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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I don't think I've ever run across a thread or post where it's explained just how much it costs to make a puppy for us.
This is my attempt :).

With our new members running into sticker shock for a quality pup, and just plain outrageous prices for online pups that I feel horribly sorry for but could never support their manufacturer, I looked for some actual numbers and found a few sources.

I'm copying parts of two sources and adding comments as I feel the need. The third source will just be a link.

I've done a lot of math to get to an average cost for a litter of five pups and will link to the original sites.

The costs I'll be looking at are strictly related to care of the dam thru heat, pregnancy, birth, and puppies from the start of heat to the day the pups go to their new homes at 8 weeks (10 weeks for toys). This will not include the humans labor either.

BTW that total time is around 130 days, if my calculations are right.

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First site
COST OF RAISING A LITTER

Pre-breeding health tests
OFA HIPS =$600
OFA thyroid Testing =$200
(repeated annually from 2-6 yrs of age)
OFA DNA DM testing. $75 for each parent =$150
Neonatal Encephalopathy =$235
von Willebrand Disease Testing =$235
Canine CERF Testing =$235

TOTAL =$1,655

Comment on cost of health testing: Because the prices may vary, tests may vary, and for the most part are a one time investment (CERF is annual for example), I'm not including them in per litter cost.They are valid and considered necessary by most breed clubs and breeders who are looking to the future, and have now trickled down to many buyers awareness.

Breeding Costs
Pre-breeding health check $75 for each parent. = $150
Optional CBC ( blood test ). $100 for each dog. =$200
Brucellosis Testing $75 for outside breedings =$75
Stud Fee. =$1500-2000
Ultrasound to confirm pregnancy. =$65
X-ray to get final head count. =$85

TOTAL =$2,075-2,575

Comment on breeding costs: The stud fee would apply if using an outside stud (a normal practice) so I'll leave that in at the low end.

My Total = $2075

Puppy Care Costs
(Per litter) *avg. 7 puppies per
Dewormer =$100
Goat Milk (not always used but always on hand). =$35
Vaccinations/Vet Checks. $50 per puppy. =$350
Microchips. $15 per puppy. =$105
(If taken to vet, $10 for implant and $15 for chip =$25)

Food (raw weaned)
Weeks 3 & 4 On average 3lbs per day x 14 days = 42lbs
Weeks 5 - 7. On average 6 lbs per day x 21 days = 126lbs
Week 8. On average 7 lbs per day x 7 days = 49lbs
217 lbs at $2.50lb =$542.50

Pet bedding ( litter box trained). $20 per week x 4 weeks =$80
Misc. toys per litter. =$50

TOTAL=$1262.50
Comment: total stands as above but is for litter of seven. Toy, mini typically smaller litters

Other
Litter registration AKC. =$25
Individual Registrations CKC. $50 per puppy. =$350
Puppy Kit supplies =$320
(includes 3 weeks of prepackaged raw food, toys, puppy blanket,Leash and collar)
Paper work/contracts, vet booklets/ info. =$100
TOTAL=$795

No comments, total stands as above

For a total of $5,787.5 to 6,287.50

My Total for the above minus OFA testing (7 puppies)
$2075 + $1262 + $795 = $4132


I'm also not including the costs below only because the next price list doesn't include it. Every one is valid when figuring total cost of a litter.

"This does not include any costs in keeping the dam/sire (housing, increased food during pregnancy/normal food through rest of year, routine vet care, training or competitions). It does not include shipping of the dam to the stud, progesterone testing if required or artificial insemination if required.
It does not include the building or purchasing of a whelping box, fuel to the vets office, unexpected complications such as c-sections ($1500) or mastitis ($1000-1500). It doesn't cover any advertising costs or annual website fees or updates. It also does not include washing detergent or electricity to do 2 loads of laundry per day or run the heater in their bedroom to keep their space at 73 degrees ferenheit.
This amount also does not include my TIME. Litters require around the clock 24 hr supervision especially until 5 weeks of age. I get maybe 2 hours of broken sleep per night for the first 3 weeks of life. Then it improves to about 5 hrs of broken sleep until 5 weeks of age. It isn't until 6 weeks of age until I can get 6-7 hrs of sleep per night.
How much do you think my time is worth? Let's just base it on a minimum wage job at 84hrs per week (that's 12 hr days and I do way more than that) Our minimum wage is $10
8 weeks at 84hrs per week is 672hrs x $10 = $6720"

