How much does it cost to buy a dog from a breeder? Here’s What to Expect

Let’s do the math. A $900 dog from a puppy mill costs 21 cents a day over the puppy’s 12-year life span. A $2,000 dog from a quality breeder costs 45 cents a day. The difference is less than a quarter a day. And what does that 24 cents buy for your dog? A small handful of supermarket kibble.

Shes a beautiful, sweet-tempered dog, and at three years of age, shes been completely healthy, with nothing more than routine vet visits (with one exception noted below.)

Or to put it another way. If you’re making your decision based on a few hundred dollars of intial purchase price of a puppy, the cold, hard truth is that you probably can’t afford the dog at all.

A quality breeder does two important things. He (or she) has the potential parents checked for heart problems, eye problems, and hip problems, and if the dogs don’t get these clearances, they’re not bred. They also breed for temperament, and can tell you if a dog from any given litter is likely to be a drivey hunting dog or laid-back, lick-your-face couch queen. Most importantly, parents with behavioral problems–from biting to skittishness–don’t make it to the breeding pool.

I’ll admit now that price was a very important parameter back then. I will also admit now, that while we made an amazingly great choice, I was also really stupid.

How Much Does a Puppy Cost to Breed?

Calculating the “How much does a puppy cost?” equation is easier once you understand some of the behind-the-scenes costs that the breeder has to bear. Many of these costs are incurred before your new puppy is even born!

So let’s take a look at some of the general costs most breeders incur just to bring a litter of puppies into this world. All costs you will see here are estimates based on actual breeder-reported expenses. The variance relates to breed-specific health issues (such as the number of genetic health screening tests needed for that breed) as well as the number of puppies per litter:

  • Genetic health testing. $250 to $750+
  • Stud services. $500 to $2,000+
  • Birthing supplies. $25 to $125
  • C-sections and birthing complications. $2,000 – $7,000+
  • Vaccinations (puppies). $100 to $500
  • De-worming (puppies). $25/puppy
  • AKC registration (parent dogs and puppies). $25 plus $2/puppy
  • Parent dog and puppy food, vitamins, supplements. $100 to $200
  • Puppy supplies, toys, teething rings, leashes/collars, et al. $50 to $100
  • Microchipping. $50/puppy
  • Advertising/website costs (to place the new puppies in good homes). $50 to $300
  • Veterinary check-ups (new mom and puppies). $125+
  • Just by scanning this list of some breeder expenses for parent dogs and puppies, you can see how breeding puppies might not be the most lucrative choice of career. This is especially so if the mother needs a C-section or a puppy has a health emergency.

    In fact, many breeders with show credentials and decades of expertise are hobbyists who have no expectations of making a living by breeding purebred dogs. They just love dogs!

    They often work other jobs to pay the mortgage and the bills that pile up when a parent dog or a puppy needs extra veterinary care.

    As with anything that comes with a price tag, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Purchasing low price puppies that are not from a nonprofit rescue shelter can be a warning sign that you are about to purchase a puppy from a puppy mill, although this is not always the case.

    There are approximately 10,000 puppy mills in the United States alone. Puppy mills, as the name suggests, exist for one purpose: to churn out a profit by breeding more and more puppies. To save money, breeding is usually carried out in horrific living conditions.

    This is why it is so important to do your own research by talking with reputable breeders to find out the average cost of a purebred puppy that is not from a puppy mill! Otherwise, how will you know whether you are paying too much for a high-quality puppy or so little that you may be inadvertently supporting a puppy mill operation?

    Learning the answer to the “How much does a puppy cost?” question won’t necessarily ensure you don’t fall prey to a puppy mill or backyard breeder. However, it can be one more tool to help you choose a reputable breeder whose puppy price tag represents the actual costs of running a high-quality, health-focused breeding business.

    How much does it cost to buy a dog from a breeder?

    How Much Does a Puppy Cost to Buy?

    A well-bred pedigree or designer puppy will cost anywhere from $400 to $2,000 on average. The cost of a puppy varies hugely, depending upon the breed, its popularity, and the amount the breeder has invested into health tests. But just because good puppies don’t come cheap, that doesn’t mean that every expensive puppy is a good puppy.

    The true answer to “Why are puppies so expensive?” often boils down fashion, as well as to the fact that dogs are expensive to breed and care for.

    It is always a good idea to do your own research into how much does a puppy cost to buy, to feed, to house and to take care of (including veterinary exams).

    This way, you can decide now – before you make the initial commitment and investment – if the puppy you want to buy is a dog you can both afford to purchase and take care of for the rest of their lifetime.

    HOW MUCH MONEY BREEDERS MAKE? Home Based Business Ideas

    If you’re thinking about trying to breed puppies, you might be wondering if it’s worth it. How much money can you really make from a litter of puppies? Well, it depends. But I’ll give you a great cost breakdown and then you can decide for yourself if it’s worth it.

    So, I’m not a professional breeder. My husband and I just decided to try breeding our dark red golden retriever. Overall, it was such a fun experience. My kids loved playing with the puppies, we learned a lot and yes, we earned a little bit of play money. Here’s a breakdown of all the costs that we incurred along the way.

    Here’s what we spent in order to breed and sell a litter of golden retriever puppies:

    There were a few items that we didn’t need to purchase because we borrowed them or they were given to us. But these items were nonetheless, very helpful:

    A whelping box is a must. Your puppies with spend the first four weeks in your whelping box. My sister-in-law made her own and let us borrow hers. It was a life-saver. Or you can just buy your own whelping box on Amazon. I found a puppy play pen at a yard sale and it was really helpful to have after four weeks when the puppies are getting bigger and running around.