We all know that once you own a dog and he is part of the family he is priceless, whether he is an expensive purebred or mutt from the local shelter. But what is the reason some dogs cost little to nothing and some run into thousands of dollars for a puppy.
Predictability: Purebreds cost more than a mutt because certain personality traits run in the breed. If you don't want a dog it's it heals you would know to avoid certain herding breeds if you don't want big grooming bills you would know to avoid poodles sheet seems and other coats that are difficult to care for. Huskies run… Retrievers retrieve… And shepherds guard, purebreds have been bred for many generations to do certain jobs and the personality and traits in these breeds is very predictable.
Registration: registration proves breeds history which brings us back to predictability. Not all registration is equal as some registries will register mixed breed or hybrid dogs and others only require a photo and a statement saying what breed you would like the dog registered as. With most breeds AKC or UKC is considered the breeds primary registry.
Champion Sire or Dam: This is very important to many people who are looking at field trial champions or obedience and agility titles. It tells you that the parents of the puppy you are looking at could perform certain tasks. But even Champion/grand champion titles increase a puppy's value. Why? It shows the pups parents had a stable/trainable personality. It also shows that the dogs with champion titles had correct type and confirmation for the breed and were deemed to be sound in structure by several well educated judges. This means there is less of a chance the pups from these lines would have structural deformities such as flat feet, cow hocked rears, or roach backs that can cause health issues as the puppy matures and ages. It also means that the parents had stable temperaments and pups produced from these lines are less likely to have overly shy or aggressive personalities. Some breeders use Champion Lines as an advertising tool to charge more for their pups. It is quite possible that they have never shown, bred or finished an AKC Champion. In some cases they purchased an AKC Champion, but many are counting dogs back several generations in the pedigree ( i.e. 24 champions in 5 generations) You will find that most of these Champions are back in the 3rd-5th generations and since selective breeding was not used in the closer generations most of the benefits of having Champions in the lineage have been bred out. Also not all of these titles may be from a reputable show registry such as AKC, UKC or IABCAA. So be cautious when buying a puppy based on (Champion lines).
Health Clearances: If you purchase a puppy that has champion lines most often these champions will also have health clearances. This is a major part of why certain purebred dogs cost more than other purebreds. Some parent clubs require very few clearances to be done on breeding stock while other clubs require their members to do extensive testing on hips, elbows, patellas, eyes, thyroid, heart and hearing tests. If a breed club is requiring or encouraging its members to do more tests the pups of that breed typically cost more than a breed where only one or two tests are required. Dogs that have been certified are listed at www.offa.org in addition to having the information on the AKC registration.
Rarity: If the breed you are looking at has 10 breeders in your state the price of beef of that breed is going to be a lot less than if there are only 10 breeders in the country. It is also typical of rare breeds to require more health testing.
Exceptions: As the saying goes "there is a sucker born every minute." There are many unscrupulous breeders out there. They see the prices dedicated breeders are getting for their pups and ask themselves… Why not me? They do not see the years of work that went into showing selecting and health testing of the parent stock. They only see the dollar signs. These breeders then set up a fancy website and brag up champion several generations past. They may show pictures of ancestors that were show dogs 25 years ago or more. They then try to take credit for the quality of these dogs to promote expensive pricing on their own. Beware of these practices, unless the parents or grandparents of the puppy you are looking at are AKC or UKC champions there is little to no added value to the pup. While you can purchase a wonderful pet from a breeder that does incomplete health testing and has APRI dogs, you should not pay the same price that you would pay from a reputable breeder. Most pet breeders offer these dogs for about 1/2 the cost, but there are some where you will pay the same amount as you would for a pup raised and bred by a reputable breeder, so I always recommend doing a bit of research. AKC offers a Breeder of Merit program to let buyers know the top breeders in each breed. Most reputable breeders are also listed on the parent club's website www.shibas.org
"Designer Dogs" are mix breeds. Usually, someone had a couple of breeds they couldn't sell the puppies from so they crossed them, usually with a poodle, and came up with a cute name so that they could sell their puppies. Cockapoo… Labradoodle… Shit-zu-poo… the names are now familiar. When these were seen to work puppy mills came up with new designer breeds, Puggles… Teddy bears… Pomsky… And Chorikies. There are now many websites promoting these mixes. They are not rare or better then other mixed breeds, but marketing and advertising practices as well as a couple of cute puppy photos have made them popular and in some cases expensive.
Adding to the problem were shelters who in an effort to promote their dogs convinced people that a mixed breed or hybrid was overall healthier than a purebred. This is partially true if you cross to breeds that do not have similar health problems. The resulting puppies would become carriers but would not express the health condition themselves. There is no predictability in size, coat, or personality. Most of the time no health testing has been done in the parents the only reason the breeder believes the pups will be healthy is "hybrid vigor."
There are many mixed breeds available at shelters. The cost will be much less than that of a "designer" puppy, and by adopting an adult dog you will be able to see its personality, size and coat type.
So… Before paying hundreds or thousands for a puppy do your research on the breed and breeders. Don't just fall for a fancy website! If you are buying a purebred check to see if the breeder is in good standing or has a referral from the parent club. Make sure health tests are being done, that champion lines means champion parents or grandparents, and most importantly, visit the breeder to meet their dogs at their residence so that you can see their personality, and quality of their care.
If you are looking at a "designer dog" please visit your local shelter as they have many available dogs that need loving homes.
Our Shibas are$1400-$1800 for pet pups. Sesames and creams are lower, a clear red or black & tan pup show quality pup with AKC registration is higher.
Our Alaskan Klee Kai are $1600 - $2500 depending on coat/eye color. Double brown eyes are $1600, double blue eyes are $2500, parti and bi-eyes fall in between.