From <COST OF RAISING A LITTER | Desjardins Kennel>

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Second site:

Specific Costs
Let’s look at some reported costs from purebred Poodle breeders so you can get an idea of why Poodle puppy prices are what they are!
  • Pre-screening health tests (parent dogs): $500 per parent dog
Comment: Leaving this in but for 1 dog.
  • Stud (breeding) fee: $2,000 per attempt
Comment: Reducing this to match above
  • Brucellosis test (canine STD): $75 per mother dog
  • Ultrasound/X-ray (confirm pregnancy): $150 per test
  • C-section (assisted delivery): $1,500
Comment: C-section is only when necessary. Removing charge to match above
  • AKC registration: $25 + $2 per puppy
  • Pregnancy/puppy food and supplements: $200
  • Pregnancy/whelping supplies: $1,000
  • Food and supplies: $50 per puppy
  • Puppy pads, bedding: $50 per puppy
  • Puppy shots and de-worming: $50 per puppy
  • New puppy owner packets: $100 per packet
Comment: Left as is, head was spinning by this time :(

My Total minus testing 1 dog, stud fee to match above, minus C-section (3 puppies): $4206

Standard Poodles can have as many as six puppies in a litter.
Miniature and Toy Poodles average three puppies per litter.
The cost of breeding, delivering, whelping and raising a litter of Poodle puppies can range anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 and up.

From <How Much Are Poodles? Your Guide To The Cost Of This Purebred>


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The third site, not included in my math because I only just looked at it:
How Much Does It Cost To Be a Dog Breeder?


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After a bit of trying to get apples to apples I end up with pretty similar totals, although still only a rough comparison.
That said, I'm rounding down a bit to $4000 to produce a litter, not including:
the time put in by the breeder,
one time fees (OFA),
as needed fees (C-section),
and
including stud fees and averaging the litter size to 5 making the cost per puppy $800.

And that's not all, folks. There's also the cost of genetic diversity testing and I have no idea what that costs. The health testing is to reduce known problems from being passed down. The diversity testing is to help breeders restore the genetic spread thru the breed.

Back to the puppies, now. it's a very rough average cost of $800 to produce a puppy and we generally expect to see a quality breeder sell their pups for $1500-$2500 USD.
Set the average price to $2000, subtract the $800 and that leaves an average profit of $1200.

If I assume that smaller breeders have 3 breeding females and they're breeding each 1 time a year with each dam occupied by pregnancy and puppies for 18-20 weeks of the year and an average of 5 pups per litter that's 15 pups per year. 15 x $1200 is $18000 per year.

Remember this is not including a lot of costs. That's a nice addition to a yearly income. It just might cover some of the costs left out like overhead, labor, costs involved in competing in various events, things like that.

Toy breeders might be taking in around $7200 on 6 puppies (3 breedings per year x 2 pups per litter), standard breeders might be taking in around $21,600 on 18 puppies (3 breedings x 6 pups per litter). Larger scale breeders will make more but their overhead will go up too.

To make a few points,
First, the profit on a litter may not be as much as imagined, especially for small scale breeders.
Second, if the majority of breeders are smaller scale breeders, that's going to make for a limited supply of pups.
Last, how can those breeders charging ridiculously exorbitant prices justify them?
Their costs are the same or less than the quality breeders.

Do their pups poop platinum and gold and diamonds?
 

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Excellent post!

I know you mentioned that you were leaving it out, but I also mentally factor in the feeding and veterinary costs of maintaining adults, as well as the costs associated with putting titles on them. I know it varies a great deal, but putting a championship title on a dog using a handler often runs somewhere around $10k from what I've heard. Less if it's a really stellar dog, and more if it's a bit more mediocre. Agility and obedience titles are also expensively obtained considering trainer fees and travel fees. It all adds up.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Very true. This is why I stuck to a Lowest Common Denominator for my figures. Much of the cost of maintaining the adults is noted in the links, for those interested. Campaigning a dog is definitely a large cost but not addressed in the sites, so I didn't mention those.
 

