There's a vast difference between professional breeders like us who put everything into our dogs and breeders who just produce dogs for money...
We all know where puppies in Pet Stores come from. They come from Puppy Mills who do not do any health testing. They don't even take back puppies if the families don't want them or can't keep them when they grow up. There's just NO REASON you should buy that puppy in the pet shop window. You are just supporting a business that believes that it's okay to give dogs the bare minimum to maximize their profit. The dogs suffer in the end which is what we are opposed to. No dog should suffer!
They tend to range from breeders who act like a puppy mill but on a much smaller scale to a wonderful loving family who does not do any official health clearances. They just want to breed once or they think their dog is so wonderful that she should have puppies.
The Professional Breeders put EVERYTHING into their dogs. They can be show breeders, or just professional breeders whose passion are all about the betterment of dogs. They do all official health clearances and they make sure their dogs have the best of everything.
Wonderful dogs that were turned in because of temperament problems, space problems, family problems, so many more. I'm not against rescue and pet adoption. I support it. BUT, those dogs do come from an unknown background, unknown family lines and are not bred intentionally for the betterment of the breed. They are also most certainly not hypo allergenic.
There are two differences in clearances.
Vet Checks aka Vet Clearances are just a simple overall check up. It does not provide in depth health testing. It's like a physical check up with your own personal doctor. Those general exams does not really show results that would give in depth health information. It's usually on the surface simple results. Your blood pressure, your breathing, etc.
Health Tested or OFA & DNA Cleared usually means real official tests from the OFA and/or DNA companies. Those are very important. They do give in depth health testing to make sure that the parent dogs' heart, eyes, elbows, hips, patellas, and DNA are clear of any physical and genetic problems. It's the same way you have your heart, lungs, brain checked. You go get special tests like EKG, cat scans and that sort of thing to have it checked. You don't use your personal doctor to clear you.
When you ask if the parents are clear, please be more specific. Do they have OFA clearances? Do they have DNA clearances? The reputable breeders will have BOTH. Not one. It's very important to have both. Then ask what kind of OFA clearances they have. Eyes, Hips and Elbows are the basic must have's. Bonus clearances are hearts and patellas. Sometimes some breeders say Health Tested, but don't clear their dogs with OFA and/or DNA companies.
When inquiring about the DNA tests, ask what genetic diseases do the parents carry or have as affected. Carrier is not really a problem for puppy buyers. unless both parents are carriers of the same genetic disease, that would definitely cause them to produce puppies with physical genetic problems. Then the puppy might have a chance of acquiring the problem. If only one parent carries and another does not, it's not a worry unless you plan to breed your puppy which is not advised without advanced knowledge when it comes to breeding. And if any parent is affected, well affected is bad. It means the parent does have the genetic problem and probably is already suffering from it. Do not buy from any breeder who breeds affected parent dogs.
There are many incredible professional breeders who are now training puppies for the first two months of their lives. They use Puppy Culture, ENS or the Badass Breeder curriculum. This all is going to create a calmer, patient, and confident puppy. If you find a breeder who does this, they are a great choice! They will give a good foundation for your puppy to start life with.
Reputable breeders will require you to spay & neuter your pet puppy. Pet puppies really shouldn't be bred. If they are pet quality, there's a reason for it. It does not mean that your pet puppy is a bad puppy. It just means they don't have that extra quality to set them apart for breeding purposes. Any breeder who wants your puppy to be fixed is a professional breeder. Professional breeders wants to reduce dogs at shelters which means keeping any unwanted puppies or litters of their line out of shelters.
Reputable breeders will take back your dog anytime in its lifetime no questions asked. It doesn't matter why a dog cannot be kept, a reputable breeder will take them back. Period.
If a dog does have health problems, reputable breeders will cover for it or even take the dog back if necessary. They will do anything to ensure a positive outcome. That's why reputable breeders provide a health guarantee. They want the best for their dogs.
The fact of the matter is, you get what you pay for.
The reason our puppies are priced higher is because we give everything into those puppies. Food, training, equipment, health testing, etc.
Those who price their puppies low don't do everything for their dogs and puppies. They just want to pop out puppies quickly and sell them quickly.
