On the Internet, as it often happens - it comes easily for us to evaluate many issues without a more in-depth approach to them, figuring out what they arise from. Dog kennel owners are often the victims of such judgments, they’re often flooded with offensive comments due to the price of the dog. Probably many of you have had the opportunity to see the see various comments, as these examples from social media - “So I have to pay so much for a dog?!”, “How do they think of such prices?!”… Or worse, “In a bazaar they cost a fraction of that price!” - but this view is very wrong.
In this short article I’ll try to explain where the prices of puppies come from. Puppies from professional breeding kennels, where their development, health and nutrition are properly taken care of. Data are collected and presented on the basis of medium-sized dogs, which is important in the cost of prevention, treatment, nutrition and more. It will refer to a kennel that has only one female, and its aim is to present dogs not only at dog shows but also as working or sport dogs.
Where do we start?
The very first thing to consider, once you’ve managed solidified knowledge (often available for free) about breeding, is to buy your first bitch. It is already between € 600 and € 1,700. Of course, there are breeds that are much more expensive, but in this article we will focus on average values, ignoring extremes. It should be assumed that the bitch will live for 15 years.
You’re going to pick up the bitch at the age of 8 weeks. During the puppy period a lot of expenses awaits. You’ll deworm her at least 4 times, you need to perform another round of vaccinations against infectious diseases and another vaccination against rabies. The cost of such a package - € 25, but that’s just the beginning.
To become a mentally stable adult dog such a toddler must be socialized and be provided with appropriate training. Some people are able to conduct such training on their own, but people without experience will have to pay for it additionally (the cost of 10 lessons is about € 140); during this period you need to think about in which direction you want to specialise her - what do you want to do with her in adulthood. It’s also good to attend at least 2 exhibitions with such a girl - it’s quite a good school of life, if it’s performed responsibly. Each exhibition costs about € 20 for the entry fee… But besides all you have to get there, spend the night somewhere and eat something - we can skip the hotel sometimes (i.e. one-day exhibitions, fairly close), but sometimes it becomes a problem - it depends on where you live. Before you decide to attend a dog show - you have to register yourself and your dog in the Polish Kennel Club: entry fee, membership fee, dog registration, obtaining a pedigree based on a birth certificate… and you can also register the kennel’s name in the same take - the total cost is € 70.
Between 6 and 12 months of age
As I mentioned before - having your own kennel is not as colorful as it might seem at first glance. It's constant work with the dog and as little pooch is growing you cannot just sit down satisfied with what you’ve done. You have to train, deworm and feed her, and in the first year the pooch will eat more and more expensively than later in her life… Growth has its costs ;). You can’t let go of exhibitions either - after all, your bitch has to show up and socialize with the world around, and if you want people to know her - she has to be seen here and there to gain recognition.
Summing up the first year
We’ve reached the point that, apart from the cost of the female… and besides the costs of training - you’ll spend over € 240 during the first year of her life! And this is just the beginning… The upcoming year will be all about trying to obtain breeding qualifications (three shows with a very good note at least) and championships - puppies, adults, participating in sport competitions, training and… veterinary examinations.
As a self-respecting breeder you’ll perform joint X-rays, genetic tests, eye and heart examinations which are important if you want to breed your bitch consciously and responsibly.
Assuming the optimistic variant - you won the championate with the first try (6 shows that is) and puff - another € 800 (because of entry fees, fuel, hotels) vanishes from your account… It’s good that at least the championates are free (unless you wish to receive a printed diploma - then you’ll have to pay for that).
Since the doggie is already one year old, and we want to provide nice, active homes for future puppies - it’s also a good idea to do some “canine sport” at least 5 times a year. Prices? Similar to shows.
Two years have passed
Two years through which our expenses as breeders don’t decline, but on the contrary - they grow higher and higher. Probably most of us have already stopped counting how much all this costs us, but what do we do because of love for our dogs?
Further on - every dog should undergo adequate training, which lasts at least 3 years… So, should we count that in? For 3 years of training you’ll pay about € 1,750 - of course you can do it yourself and save some money, but remember to undertake this task only if you have sufficient knowledge and experience.
Do not forget about the genetic tests - about € 90 for one (and usually it is appropriate to do 4-5 of them), X-ray scan of joints with an entry to the pedigree - € 90, heart and eyes examination - € 55 each (and it should be repeated every year), X-ray scan at least once again during the dog’s life (without the pedigree entry - € 70).
Now that you’ve done so much, it’s time to mate. Let’s say that a good stud dog is 1,000 km away from your home. Additionally, you’ll need the mating card, the litter card, the “breeding female” entry and we’ve got another € 8. And it is from now on that the real financial avalanche starts. A trip to meet the male, with accommodation costs (minimum one week) and the covering fee - it can easily be up to € 1,700 (€ 1,100 for mating only).
The mating period and pregnancy also involve progesterone testing - during the heat (minimum 2 x € 13), and then at least 2 times during pregnancy, plus 2 times ultrasound scanning (€ 22 each) and our final cost is getting bigger.
