The honest truth about the cost of being a 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.
Professional : a person who engages for his livelihood in some activity also pursued by
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.
Ethical: 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 doesn’t owe me anything if it isn’t 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
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
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’
I’m going to explain in detail why we NEVER offer cash refunds in any amount for any
reason and why prices of $1000-$1500 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. Usually 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 $10.25 an hour. So by that rate if I am
working 12 hours a day I should be making minimum $123 a day in wages. Since raising
puppies means that I do not get weekends off, I actually work 7 days a week.
$123 x 7 = $861 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 $6888 for 8 weeks worth of
work. When you look at it that way it seems a fairly profitable business.
Now every litter will be different in the number of puppies I have to raise, some litters are
smaller at 4 puppies, and some will be larger at 12 or more puppies. Since most of my
litters are larger, I am going to average the number of puppies at 8. $6888 divided by 8
puppies averages it out to be $861 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
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.
Paper work $25
• Leash $8
• Collar $5
• 2 bowls $5
• Kong $10
• Nylabone $5
• Blanket $2
• Teddy bear $2
• Ball $2
• Cookies $5
• Bag of food $20
• Gift bag $2
So let’s now break down expenses a bit. You might want to sit down for this part.
If you pay me $1200 for a puppy, only $839 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 $1500, plus flight, and gas to and from
the air port. It was about $2000.
Every dog in my care needs annual vaccinations. That’s about $100 per dog on about 10
dogs a year, $1000
Any puppy I keep ( or that doesn't sell right away) also needs additional puppy vaccines.
That is about $800 a year.
Flea prevention, that’s another $100 a dog per year. $1000.
Food to feed everyone, between adults, puppies and nursing mom’s it’s often 3 bags a
week, at $50 a bag that's 150 a week x 52 weeks is $7800 (wow, profit just got a lot lower
I test almost every adult dogs eyes yearly, lets narrow it down to about 15 dogs a year
x $50 $750
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 MDR1 testing on 2-3 dogs a year when I breed a parent who is not N/N.
So that’s $75 per dog $225.
We are testing PRA, HC on every dog and that runs us $150 per dog at no less than 6 a
CEA is another test we have started, we are doing no less than 6 a year there as well at
a cost of $180 per dog $1080
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. $500 a year.
Grand total for a years expenses averages out to be (29,455)
So I'm at an average of about $29,455 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 $1200 a litter. That’s not including shows like the All About Pets
every year to advertise. 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 dogs.
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.
Since I only make about $900 a puppy profit on a $1200 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 33 puppies at $1200 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.
So when you look on my site and you see that I charge $1200-$1500 per puppy in a
litter of 8, don’t look at that price as $10,000 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 I 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.