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The one that got me was my breeder mentioning how much money she had spent just on show handling and entrance fees... all in, with just stud fees, show handling, and health checks, no costs for raising the litter, I think she was more than 10k, with no guarantee the dog would be able to have puppies! And then she only breeds 2-3 litters with the one dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
One very small tweak: I believe this should be an average of 6, rather than max. Peggy was from a very large litter.
That is actually quoted from the source but, I agree, it's a low average. The variances between the two sources is what caused all the jiggering with the math :).

I was just trying to get to a ballpark average for pup per litter. The interesting thing to me is that whatever costs the three sources included in their calculations came out to similar numbers on the high and mid levels.

That makes me feel pretty confident that my calculations are in the low end ballpark range,
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I wish we could save posts to our accounts... Rose, you’ve done it again! This is going in my resources for sure!
You can do that by clicking on Save at the bottom of the post. You'll have a bookmarked list. I keep forgetting about that myself!
To access them after saving, click on your avatar and select Bookmarks.
 

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I wish we could save posts to our accounts... Rose, you’ve done it again! This is going in my resources for sure!
In addition to bookmarking individual posts (something I always forget to do!!), you can also follow whole threads.

It's going to vary slightly, depending on your device, but there should be a "Follow" button at the top of each thread with a + symbol.

468362


Just click that button.

Then each thread you're following can be easily referenced by clicking your profile pic at the top of the screen and selecting "Following."

468363


That will display all the threads you're following in an easy-to-manage list.
 

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One thing that I want in a breeder and which would push the expenses way up. Is that if at any point evidence emerge that the intended sire or dam isnt good enough for breeding as the breeder thought that they retire that dog immediately.

No matter how much cost the breeder has sunk in them. If they kept a show quality pup and then as it ages it becomes clearer that the temperament isnt as good as expected. Or even they have finished a show dog but a DNA test before breeding has some unexpected bad news. A responsible breeder needs to accept that they cant breed it.

So with that in mind I feel that when I pay 2000 euro for a pup I am not just paying for the quality of the pup. But for the welfare, quality and selectivity of the whole breeding operation.
 

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Thanks. I suspected reputable breeders weren't making all that much money on a puppy, particularly toys because the needs are the same, but the litters are so much smaller.

I joined a few facebook poodle groups and am really saddened by some of the puppies people are buying for under $1,000. They don't look well bred at all. Some don't even look like poodles. They're released at 8 weeks and sometimes less. For a toy, I think that's way too young. They also don't weigh a whole lot.
 

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First site [Desjardins Standard Poodles]
... Pre-breeding health tests... TOTAL =$1,655...
The breeder broke it down on that link to this: OFA HIPS =$600, OFA thyroid Testing =$200 (repeated annually from 2-6 yrs of age), OFA DNA DM testing, $75 for each parent =$150, Neonatal Encephalopathy =$235, von Willebrand Disease Testing =$235, Canine CERF Testing =$235. TOTAL =$1,655

(Note: I observed that she missed citing the PRA-PRCD DNA test which is critical information in a breeding program, but was probably and hopefully an oversight.)

The Pre-breeding DNA prices she quoted is ridiculous since she can buy the Embark Ancestry & Health kit for only $135 to cover all DNA tests or order directly from one of the many labs listed on OFA. The prices she quoted might have come from the old school way of ordering DNA tests directly from a vet, which hasn't been necessary for several years.

Secondly, OFA hosts health clinics in many states. Two of the calendars by state are here and here. Breeder clubs also host OFA clinics which might not be listed. This breeder lives south of Buffalo and is in driving distance of at least two OFA health clinics which offer deep discounts for testing.

Depending on OFA health clinic location, anyone can get:
OFA Hips: $90 to $260
OFA Thyroid: $135;
Canine Eye CERF Tests: $40 to $50.
DNA Full Poodle Panel genetic Testing: $135 thru Embark.

Total: $400 to $470 (depending on hip x-ray cost, and that's a one time test)

That's a very long way from the $1655 she quoted for Pre-breeding testing. Only the Eye CERF test by a vet ophthalmologist needs to be repeated. (Note: for a Standard, I'd add cardiac and SA exams which is more than OFA requires, and for a toy, a relatively cheap patella exam).

