies sold as pure breed. Truth is that ordinary people have nothing to do with breeder’s world and do not know and understand why a breed dog cost, what is included in that price and what are the real money a reliable breeder spends. I will broadly try to explain below the factors that contribute to establishing the price of a puppy. Maybe it will make you understand how things function in a real kennel of a responsible breeder (dog “multipliers” and merchants belong to a different category).

1. SELECTION is charged In order for us to have today hundreds of dog breeds, effort, time and money were spend to maintain, improve and promote dog breeds.  If there were no serious breeders who kept under control the reproduction of the quality dogs, we would have a multitude of combinations of breeds, resulting in half-breeds, from ignorant and accidental mating. Testing the breeding dogs’ temper and especially their health ( tests for dysplasia, patella, cataract, etc) to make sure that they have no health problems which can be genetically transmitted , have a cost. Participation in the dog show ring beauty, where competent people – judges, establish how well the dog fits in standard, also has a high cost.

2. It is also charged the BEAUTY of the dog, its framing in the STANDARD, its framing for the purpose a certain breed was created (WORK, SECURITY, ETC) * when talking about puppies, it is fair to present to its future owner its potential What is a breed standard? A breed standard is a set of rules regarding the dog’s appearance, movement and character. A breed standard gives us an overview of what should be the ideal dog of that breed. Dogs from the same breed are not alike, they are not like a picture printed in thousands of copies. They can vary in: hair color, hair length, head shape, ear shape and attachment to the head, tail shape and its attachment, withers’ height, length, etc. There are also variations in the dogs’ walk and character. As long as the dog fits better in the standard, the ratings are higher in dog shows.  As long as a puppy is considered to have a higher potential, the price will grow accordingly and will be higher than for its other brothers in the nest. That does not mean however that all pedigree puppies are future champions or all the puppies will be as their champion parents – genetics is never safe. In a nest can also be QUALITY PET puppies. What does that mean?  A quality pet puppy has the same temperament, the same look as the rest of its nest brothers potentially rated for shows. But it has certain “defects”, standard deviations which are not visible to the outsider eye. We are talking about: longer or shorter hair than standard, a little splash of color, a few cm bigger or smaller dog, incorrect bite, certain proportions, an angle between 2 bones other than ideal, incomplete pigment around the eye (in a dog show – one point eyelid lack of pigment is considered defective at a particular breed), etc. Many people get scared when they hear about “pet quality” dog, they ask questions about the dog’s health, about the major defects that would have a negative impact on dog’s quality of life.  A pet dog purchased from a known breeder will offer safety regarding the breed (shown only by the pedigree), parents and puppy’s health, proper, balanced temperament, proper grooming.  A pet quality puppy will have a lower price than a puppy with dog show potential.

3. Part of the breeder’s expenses, which are not few, are paid to get a puppy and they include:

  • a) – acquiring of the puppies that will be the kennel’s breeders. Because in Romania some breeds are underrepresented or the breeder wants to improve certain lines, many puppies have been acquired from other countries, at prices that are often double, even triple from those practiced in Romania, plus travel expenses, accommodation, etc.
  • b) – expenses on these puppies until optimal age for reproduction: super premium food, quality vitamins, grooming, hygiene, training, exhibitions, health tests, vaccines, etc.
  • c) – if the chosen male for reproduction is not the breeder’s property, the female will have to be taken to the male so other expenses are involved, plus the actual mating.
  • d) – during the pregnancy, the female requires extra care, special food which is more expensive than the one for an average adult, ultrasound, vitamins, etc.  For giving birth, you may need veterinary assistance, to some breeds or some bitches complications may appear requiring cesarean. It is often needed to help the mother, by supplementing the meals of puppies with special formula. After the milk period the puppies will eat solid puppy food (grains), special canned food and formula to ease the weaning. The puppies will need internal deworming and vaccines which increase the costs. The vet must see the puppies but he will have to come at the breeder’s headquarters in order to avoid the exit of the puppies outdoors because their immunity is not yet settled and they might get ill. You must also consider 4-5 absorbent mats daily, for at least 8 weeks. All these expenses are supported by the breeder until the puppies will be at least 8-12 weeks old. No serious breeder will sell any puppy sooner because these 8-12 weeks are very important in puppies’ life, within this period they will learn to socialize with their mother and brothers in the nest. A puppy taken from the nest at 4-6 weeks is likely to have character problems when he grows up.
  • e) – expenses with puppies’ being taken into evidence, issuing Certificate of Origin / Pedigree, mating and birth statement etc. Other aspects and expenses: A dog breeder spends several hours daily with his puppies, for training, education and grooming, beside walking and playing. When you have one to two puppies it seems simple, but when you have more than two it is not so easy if you want to take care of them correctly. Additionally you have to make many concessions.  Most breeders have a job which pays their bills because the money they make by selling the puppies are only part of the expenses they already had and this money will be invested back in dogs. In the show ring, a dog can get some qualifications and titles. No money is earned, as many people believe, on the contrary, a breeder pays for the participation in the exhibition, plus transportation costs, accommodation and other expenses. Diplomas are paid. There are also rules on granting titles. For example to make a dog a ​​champion in Hungary, a breeder will have to attend at least 4 exhibitions in Hungary, to get some grades in a certain period of time. What costs implies to do this? Exhibition fee – 50 € / dog / day, transportation to a town several hundred kilometers away from the border, plus 1-2 nights’ accommodation, plus food. A minimum of more than 200 € for one day exhibition. In addition, you cannot exhibit the dogs anyhow. The coat should be toileted, keeping a dog’s coat in exhibition condition costs time and money. In many dog shows, for several breeds, there are working sessions for hunting dogs, working dogs etc.  All these cost, the exhibition itself as well as the previous training of the dog.  And all these in order to get puppies that will fit to standard which, beside the physical appearance have the right character in accordance to the purpose that breed was created for. The dog shows are not just a way to spend money and time. A serious breeder takes part in these exhibitions in order to prove the quality of his puppies and also to get the confirmation of their framing in the breed standard. A breeder has seldom nests and respects the minimum and maximum age for reproduction. What happens after 8 years when the female is removed from the breeding program? She is “retired” but will continue to enjoy the breeder’s attention, will play with other dogs, will continue to be fed with quality food and will benefit from veterinary checks.

Conclusion: In order to get healthy puppies, in standard and with a balanced character a breeder has to spend time, money, effort and dedication with the breed. Not the paper itself costs (that Pedigree, at large considered just “a paper”) but the information in it; it contains all the grand-grandparents, grandparents, parents’ selection work. That Pedigree paper contains the bloodline of the puppy you want. To get a pedigree dog is not a caprice or snobbism, a pedigree dog is not chosen only to be presented in dog shows but to be sure that you will have a dog with the appearance and character in accordance to a certain breed, a balanced behavior, raised in good condition, a neat puppy, truly vaccinated and cleared. Julia Ungureanu Bolognese Kennel Uilaki’s White Beauty