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The difference between a $350 puppy and an $850 puppy
(reprinted from the May 2009 issue of Top Notch Toys)

$850 - Both the sire and dam of this puppy came from top quality breeding stock, developed over years and years of selective and knowledgeable breeding.  Both meet the requirements of the official Breed Standard in conformation as well as temperament.   Each has a pedigree which has been studied and thoroughly researched.  These dogs have been selected to breed to each other because they can both contribute to the excellence of the breed as well as complement one another.

$350 - The dam of this litter was purchased from a local pet store and originally came from a puppy mill.  She was sick off and on the first year of her life due to many different types of intestinal parasites and malnutrition.  The sire, an oversized male, lives down the street and was purchased from an ad in the newspaper.  Neither owner has ever heard of the Breed Standard.  The female is skittish and snappy.   Her owners hope that having a litter will calm her down.

$850 - Before this breeding ever took place, both male and female had tests including x-rays (front and rear), eye test, thyroid tests, and in some instances...heart tests to determine that there were no physical or genetic problems that might be passed on to offspring.  The breeder is well aware of the genetic problems to which the breed is predisposed and uses no animal for breeding unless it is certified clear of defects by a qualified Veterinarian.  The health of her pups is guaranteed.

$350 - The breeder is totally unaware of the genetic problems within the breed.   Trips to the veterinarian, except for dire emergencies or yearly shots, are considered too expensive.  The breeders’ hope is to make money off the sale of the puppies.  If he keeps expenses down, he can buy that new couch he’s been wanting.  Puppies are sold with no guarantee.

$850 - The breeder is a professional and he has a good reputation to maintain.   His goal is to produce beautiful and sound specimens which anyone would be proud to own.  Profit, if any is made, goes toward future breedings, always aimed toward the betterment of the breed, or for show entries, handlers’ fees, new equipment and important veterinary tests.  Both the mother and pups are fed the highest quality diet.  Many trips to the vet assure him that mother and pups are thriving under the very best of care.  The pups are raised in a busy area of the house or kennel where they are socialized, groomed, and exposed to different kinds of stimuli.  They are touched and talked to, cuddled, and even sung to.  They are never sold before they are eight weeks old.  Every buyer is interviewed at length and they fill out a questionnaire...pups are placed only in homes where they will receive the best care.

The breeder spends time with each new owner, educating and answering questions.   Follow-up calls are made to make sure the pups are adjusting well.  Each new owner receives a bill of sale and health guarantees, vaccination record, minimum three-generation pedigree, guarantee of registration with the AKC and thorough puppy care and nutrition information.  If the puppy is not considered to be of such quality as it will better the breed, the puppy is sold with a limited registration or non-breeding agreements.  The new owners are encouraged to continue a relationship with the breeder long past the puppy stage, and to call and ask questions at any time during the dog’s life.

$350 - These puppies are born in a box, in the garage, and receive little care other than what the mother gives.  To cut costs, they are weaned on generic dog food and allowed to nurse on the mother as long as possible to keep food bills down.  The bitch’s health declines rapidly due to poor condition and some pups are weak and runty.  They are sold as quickly as possible because advertising and vaccines are expensive.  They are sold without having had their dewclaws removed, without shots, parasite checks, vet examinations, guarantees, or information of any kind.  They are sold to anyone who has the cash.  If the new owner is lucky, he may receive an AKC registration application.  Although the puppy is of very poor quality, it is sold with full breeding rights.  The new owner usually disappears with the pup, never to be seen again.  If the market is not good, the breeder takes the leftover pups to the local pet shop, and in some instances, the pound.

The comparison you have just read is hypothetical, but very typical of what we see all too often.  Although not every breeder who charges higher prices is reputable and ethical, pet buyers should keep looking until they find one that is.  When I am asked why my prices are so much higher than those in some newspaper ads, I mail a copy of this article.  Those buyers who respect the quality and excellence are wonderful customers and become "partners" in this hobby that I love so much.  Those that are seeking pets deserve nothing less than a nice quality, healthy, and trusting animal.   As well as a breeder they can count on.  --   Anonymous

(reprinted from the May 2009 issue of Top Notch Toys)



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