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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-11-2007, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Cost of having a litter of puppies....

I found this online today a doberman breeder website, I thought that it might be of interest to those puppy shopping. This is why it costs so much money to buy a well bred Doberman puppy. So much goes in to a planned litter...I don't think the breeders even make a penny. It amazes me that the BYB, Mills, over breeders, etc. can charge the same or more for a puppy.



Cost Of Raising A Litter

Pricing of puppies

There is a lot of controversy about how breeders arrive at the figures they do for their puppies. I will endeavor to help the buyer understand from the breeder’s point of view how we arrive at pricing our puppies or at least explain why we charge the prices we do.

As a breeder, we either breed to keep a bitch (female dog) that we can breed in the future or we buy a bitch from what we believe to be good bloodlines with reasonably good health and longevity in those bloodlines to start our own foundation. In the quest to breed, we train the bitch for the conformation ring, enter her in shows in the hopes that she finishes her Championship quickly. Those that do are fortunate and others take longer to acquire their Championship. If the breeder can afford to, they will then take that bitch and enter and show her (usually with a handler) as a ‘special’, meaning that now she is competing against other Champions for Best of Breed competition and striving towards the top ten or top twenty in the country.

Throughout this time, some breeders advertise the wins of this bitch so that others throughout the world of Dobermans will notice what you have, what the bitch has been winning, etc etc.

Once the bitch reaches two years of age, there are all kinds of health testing that needs to be done on the bitch in preparation for breeding so that you can provide proof to your puppy buyers that you have taken the time to do the health testing, care enough about the health of the breed to do the necessary testing, and care enough about the overall breed to try to use the results of your tests to determine whether or not the bitch should be bred, to whom the bitch should be bred.

Health testing costs are approximately as follows :

1. OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) – x-rays of hips and elbows to ensure there is no hip dysplasia of the bitch you want to breed - $160.00 CDN + another $35.00 USD to have the results registered with OFA = $210.00 CDN. The results of these tests come back as either Excellent, Good, Fair, or Borderline (the first 3 are the only results that are acceptable for breeding purposes) and the only results with which OFA will issue a certificate stating that the bitch is certified breedable guaranteeing no dysplasia is evident. These x-rays are read by 3 different board certified radiologists and all three have to come to an agreement on one grading. (Eg. If one hip is excellent and the other is only good, then the final grading will be good as they take the lesser grading of the two hips to determine results.) The results of these tests are posted on the website of OFA for the world to see and check.

2. Thyroid test : to determine if the bitch has a thyroid problem or not. Cost is approximately $ 85.00 CDN. If the bitch is hypothyroid, for any reason, she can and will produce it in her offspring so should not be bred. There are many out there that will simply put the bitch on thyroid medication and breed her anyway. That is WRONG! not to mention unethical and immoral as that breeder is NOT breeding to improve the breed, but rather breeding less than healthy dogs and pawning the puppies off on the unsuspecting general public.

3. vWD DNA testing through VetGen – to determine if the dog has a blood clotting disease or disorder. The results of the tests are either : Clear, Carrier, or Affected.

The results of this test should be used as a guide for the breeder to improve their breeding stock. In other words, if you have an Affected dog/bitch, it should ONLY be bred to a CLEAR dog/bitch which will produce only Carriers. A Clear means that that dog/bitch does not carry any copies of the vWD gene. A Carrier means that that dog/bitch carries ONE copy of the vWD gene but does not have nor will have a bleeding problem. An Affected dog/bitch means that that dog/bitch carries both copies of the vWD gene, however, there is genetically affected and clinically affected. You can read my article on this website explaining the differences between all the results. Cost is $140.00 USD or $170.00 CDN. This is the ONLY DNA definitive test available.

4. CERF testing – to determine if there are any inherent eye disorders. Cost is approximately $50.00 CDN.

5. DCM testing - costs vary depending on what test is used. You can have a dog holter monitor tested, an EKG done, a Cardiac Ultrasound done by a certified canine Cardiologist. The costs will vary from $50.00 to $500.00 CDN. The problem with testing for this is that the test is only good for the moment it is done. In other words, there is and are no definitive DNA testing available for detecting heart problems at this time.