I thought her other quotes were inflated too. While breeding is expensive and labor intensive, my impression of her quotes is they were designed to justify why the price of a pup is so high.

To me this form of justification isn't necessary. From my point of view, time = money. Unless someone is breeding one or maybe two females, once year as a hobby (and many hobbies aren't free), it's a job.

If it's not a once in awhile hobby, it's a business. The motive for the better breeders is generally a passion for the breed and at least breaking even from tangible costs; a profit margin is icing on the cake.

From a business point of view, if someone has 'breeding stock', whether they're chickens or poodles, there will be tangible expenditures, like materials for a whelping box and heating source or a premade one, and food, vet care, travel time, etc.

After the tangibles are what they pay themselves for their work, per hour for 16 hour days, 7 days per week.

This is where the real cost comes in. For someone who is relies on their spouse to foot the bills and has wealth, they don't need to worry about how much their labor is worth.

For the unskilled unemployed or underemployed, they may not have a job, and they figure they can breed dogs for income, so this de facto becomes their job. Many are not knowledgeable about good breeding practices and testing, and end up becoming substandard breeders cranking out pups with DNA health problems and less than optimal poodle body structures, and often unexpected big vet bills.

The high price tag per pup from a responsible and knowledgeable breeder is all the justification she needs to charge a lot. Her time and knowledge is valuable. In that particular case, however, her inflated or outdated costs were not necessary.
 

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The best poodles come from people who show their dogs, do all recommended health tests, have very few dogs (4 or 5), whose dogs are house pets, and who have spent thousands of hours learning about the breed. Actually, this is true for all breeds, but poodles, in particular, need to be house pets because they form such strong bonds with people.

One thing I never see mentioned is that it's important to research your dog's ancestry. I have subscribed to several poodle magazines for years, so I have been able to find pictures of many of Zoe's ancestors in old issues. I have all eleven volumes of Poodles In America for basic pedigree research. Talking with "poodle people" at dog shows provides lots of information and sources of information. Of course, you do have to filter the info!

I am having to research Zoe's ancestry with quite a bit of effort since I used to breed standards, not miniatures and since I "dropped out" of the dog show/breeding scene for 20 years.
 

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You can do that by clicking on Save at the bottom of the post. You'll have a bookmarked list. I keep forgetting about that myself!
To access them after saving, click on your avatar and select Bookmarks.
In addition to bookmarking individual posts (something I always forget to do!!), you can also follow whole threads.

It's going to vary slightly, depending on your device, but there should be a "Follow" button at the top of each thread with a + symbol.

View attachment 468362

Just click that button.

Then each thread you're following can be easily referenced by clicking your profile pic at the top of the screen and selecting "Following."

View attachment 468363

That will display all the threads you're following in an easy-to-manage list.
Oh! Okay, did not know that! Thank you!
I have all eleven volumes of Poodles In America for basic pedigree research.
Where would you find said volumes? Are they just a list of all the Poodles ever registered?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Vita, just fyi, I didn't include the OFA testing, inflated or not, in my calculations as it is generally a one time expense, and that expense will vary. I also really had no experience with any costs associated with producing a litter but the fact that both sites (one not a breeder's site at all) had similar end totals gave me reason to think I had a reasonable place to start my calculations. Then I found the third site and their mid level total cost was also similar.

You said
a profit margin is icing on the cake.
and that's exactly what I was trying to show. How many people think, "OMG $1500-$2500 per puppy?? How can they justify that? They must be making money hand over fist!."

I had to have some numbers to start with, I found those two sites and then averaged them out and then averaged them down just for the tangible costs directly involved in producing a single litter. I was hoping that people might see that breeders in that price range aren't necessarily jetting off to Cannes every weekend with their profits. Or even having a free weekend, ever.

And then there are those that charge thousands more, for far less.

Breeding for the best breeders is a true labor of love. The tangible costs for the litter are just the beginning. Their time, their knowledge, their investment in the health and future of the breed, their love for the breed and the poodles they create, what's that worth? If we're not aware of everything that goes into breeding, how can we appreciate the true price of our pups?

