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Why Are Puppies So Expensive?

Since COVID sent the world to a standstill, puppies from breeders have tripled in price. But, is the pandemic really the driving force behind the bulky price tag? In this guide, we uncover six more reasons that contribute to the cost, what breeders pay for, and whether the nasty virus has actually affected the sales of puppies. Let’s dig in!

6 Reasons Why Puppies Are So Expensive

If you’re in the market for a purebred and fun-loving pooch, you know how reputable breeders are charging an arm and a leg for one. Wondering why that is? Here are six reasons that may answer your question.

Hint: there’s more to it than just supply and demand.

Well-Bred Lineage

Also known as purebred dogs, some lineages are “born champions.” Not only are they fit and agile, they also have the best features and genetic makeup. Their parents had, most likely, won championships. Because it took a lot of breeder’s time and funding to groom the show dogs and create an ideal litter, they are quite expensive.

Designer Breeding

One of the most high-end dog cross-breeds or designer breeds are litters that have been reproduced from two different families of dogs. For instance: a poodle may be crossed with a Labrador to make a Labradoodle that has hypoallergenic hair which rarely sheds and personality traits fit for a good family dog.

Rare Find

Puppies of a rare breed are most likely to be expensive. This is because there are very few breeders that house them and they take great care of the lineage. Different dog breeds like Vizslas and Otterhounds were originally bred as hunting dogs. Since there’s less need for them now, breeders have stopped keeping them.


This is where supply and demand come in. Some dogs are natural trendsetters. People flock to them for their great qualities but there are only so many puppies a dog can bear. Hence, the demand always outperforms the supply. This raises the price of one pooch exponentially. 

Small Litters

One dog can give birth to a maximum of four healthy babies in 18 months. The litter is then nurtured to be obedient, eat and drink well plus socialize with other creatures of the land. Because the supply is limited, breeders quote a higher price — also taking into account their efforts to nurse the parents back to health.

Backyard Breeding

Where there’s good, there’s also some bad. Because the price of puppies has skyrocketed, some opportunists have started ‘backyard breeding’ i.e doing the bare minimum level of care on a popular breed to set them up for sale, generating a steady income. This is why it’s important to invest in a reputable breeder.

How Much Does Breeding Cost?

Because much of the price tag goes back to the breeder, you may be wondering whether the high price is justified. To settle your doubts, here’s a breakdown of why puppies cost a lot:

Preparing the Mother

First, the parents are prepared for breeding by going through a series of health checks. This ensures the puppies will be free of genetic problems and other health issues, of sound structure, and sell great. Here’s what the parent dogs will be tested for:

  • Vet consultation and check-up 
  • Blood work 
  • X-rays for bone dystrophies
  • Thyroid panel 
  • Orthopedic X-rays for hip and elbow dysplasia 
  • Degenerative myelopathy exam 
  • OFA recording fees 

All of this combined can add up to $1,000 in medical bills and this is before ultrasounds are conducted, prenatal care is provided and the delivery plan for the dog is determined. Per litter, that’s $2,000!

Taking Care of the Litter

Once the babies are born, it’s time to nurse the tired parents back to health and care for the little ones. That includes follow-ups with the vet for:

  • Genetic tests 
  • Eye testing 
  • Vaccinations 
  • Routine wellness exams 
  • Microchipping 
  • Grooming

Breeders also factor in the potential family’s requirements and add the health records with additional information into a separate file so they can access it whenever needed. This costs another $1,000 on average. So, breeders are actually investing more than they make when the litter sells!

Spending Quality Time

Speaking of caring for the family of pooches, a breeder spends more than 60 hours in two weeks checking in on them to make sure they are eating well, their health is well and the babies are breastfeeding. 

Has COVID-19 Actually Affected Puppy Sales?

In a way, yes, COVID-19 has upped the sales of puppies. Some were buying a puppy out of boredom and some got one to feel loved. Regardless, the demand increased and the prices took a boost at decent breeders. 

Even adoption agencies were maxed out. Today, breeders are trying to recover from the shortage of purebred, crossbred, and rarely-bred pups. It will take a few years for the price to settle down.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find an expensive puppy for less?

The best solution to finding an expensive puppy for less is rescue shelters. Not only do you save money, but you also provide a good home to an abandoned pupper. Not to mention, they must be already vaccinated, spayed, and even trained so you won’t have to bear any extra costs!

How much does taking care of a puppy cost?

On average, taking care of a puppy can cost around $1,500 annually. This is taking into account their diet, vet visits, kennel, comfort items, toys, and treats. Of course, it can cost less or even more, depending upon how high-maintenance your pooch is.

In Short

Honestly? It all depends upon the breed you choose and where you buy it from. Keep a close eye on adoption announcements and follow multiple breeders’ on social media. Once you’re all set, make sure to set aside a budget for the new family member and move forward from there.


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