How much should a pup cost ?
This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions, and the answer is similar to that for ‘how long is a piece of string’ ? There is no simple answer, it all depends on a number of different factors, so here I will try to explain why prices can be so variable, and why you need to base the choice of pup, on what you eventually hope to get back from it, and not just on price.
Breeders come in all shapes and sizes, from the pet owner who ‘just wants a litter for the kids’, or to fund their next holiday, and who has no idea about the health tests that can be done to prevent serious health conditions in the pups they produce, and has no knowledge of pedigrees, so will just use the dog up the road as father – even if he is related closely to their bitch or has some underlying problem, right up to the breeder who is consistently breeding pups that go on to win championship titles in their chosen sport, has had every available health test done and will travel, often 100’s of miles, to find a suitable dog to father the pups.
The following table just gives the ‘average’ costs involved in producing a litter. This is assuming that the breeder is keeping the bitch for their own pleasure, either to compete with or as a companion, so I will not take into consideration the lifetime costs of keeping her – food, vet bills etc. Although I am sure that ‘puppy farmers’ would include these costs. We are just looking at the basic approximate average costs to produce your pup. We will assume that 6 pups will be born, which is an average size litter. We will also assume that it will be a normal birth – a C section will greatly increase costs. Some breeders will want more of a ‘profit’ on their litter, while others are happy to accept a little less. Some will use their own dog to father the litter, and some may be happy to re-use items such as whelping beds toys etc.
This is just an average guide – not a rock solid price list for every litter bred.
Health tests for bitch
These consist of a number of DNA tests, hearing test, hip scoring, eye testing etc.
Most are only done once in her life time, but some, eye tests for example will be repeated annually.
This fee can vary, depending on how well the sire has done in his own particular field, and how well his offspring have done. So again, just an average price. Not including travel.
Again this can vary, from £20 from a private scanner specialising in the field to £80+ from a vet. So we will take an average.
Again there is a huge variety to choose from, or some may make their own, but as an average cost, including new vetbed puppy blanket etc.
Feeding regimes vary greatly, as do prices, but assuming we are feeding a complete puppy food, 6 pups would require at least 3 sacks @ approx. £40 per sack.
Again prices vary so will put the cost of the wormer I use.
Pups need a lot of stimulation, again prices vary, so just a rough estimate
Approx. £20 per pup. so based on 6 pups
Currently £17 per pup but liable to increase
This is the one thing most buyers do not consider. While you would not expect any other producer to work for free, breeders producing a litter of pups are often not considered when it comes to adding up costs.
They are available and working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a minimum of 8 weeks. So as a very minimum should be allowed to expect minimum wage for a 56 hour week for 8 weeks.
448 hours @ £8.72
So this is the very minimum cost of the litter – not including any extras for sleepless nights, hours discussing pups with would be owners, and time given to owners visiting pups, puppy packs to give with pups, insurance, vaccinations if given, or costs incurred traveling to visit the stud dog.
Hours spent planning everything, extra electricity for heating for the pups, or re-decorating once the pups have finally left the property !
Cost / price per pup
As with most things, you get what you pay for – if you want to get a well bred, well reared pup from a caring breeder, this is what you will be paying for