What if that dog has hip dysplasia? It costs $2000 per hip to fix it. Can you afford that? If the dog is PRA affected, it will go blind. If you buy from a breeder who does not give a health guarantee, they won't help you pay for it or help you find a solution, then what? You are stuck with a sick dog and an empty wallet.
I've personally seen puppies being sold as cheap as $500, but it was pretty clear that those puppies had a bad body structure which means it has a severe genetic problem. Think doodles that looks like a dachshund. Long body, short legs, horrible wiry coat. Buyers might think it's pretty cute, but poor body structure will lead to health problems later in life. Cheap puppies means more medical bils.
What if that same breeder didn't do temperament testing and early puppy training, will that dog become too wild and unstable as it ages? You wouldn't want that kind of dog around your children or you're just too busy to deal with it. Then what? You can't even return the dog if the breeder doesn't take back their own dogs. This is why dog shelters fill up with unwanted dogs!
Like I said, you get what you paid for. A puppy should be a good investment. So why not make it your best investment?
Unfortunately all costs behind a litter when done responsibly is expensive.
Disease Prevention Costs:
Rescue Disinfectant to keep everything clean - $50 per bottle
Health Testing per dog:
Hips & Elbows - $500 per dog.
Eyes - $40
Patellas - $35
Hearts - $250 with Echocardiogram, which is the best testing for hearts.
X-Rays - $200
C-Sections - $2000 on average
Whelping Pen -$200
Heating Pad - $50
Puppy Pen - $200
Puppy Food For Mom: $50 per week
Puppy Vet Expenses:
Litter Shots - $70-$100 per pup
Microchip - $40 per pup
Puppy Food - $50 per week
Potty Training Expenses:
Crates - $25 per puppy
Litter Pans - $25-$100 depending on size of the litter
Litter - $15 per bag for Alfalfa pellets that lasts only
Not to mention equipment for struggling newborns like milk replacer, tube feedings, and of course vet care expenses on top of that.
There's also equipment for puppies as they get older like food bowls. Enrichment toys for training. Slides, swings, stairs, etc. Those things do matter. They help puppies not be so scared of strange, weird things. They will startle much less and be more confident.
As you can see, providing the best is very costly. Not to mention the time we put into those puppies. Even doctors or police officers have days off. Breeders do not. We lose sleep, we work overnight to make sure they are thriving. Not only that, we work on them becoming litter trained and crate trained. We just don't feed them and leave them to it.
And if something goes wrong in any time in those 8 weeks, again we would have to pay thousands of dollars to help a sick puppy or a mom that isn't doing well.
In the end, you get a puppy that was well taken care of and loved for its first 8 weeks of life.
It's up to you to buy the right kind of dog you want. You deserve a dog that has a long healthy life. A dog that's happy and has a great temperament. A breeder who will support you for the dog's entire lifetime. That's my goal. I want you to have the best puppy you can have with my support for its entire lifetime.
I know many great breeders who charge from $1500 to $2000. I know many breeders who charge up to $3000. But you need to also look at what they also provide. Puppy Culture? Litter Training? What else? How are their lines? What do they provide to the puppies?
Training - Puppy Kindergarten, Litter Training, Crate Training?
Health - OFA Clearances, what do they clear for? DNA, same thing.
Temperament - Calm or intense? Intense is good for hunting or for high activity work.
Body Structure - Do the breeders evaluate their lines for good body structure?
Coat - Are their parents coat tested for allergies? Do the coats look nice and soft? You will know a bad quality coat right away.
I can't tell you what's the right price since it varies from breeder to breeder and what things cost in their area. Utah has a low cost living, so they can afford to have a lower price compared to New York. Just remember, if you have a puppy shipped from another state, that's another $300-400 on top of the original price. Please do not ship a puppy via cargo. Try to have a puppy nanny who can bring the puppy as a carry on.
But personally I would not buy any puppies under $1500 or over $3000. You need to research the kennel, its lines, its health certifications, what it provides and then worry about the price. It's like buying a car. Would you really buy a car for $500 or would you rather save up money to buy a decent car for $20,000? That $500 car would probably break down in a year which will cost you more money in buying another car or in heavy repairs while the $20,000 car will last 20 years. Then there are the perks included... The $500 usually has none. And not to mention, not all car companies are equal and has different quality cars or different purposes for their cars. Some are sport, some are luxury, and some are for families.
Personally, I'd go for the $20,000 car.