the honest truth about the cost of being a responsible breeder
Do you know anyone who does their job for free?
Do you do your job for free?
Neither do I and it’s a shame so many people think that I and other breeders all should.
I am a breeder. I make no excuses for being a breeder. It is what I love to do and I do it to the very best of my ability.
My job is to raise puppies into healthy adults and if all the cards fall into place, allow those adults to produce the next generation of
puppies. Some of those puppies we keep for our next generation, and some puppies we place in loving homes.
There are different types of breeders just as there are different types of people at every job.
I am a professional and ethical breeder.
A person who engages for his livelihood in some activity also pursued by amateurs.
By professional, I mean this is what I do full time. I study animal husbandry, breeding and genetics. I pour my heart and soul into my
job, it is my passion. I do not have a paying job outside of the house because then I would have to limit the time I spent with the dogs
I choose to live with. I would have to put them in kennels and cages for 8-12 hours a day and that isn’t why I choose to live with dogs.
I wanted them to be a part of my life and to be happy family members and to do that I have to be able to be home with them. I also
chose to educate myself in the breed and that requires many hours of research into on going health topics and genetics.
Conforming to accepted standards of social or professional behavior.
By ethical, I mean that I do things as they should be done in order to be a professional. Each dogs happiness, health and genetics
come first and foremost and no expense is spared in their care. I do not skip testing because it is too expensive. I do not give a lesser
quality food because it would save me money. I do not breed a dog just because it’s cute and cuddly and knows some cute tricks. I
don’t breed it just because I love it as a pet, I do not breed it just to produce puppies. Even if I put thousands of dollars into a dog, in
the end it does not owe me anything if it is not breed quality. I do not breed it to recover my costs.
I ONLY breed litters that I expect will produce happy, healthy and excellent quality puppies in return, puppies that I hope and plan to
keep myself, although sometimes what I need isn't produced.
I have had a lot of people tell me that we as breeders charge too much for puppies or that when something goes wrong with their
puppy they feel they are entitled to a cash refund.
I am going to break down why you are actually not paying for the puppy itself. You are paying for all of the time, and expenses put into
raising that puppy and its’ parents. I’m going to explain in detail why we NEVER offer cash refunds in any amount for any reason and
why prices of $2000 are not even making breeders minimum wage.
Most people have the luxury of working 8 hours a day, when I chose to raise dogs and puppies I gave up that luxury; I work every
hour that I am awake and stay awake over night when needed to deliver puppies. Usually I am awake 18 hours a day, sometimes
when I am delivering a litter I am at work for a full 24 hours. I will lower the number to 12 hours for this article, hoping that everyone
realizes that I am short changing myself by many hours a week.
I live in Ontario where minimum wage is currently around $14.00 an hour. So by that rate if I am working 12 hours a day I should
be making minimum $168 a day in wages. Since raising puppies means that I do not get weekends off, I actually work 7 days a
week. $168 x 7 = $1176 a week. Multiply that by the 8 weeks puppies are with me and it works out that for any other regular
minimum wage job I should be making $9408 for 8 weeks worth of work. When you look at it that way it seems a fairly profitable
Now every litter will be different in the number of puppies I have to raise, some litters are smaller at 1-2 puppies, and some will be
larger at 10-12 or more puppies. I am going to average the number of puppies at 8. $9408 divided by 8 puppies averages it out
to be $1176 per puppy in order for me to make minimum wage at 12 hours a day.
This is what I am owed for my time if I am getting paid minimum wage. My time making sure the puppies are born safely, making
sure they are healthy, sitting up with them and making sure they are all eating well. Making sure they gain weight daily for the first
week and weekly for the next 7. My time taking pictures of the puppies so everyone can watch them grow up week by week. My
time bathing them when they are dirty, my time trimming their toe nails, my time spent socializing them, my time spent cleaning
up after them as they are learning to potty, my time spent doing their laundry daily so they are never sleeping on soiled bedding,
my time spent answering emails from anyone who enquires about the puppies, my time spent staying home so families can come
by and visit. My time transporting puppies to and from vet clinics, my time spent shopping for their puppy pack items. My time spent
caring for the parents of the puppies, doing all of the parent’s training, socializing and health testing to ensure the best chance at
healthy puppies with good temperaments.
My time is my job and I deserve to be paid for my time. My time is something I cannot get back, once it’s gone and used up, it’s
gone forever and there is no getting it back like a refund.
Next you are paying for the expense of raising the puppies for 8 weeks. Raising puppies ethically is not cheap.