One thing I never see mentioned is that it's important to research your dog's ancestry.
Do you have any experience with the Poodle Pedigree database online? or the Poodle Health Registry online? The Pedigree database links just take me to a Facebook page for a private group. I thought I'd read that the public could see the info. The second site doesn't seem to have anyone home for several months.

I've got those links in the List but no point keeping them if the sites are abandoned or non-responsive. I've been tracking some thru OFA results but it's not ideal.
 

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I am not on the side of encouraging breeding, but ... as a breeder you can take advantage of a number of tax write-offs, including every aspect of dog care, and a portion of your house(s) (as do dog trainers). They're not getting rich, but if you're a SAHM and your family has a dog, moving into breeding can allow you to do those things more profitably. I know quite a few breeders who are in it for this reason, although their stated reason is always love of the breed.
 

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Vita, just fyi, I didn't include the OFA testing...
Oh I know! See my first paragraph?

The breeder broke it down on that link to this: OFA HIPS =$600, OFA thyroid Testing =$200 (repeated annually from 2-6 yrs of age), OFA DNA DM testing, $75 for each parent =$150, Neonatal Encephalopathy =$235, von Willebrand Disease Testing =$235, Canine CERF Testing =$235. TOTAL =$1,655
That was directly from the Desjardin's page you linked <COST OF RAISING A LITTER | Desjardins Kennel> on her Pre-breeding costs only. I thought, no way, this appears to be inflating the cost of testing. And yada yada, wrote the rest in my response.

...Breeding for the best breeders is a true labor of love. The tangible costs for the litter are just the beginning. Their time, their knowledge, their investment in the health and future of the breed, their love for the breed and the poodles they create, what's that worth? If we're not aware of everything that goes into breeding, how can we appreciate the true price of our pups?
I fully agree with that and all the rest of what you said, and for fun, I'll expand on it! I put in bold font what you said about the tangibles. This includes the cost of your poodle(s). If you have two well-bred poodles, they probably each cost $2500 to $3500, and they have champion parents and many champion ancestors. Other tangibles are vet costs, too many supplies to list, plus grooming costs over the years which is considerable.

There are sites that charge more, a lot more. They come from commercial breeders aka puppy mills. They haven't been DNA tested and should not be used for breeding due to their body structure not conforming closely to the poodle breed standard. If you see a PayPal button, run!

Back to OFA. OFA is actually pretty light on their testing requirements to get CHIC certification, especially on DNA testing that doesn't require any genetic testing beyond PRA-PRCD in two of the three sizes. In my view, breeding poodles should be cleared for these genetic conditions. You can see what these are at Paw Print Genetics lab, which often runs 40 to 50% discounts, or thru Embark, currently priced at $149.

468396



OFA only requires the bare basics. This one is for Standard Poodles. Under Health Electives, they require only one test. If I were a breeder, I would do all three and use the OFA health clinics which are far more affordable than a vet.

468393


This one is for Miniature Poodles:

468394


This one is for Toy Poodles:

468395



Here's my idea of the True Cost of Thorough, Successful, and Excellent Breeding. Not perfect, I'm sure, but maybe typical. Here it is.
  1. First comes love and passion. Most successful endeavors in life begin with this.
  2. With poodles it's followed by a deep appreciation for not only your poodle, but the breed, followed by taking pleasure in reading about all-things-poodle.
  3. You try your hand at grooming yourself or have access to a great groomer.
  4. You watch dog shows, and try your hand at showing or AKC sports, and recognize names. If you don't have what it takes to show, i.e. your time, health, or money, you at least know a breeder with a champion stud dog to mate with your female later on.
  5. You have an eye for good poodle body structure and temperament.
  6. If you're lucky you will have met knowledgeable people along the way, especially a mentor.
  7. Very important: You need some innate talent in the above and you gradually learn from your mistakes and what your weaknesses are.
  8. You are inspired to continue and improve the breed by having a litter of pups.
  9. All of the above gets you nowhere if you don't have lots of money, time, and space, or you have those things but then have bad luck.
  10. Only when the stars align, are you possibly ready to become a breeder.
 
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