After pregnancy, obviously, it’s time for the birth and upbringing of babies. You need to prepare a playpen, a mother hen, a “delivery kit”, a puppy carrier - another € 330 just like that. Babies require proper care and a huge amount of food. Mother-feeding is not enough. At some point you’ll have to teach them to eat solid food. You’ll spend another € 145 at minimum on food for each litter. Additionally, deworming agents, chip and/or tattooing, birth certificates, litter inspection and vaccinations… Assuming there are going to be about 6 puppies - it sums up to about € 245.
For the next 2 months you’ll have been working intensely with the little ones - you’ll need to take them to different places, show them the world around, familiarise them with the various species of animals and take care of them all the time, so it would be only the best if you can spend the first two weeks taking vacation leave from your dayjob, so you can properly watch the puppies and mother. During the socialising visits and veterinary appointments you’re going to run around 1,500 km (1,032 m) - thus the next € 155. As the breeder you’ll also want to show off your puppies and successful mating - so add about € 65 for advertising.
At the moment we’ve only reached the second year of the bitch’s life, and as a responsible breeder - you’d like to secure her lifetime at yours. You’d also plan to have more litters later on. So you have to be seen on the Internet, participate in competitions and exhibitions all the time - and these generate more costs. The veteran is also worth showing - after all, it proves the quality of the breeder.
This simple calculation shows us that with one bitch that will have 4 litters of 6 puppies each you’ll… suffer a huge financial setback. Throughout her life you’re going to spend almost € 33,000, while the litters will pay back about € 26,500. Business done right, eh? Surely you can save some money. You can omit many of the things discussed above, and be a mediocre breeder who’s only in it for the money… but why? It would be better to give up the breeding then.
Even if you manage to carry out many of the above-mentioned activities cheaper, add to your account that this calculation does not include many serious costs that can occur - accidents, diseases, grooming, supplements for a pregnant bitch, problems with pregnancy (e.g. caesarean section), teeth cleaning (e.g. dentisept), fuel for your vehicle to attend training (for us it’s about € 24 monthly) and many others, and the older the bitch, the more expensive it makes it to maintain. Assuming that she’ll have 1-2 surgeries in her life (€ 130 each), teeth cleaned twice (2 x € 65 each) and she’ll have about 10 random “thorn-in-the-paw” events, inflammation, etc., the cost of which is € 33 each time, so in the end we should add over € 660 to the entire amount.
What if the bitch miscarried? At best, you just lost travel costs… It would be much worse if it was the first litter, and the bitch needed castration - most of the costs remain, and you can forget any refund.
And so, before you ask the breeder why is the dog so expensive, look at how many factors affect the price, and that there’s no chance the puppies will cover the costs generated by the bitch. Count on how many more animals you’d have to bring up to make the litter a profitable business, but then don’t you count on keeping the proper quality - unless you can afford a few employees.
Also remember that apart from all this, you need to take care of your development as a breeder. You have to participate in seminars and courses in the field of broadly understood cynology, which will allow you to have better and better dogs and greater achievements. When giving out puppies you also need to take care of marketing - so take care of interesting layettes, with decent collars/harnesses and leashes that identify your breeding.
Table of costs
Here’s a small summary from us, which will hopefully allow you to visualise all costs in total.
|Breeding bitch||880 €||1||880 €|
|Vaccinations and deworming for puppies||24 €||1 (set)||24 €|
|Dog kindergarten||13 €||10 (optional)||130 €|
|Attending shows in puppy class||22 €||4||88 €|
|Drive/hotel/food - for dog shows in puppy class||110 €||4||440 €|
|Registration in the Polish Kennel Club + kennel registrar||65 €||1||65 €|
|Further deworming||4,5 €||54 (pills)||243 €|
|Subsequent vaccinations||18 €||14||252 €|
|Nutrition through the first year||44 €||14 (bags of food)||616 €|
|Championate shows||26 €||6||156 €|
|Drive/hotel/food - championate shows||110 €||6||660 €|
|Sport competitions (incl. transport) in the first two years of life||130 €||5||650 €|
|Training (2.5 years)||13 €||130||1690 €|
|X-Ray||130 €||2 (-65 €, the second one’s without an entry to pedigree)||195 €|
|Genetic tests||88 €||5||440 €|
|Annual eye examinations||33 €||14||462 €|
|Annual heart examinations||55 €||14||770 €|
|Documents for mating||4,5 €||4||18 €|
|Breeding bitch entry||3 €||1||3 €|
|Feeding the bitch||45 €||168 (bags of food)||7560 €|
|Trips to meet stud dog||550 €||4||2200 €|
|Mating costs||1,100 €||4||4400 €|
|Progesterone tests||13 €||60||780 €|
|Ultrasound scan during pregnancy||22 €||8||176 €|
|Delivery kit + whelping box etc.||330 €||1||330 €|
|Puppy food||145 €||4||560 €|
|Chiping, metrics, deworming, litter vaccinations||245 €||4||490 €|
|Costs related to the socialization||155 €||4||620 €|
|Advertising the litter||66 €||4||264 €|
|Shows in the next few years||135 €||36||4860 €|
|Competitions until 10 years of age||135 €||24||3240 €|