Puppy Prices

I came across this AP article on the Mail Tribune business page this morning:

Enjoy a dog without breaking the bank

Early on in the article it says:

“1. CHOOSING: Purebred puppies — thought to be more predictable in temperament and physical characteristics — usually cost $800 to $2,000 or more, according to American Kennel Club spokeswoman Lisa Peterson. Basic vaccinations and some equipment usually are included. Spaying or neutering — $50 to $225, depending on the dog’s weight — typically is not.”

Coincidentally, a couple of us were discussing puppy prices just the other day.  It’s been over two years since I had a litter here and while I don’t have one on the near horizon I thought it might be interesting to hear what others are doing.  And I’m really only interested in Cardigan puppy prices; I know that other breeds may have a higher or lower popularity and price.

When we first started breeding, the saying was “if you can’t stand over the toilet, drop a $500 bill into the bowl, and flush:  you can’t afford to breed.”  Inflation has probably increased that price-tag in the ensuing years.  Our last litter was a case in point.  Shipping Alice to Canada and back, stud fee, c-section, and shipping the stud-fee puppy to Canada added up to quite a bit.  Our puppy price  has been $800.  We put strings such as co-ownerships on the show puppies but have not recently charged more for them.   One reason is that we aren’t breeding often enough that it’s easy to give a replacement for a show potential puppy who doesn’t “turn out”.

Because we had a litter of 10, 9 surviving, of which we sold 6 we came out about even financially.  Until Pilot jumped off the grooming table and broke himself that is.  Fortunately Pie turned out to be a dog who justified the $2500 price tag.

I recently saw advertised a $1000 base price on pups, plus an extra $200 on top to cover AI and C-Section expenses.  Over the years we’ve done a couple of fresh-chilled AI litters and way too many C-Sections (often in the wee hours of the morning for an extra bonus) and I never dreamed of charging extra for it.  The extra costs certainly don’t make the puppies any more valuable.  The AI’s also didn’t cost much different than sending Alice to Canada and back.

I don’t usually like discussing puppy prices as it sounds so “commercial”.  Are we out of line at $800?   Sometimes it’s hard to get that in Oregon and I sell virtually no puppies locally.  We haven’t shipped puppies as we want to meet the new owners in person.  But for a difference of $400 per puppy if that’s a usual price on the other shore people could buy an airline ticket and come pick one up and have a vacation to boot!

While I’m musing on breeding, which is easy to do with 9-year-old Alice once again in heat and Huxley absolutely beside himself . . . no, Alice hasn’t been spayed yet and I’m feeling iffy about opening her up yet again.  But I digress: there’s also an article titled “Whelping Complications” in the most recent AKC Gazette (click for on-line edition).

A side-bar story: Uterine Rupture: A Case Study

“An 18-month-old toy Poodle was presented to the hospital because she was lethargic and not eating, as well as suffering from vomiting and diarrhea.  Four days prior to coming in, she had whelped four live puppies.  She had delivered two previous litters without complications.”

Yes.  That’s an 18-month-old bitch on her third litter.  No wonder there are people in the public who look so poorly upon breeders!

The main article discusses dystocia, with “corgis” being one of those mentioned, along with Yorkshire Terriers and Jack Russells, with a higher-than-average percentage of cases.

I admit that I’m quicker to C-section now than I was earlier in my breeding and whelping experiences.  I have lost more puppies in natural deliveries over all.  My vet now relies on me to make the call. And I have learned to not use oxytocin.  Oxytocin = dead puppies.

It seems like there have been several litters lately with problem deliveries and loss of puppies.  More than usual?  More likely it’s just a matter of better communication in our ever-larger community.  In our first corgi litter ever (Pems) we lost 3 of the 6 puppies within 24 hours after a C-section due to primary uterine inertia.  Our sole litter in 2000 (Cardigans) we lost 3 of 6 puppies at (natural) delivery and then another at a week old due to a birth defect.   We had a litter of two by C-Section from Mandy’s champion Pembroke bitch Nellie, both of whom died within the first 24 hours.   Those were all before the days of blogs and FaceBook.

Now that I think back on it all, maybe $800 per puppy isn’t enough.  But with the economy such as it is can a higher price be supported?  Comments are welcome.

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