6. Brucellosis test on the bitch to ensure there is no vaginal infections to pass on to the stud dog or to the puppies. Cost $85.00 - $100.00 CDN

So far we are at approximately $965.00 for health testing

Now, we finally locate a stud dog to breed the bitch to. Stud fees on average are $1500.00 - $2500.00 USD or based on the middle of the road fees of $2000.00 USD which (at this time anyway) would be $2440.00 CDN.

Health certificate from vet for airlines to prove the bitch is healthy for traveling costs approximately $85.00 CDN.

Rabies vaccine before crossing border and all other vaccines up to date costs approximately $200.00 CDN.

Progesterone test to determine optimum breeding dates costs approx. $110.00 CDN.

Now, we have to get the bitch to the stud dog. Usually we have to fly her out and back. This on average, depending on where the stud dog lives is approximately $1200.00 CDN return flight.

½ day off work to get bitch to airport (if local airport), otherwise 1 day off work.

Health certificate for return flight home is approximately $100.00 CDN.

½ - 1 day off work to pick bitch up from airport.

The bitch now should go on a special diet consisting of high protein with vitamin supplementation to ensure that she has enough nutrients to give the puppies a healthy start to life without jeopardizing her own health. Cost of special diet varies but is approximately

$500.00 to cover Emergency C-Sections if the bitch has problems delivery puppies or if puppies are in distress is approximately $1000.00 or more if there are any complications.

Costs of x-rays of bitch to attempt to determine litter size $ 120.00

So far we are at : $6,720.00

Let’s say we have an average litter of 8 puppies now.

Cost of removing dew claws and docking tails is approximately $ 350.00 for litter

Costs of ear cropping just went up two years ago – it will be $ 2000.00 for litter

Costs of antibiotics following ear crops will be approximately $ 120.00 for litter

Costs of first vaccinations will be approximately $ 520.00 for litter which also includes a vet check up.

Costs of ear taping supplies for 8 weeks will be approximately $ 250.00 for litter

Costs of vitamin supplements once puppies are weaned $ 42.00 for litter

Costs of food for litter for 8 weeks is approximately $ 250.00 for litter

Costs of additional miscellaneous for treating diarrhea $ 100.00

Health certificates from vet on puppies before leaving home $ 360.00 for litter which includes another health check up.

Costs for cleaning supplies for litter x 8 weeks $ 50.00

Costs of additional heat, laundry, etc for litter $ 120.00

Costs of post-partum vet check up for dam of litter $ 110.00

Costs of registering litter with CKC is $ 32.00 (IF you are a member, otherwise it is double that amount)

Costs of individual puppy registrations to new owners $ 235.20 but if the individuals have to be expedited in order to get them back from CKC faster it is double the fees (470.40) and this is usually the case, especially for puppies going to the USA.

Costs of 3 generation certified pedigrees for those puppies going to the US as is required by the AKC ($22.00 each) but if expedited service is required then again the fee doubles to ($44.00 ea x say 3 puppies) = $ 132.00 ________________

Conservative costs of raising a litter of 8 puppies $ 11,626.40

If we took this figure and divided it by the # of puppies in the litter

we would or should be charging $ 1,660.91 per puppy.

PLEASE NOTE : This does not take into consideration all the extra little incidental costs that come up while raising a litter. It doesn’t take into consideration the costs of putting a Championship on the dam of the litter, which can be anywhere from $800.00 - $3000.00 on average. It doesn’t include the fact that these costs will vary depending on the Veterinarian used as they all charge different fees. Some less, some a lot more. This doesn’t take into consideration missed days of work, the breeder’s time spent with the litter for 8 weeks. I personally have a puppy playground for the puppies and my costs don’t reflect the costs of equipment for the playground and upkeep of the playground. It doesn’t reflect any crate training started, any training of any kind started with the puppies.

