What does a puppy cost?

         This is always an interesting question, and one that people have a hard time asking. I’ve seen time and time again with other breeders that it comes time for puppies to go home and that’s when the buyer finds out the actual cost of a puppy, and it’s far-and-away from what they expected. They haven’t been able to prepare, and as such are not able to purchase their puppy. The breeder is left with a puppy to find a home for and the would-be buyer is left feeling cheated, and I don’t feel that’s right. 

        I’m going to break it down a bit, begining with what everyone wants to know; initial purchase price. I will keep this generalized and apropriate for this region (Eastern Ontario). If you live in a different area it is possible that your costs will be significantly different. 

        In this region registered Australian Shepherds for companion homes are selling for $1500-$4500. Our puppies run about the middle, depending on the costs of the breeding itself. It’s a wide range, and something to remember is that a higher price does not necessarily mean a “better” puppy. These prices take into consideration the costs of health testing, stud fees, and the costs of raising the litter. Breeding litters is expensive. Putting titles on dogs is money that the breeder will never recoup no matter how many litters they have, but breeders who have gone to the time and expense of titling their stock typically choose to ask for more their puppies - and rightly so. If a breeder is selling their puppies at a cost that seriously undercuts the market, ask yourself why. For example, perhaps this was an unplanned breeding that the sire a/o dam don’t have their full clearances; this would be an acceptable reason for the breeder to be charging less. But if the price is far lower than the market, where is the breeder cutting costs? How many litters are they producing? How well are those puppies being socialized? 

        Puppies from us have begun their leash training, crate training and socialization. They have been raised on a raw diet. As is a requirement from the Animal Pedigree Act, they have been registered, microchipped, and stay with us for a minimum of 8 weeks. They have been started on a vaccine protocol, and much care and concern has been given to their health and wellbeing. 

Additional Costs:

  • In the first year you can expect a minimum of two additional vet visits for further vaccinations (Core vaccines, and rabies). After one year you are looking at one visit per year MINIMUM. It is vitally important to stay current with your vet. 
  • It is recomended to take a puppy obedience class and at least one additional class before your puppy’s first birthday. If you are hoping for a performance dog you will be in classes regularly throughout the years. Someone asked me recently what it costs to have a performance dog. The answer is: everything; it costs everything… Scent detection and agility is my sanity, and I refuse to add up what it costs me for regular classes and gear and trials, and that’s before you add in all the extra -very necessary- trial gear like tents, shade screens, special trial collars and leashes, chairs, blankets, etc. It costs everything. 
  • You will need a few crates in various sizes. Puppy’s first crate will need to be small, so that house training gets off to the right start. As puppy grows and training becomes more reliable you can increase the size of crate. I recommend a slightly smaller crate for the car than what you use in the house, and I ALWAYS recommend crating in the car. 
  • Your puppy will chew things, and you need to provide puppy with apropriate things to chew. Antlers, raw bones, kongs, nylabones, etc are all good options. Puppy will also need safe toys. 

The OMVA estimates $3000 for your puppy’s first year of life. And $2700 each year after.  I have found that these costs can vary widely depending on what you do with your dog and the region that you’re in. It’s safe to say that you can expect to double or even triple those numbers. 

© Shari Joanisse 2023