How To Price Your Puppies

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First off let us discover what a “Reputable” breeder is. A “Reputable” breeder is somebody who breeds purebred, registered animals ONLY, and who takes their dogs to shows to prove their worthiness as a breeding animal, they also take the dog to the vet to have genetic testing done on the dog, to determine any risks or genetic concerns, as such they frequently ask high prices because of the time and money invested in the dogs, thus it is realistic to assume they want to get some of that money back out of the pups when they sell them. Additionally they have the pups themselves vet checked and vaccinated prior to the sale.  Reputable breeders price their pups only to recover costs, not to make a profit. 

A “Professional” breeder is somebody at the bottom of the scale, although it sounds good, they are frowned on by most people in the dog industry. They breed dogs as their main source of income. Maybe this sounds like a good idea to you, having no other job than breeding dogs and playing with cute puppies, but it is not what you think. In order to make a profit, you must cut corners, and have many many dogs, producing litters almost constantly. Generally they have so many dogs, that the dogs themselves are not well looked after. Most of these people sell to pet stores, because the public would be disgusted to see the living conditions of these dogs. Equally, as profit is a goal, quality genetics are unimportant.  These people usually sell to pet stores, often the store dictates the price, then marks it up for resale. 

You are probably in the middle, either what they call a “Back Yard” breeder, or somebody who has an “accidental litter”. A Back Yard breeder intentionally allows their dog to have a litter, but they usually do so out of ignorance as to what “Reputable” breeders really do, are are simply to lazy to do it, or just don’t care. A person who has an dog that accidentally got pregnant is a bit closer to being ethical, and simply wants to get rid of the pups, hopefully to good homes.

Okay so what to price the puppy at. Assuming you have not put the value into the pup that the Reputable Breeder has done, your puppy is worth zero, nothing. Sorry to disappoint you, but it is the truth.  Cute as a puppy is, it is worth nothing, not the cost of the food, not the time, nothing. 

Obviously you don’t want to sell for nothing, but a new owner would be an idiot to pay a cent for a pup who has no health check, no guarantees, no reason for it to be worth anything.

  1. At six weeks they are old enough for their first vaccinations and worming. This should be done no later than two days before they are to leave your home.  In some areas it is illegal to sell pups before 8 weeks of age.

  2. Take the total cost of the vaccinations, worming, and check up, divide by the number of pups in the litter, and then multiply by two. This is the maximum your puppies are worth.

  3. Larger breed puppies are less in demand in some areas, so you may wish to only charge slightly above your veterinarian costs to ensure they sell quickly.  Or you might sell at a break even price. 

  4. Smaller breed pups, especially those who are of non-shedding breeds are usually higher in demand, and sellers frequently ask higher prices because of this.  Technically though, your pups are not worth more, just because demand is higher.    Is your goal profit, or good homes? 

  5. Remember, not every home is a “good home” be sure to check up on people, make sure they have a fenced yard, or dog kennel, before you sell them a dog.

  6. Get it in writing, if the sale is final, if you allow a one week trial, if there are any other details, have them written and signed.

  7. One word of warning, “Free to Good Home” animals do not always get good homes, nor to $1000 ones, the only way to determine if a home is good is to check it. If you are unable to commit to selling your pups to a “good” home, take them to the animal shelter and surrender them to the shelters care.

  8. Finally, consider using some of the money from the sale of the pups to spay your dog, spaying prevents many behavioral problems and cancer risks. 

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Puppy photo from Wikimedia

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