While some breeders may charge upwards of $3500 - $5000 for a puppy, stating that the pedigree on litter is phenomenal and therefore reflecting their prices, I don’t necessarily agree with those prices either. $5000.00 for a ‘show prospect’ puppy or even $1800.00 for a ‘show prospect’ puppy is not an indication that that particular puppy WILL turn out to be a top show dog. There are no guarantees in this business. When you purchase a car, you are not guaranteed you won’t have mechanical problems with it down the road. When you purchase a house, you have no guarantees you won’t have problems with plumbing, or have to replace the roof in a year, or anything else.

Breeding to the ‘top stud dog’ of the year or the ‘top winning dog’ of the year is also not any reason in my mind for charging $5000.00 for a puppy sired by that dog. Having to pay $3000.00 or more for stud fees should not enter into higher price tags on the puppies because that is our choice to spend or not spend that kind of $$ on a stud fee. By the same token, as breeders, we do hope that we will at least break even on our litters. Most reputable breeders are not interested in making huge profits, we would be happy to break even if at all possible. Often you will find that those breeders charging enormous prices for their puppies are breeders that don’t health test, that aren’t there for support and advise to you for the life of your dog.

As reputable breeders, we ‘grade’ our litters for show prospect potential puppies meaning that we hope to have at least one or two puppies out of each litter that will turn out to show quality in order to carry on our breeding program. By doing this, we evaluate each puppy against the ‘Standard’ as a measure of how we are meeting and / or improving our breeding standards toward improving our breeding stock and the overall breed. While every breeder dreams that we will with each litter hopefully produce that ‘top show dog’, in reality the top show dogs are few and far between. Of course, we would ALL like to be able to get $3500 - $5000 for each of our puppies but the reality of that is those who charge and get those prices are priced way beyond what is reasonable.

I hope I have been able to provide some insight of just what goes into the raising of a litter and where and how we arrive at pricing our puppies accordingly. Realistically, as vet prices climb, then our puppies have to also climb to reflect the inflation costs.

Do the math and see why Doberman Pups are going for $1500.00 - $2000.00


OFA $ ____210.00___________
vWD $ ____140.00___________
Elbow Certification $ ____ 42.00___________
Thyroid $ ____120.00___________ (if sent to MSU)
Brucellosis $ _____85.00___________
De-worming Bitch $_____50.00___________ (BEFORE and AFTER being bred )
*Health Certificate for Travel $ _____45.00___________
Progesterone Testing $ ____135.00___________
Stud Fee $ ___1500.00___________
Travel Expenses for Bitch to get to Stud & back $ ____900.00___________ (airfare to ship bitch )
Board for Bitch while at Stud Owner's home $ _____10.00___________ (per day)
*C-Section $ ___1100.00___________
Supplies for the Care of the Bitch $ ___1500.00___________
Supplies for the Care of the Pups $ ___3500.00___________ (includes food, taping ears, etc)
Dews and Tails $ ____400.00___________ (for litter of 8 )
CKC Individual Registration $ _____28.00___________ *(double if expedited)
*AKC Individual Registration $ _____67.50___________ *(double if expedited)
*CKC certified 3 Generation Pedigree $_____50.00___________ *(required to register puppies in USA) double if required to be expedited)
De-worming puppies $ ____100.00__________
Ear Crops $ ____250.00___________ (breeder *rate* per puppy)
Antibiotics following ear cropping $ ____100.00___________
Taping Supplies $ _____________________
1st & 2nd Vaccine $ ____154.00___________ (per puppy, based on vet giving)
*3rd Vaccine $____100.00__________ (DA & BA per puppy, based on vet giving)
*4th Vaccine $ _____50.00___________ (Parvo per puppy, based on vet giving)
De-worming remaining puppies again $ _____35.00___________ (per puppy, based on vet giving)
CKC Litter Registration $ ____135.00___________ (per puppy)
New Owner Packets $ _____50.00___________
Cost to ship puppy to US with crate $ ____350.00___________
Rabies vaccine for puppy flying into US $ _____80.00___________ (includes health certificate)
Extra cost of electricity to keep puppies warm $ ____350.00___________
Extra cost of laundry soap to wash puppies bedding $ _____60.00___________
Extra cost of utilities $ ____400.00___________ (heat for litter)

* Not required with every litter but planned for


Last edited by Luvbirds; 10-11-2007 at 07:59 PM.
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