These are the very basic cash expenses of each puppy that I raise as of 2020.
Paper work $100
• Leash $10
• Collar $5
• 2 bowls $10
• Blanket $5
• Toys $40
• Cookies $10
• Food $10
So let’s now break down expenses a bit. You might want to sit down for this part.
If you pay me $2000 for a puppy, only $1400 of that is immediate profit (the rest went into the list above). BUT if you think that profit is
actually profit I get to spend on myself, think again. It goes right back into the dogs.
When I need a new dog for new blood lines, like any buyer I have to purchase it from another breeder. The last puppy I shipped in cost
$3000 american, plus flight, and gas to and from the air port. It was about $4500.
Every dog in my care needs regular vaccinations (rabies and blood work). That’s about $250 per dog on about 10 dogs a year,
Any puppy I keep ( or that doesn't sell right away) also needs additional puppy vaccines.
That is about $2000 a year.
Food to feed everyone, between adults, puppies and nursing mom’s it’s often 2-3 cases of raw a week, each case of raw can cost
up to $100, So at 3 cases a week that's up to $300 a week, multiply by 52 weeks a year and that is up to $15,600 (wow, profit just
got a lot lower didn’t it, and keep in mind I would not have to feed that many dogs if I was not breeding to produce puppies for you).
I test almost every adult dogs eyes yearly, lets narrow it down to about 10 dogs a year
x $65 $650
I test hips on no less than 6 adults a year. At $400 a dog, (and that’s low) that is about
$2400 a year
I have to do genetic testing on average 6 dogs a year when I breed a dog who is not fully tested, or is a carrier of something.
Genetic testing with Pawprint or Orivet is average of $350 USD so lets call it $400 per dog, thats $2400
New crates, blankets, treats, toys. Lets estimate I spend about $1000 a year here, thats really low balling it but we'll go with it.
Herding instinct. Every dog I breed goes in for testing at least once. I spend about $500 a year on testing.
Many of my dogs have their championships. We average about $5000 a year on entry fees, gas and show equipment.
Some years we spend more.
The web site, this is a dog expense, I wouldn’t need the web site if I didn’t have the dogs, I pay about $500 a year for the site.
Grooming supplies. Dogs need shampoo, conditioner, nail clippers, scissors etc. Estimating low I have to spend no less than
$500 a year on this.
Hydro and water. We keep heat lamps on all of our puppies, hyro isn’t cheap. And we are constantly washing the dogs and their
toys and bedding. Estimating really low they probably cost us no less than $1000 a year in heat and hydro, costs I wouldn’t have if I
only had one pet and wasn’t breeding.
Office fees, ink, paper, staples, file folders for all your contracts, copies of eye exams, stamps for mailing out your registration papers
etc. easily $2500 a year or more.
Registration fees because I have to register all of my dogs, all of my litters. $2000 a year.
Grand total for a years expenses averages out to be (43,650)
So I'm at an average of around $40,000 in costs per year to breed the dogs.
I haven’t factored in accidents and emergencies. I haven’t factored in stud fee if I use other breeders males at $2000 a litter.
In 2019 I used an outside male 3 times.
That’s not including shows like the Canadian Pet Expo every year to advertise which cost me no less than $6000 a year.
That's also not including bringing in rescue dogs that need my help, time and money. We never make a profit of any kind on rescue
That also does not touch on any dog that may develop a health issue and we owe a puppy as refund. There is certainly no profit in
giving away a puppy for free but I still have to raise that puppy, feed and care for it and provide medical with nothing at all in return.
Since I only make about $1400 a puppy in immediate "profit" on a $2000 puppy sale, in order to cover these basic yearly expenses
to continue to breed healthy and good quality dogs, I would have to sell no less than 31 puppies at $2000 to break even.
That is zero profit. That means that all of my time and energy was for free.
I didn’t even get to make minimum wage. I did not put one dollar in my own pocket to even buy a cup of coffee, every penny
paid to me for the dogs went back into the dogs and if we did not sell enough puppies to cover the costs my husbands job
had to cover the difference.
So when you look on my site and you see that I charge $2000 per puppy in a litter of 8, don’t look at that price as $16,000 profit in
my pocket so I can live a life of luxury, because that’s far from the truth. Look at that cost as an investment in the best quality puppy that
can provide for you and your family from dogs that are loved, well cared for with great personalities and true aussie temperament
Realize that you are paying for everything that was involved in getting your puppy here in the world and you are paying for the next
generation to be able to be as happy, healthy and well cared for as yours was.