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In Germany an officially bred setter with FCI/VDH-documents costs about 900 € up to 1300 €. I wouldn`t get myself a dog without such documents (for many reasons) and so I would always pay that price. What else should I do...
I know breeders whose dogs (labradors) cost 1400 € and 1500 €. It`s the regular price for a brown labrador (they are "en vogue" at the moment, that`s why they are so expensive). I cannot decide if these prices are justified, as I´m no breeder and I don`t know how much it costs to bring up a litter (stud dog, vet, food etc.)
I know many people who bought their dogs at breeder`s who don`t breed officially, that means the dogs have no FCI/VDH-documents and cost 400 € to 600 €, people who bought their dogs at breeder`s like this to save money. I don`t have to mention that I think it is totally wrong to support these breeders. But I think the large regular prices "force" some people to do so. Don`t you think that puppies with documents are too expensive and lead people to socalled breeders and other obscure sellers?
Don`t get me wrong: I would never support any other breeder than one whose dogs have documents but I`m worried that these large prices help the wrong, if you understand what I mean...?

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Of course I dont think about phonecalls etc in an economical way...neither visits etc. but rather as time-consuming if you have a large litter.

As for dogs that die, I dont think about what they could have given but rather the cost of keeping them, showing and competing what I hoped would be a future dog used for breeding.
I do think this should be taken in to account as well.
You would in any other business!

Perhaps I should mention that I at the most have had 4 setters and at the most one litter a year. Neither have I( appart from once) had more than one "active" brood-bitch. The rest are oldies or perhaps a youngster I am hoping to be able to use in the future.
And my calculations are based upon this...being a small breeder but trying my very best to get the best results. So far I have had 22 litters, and I do feel that I have some insight as to the economics of being a small breeder.
Appart from one bitch, that had 4 litters, all others have had between 1 - 3 litters during their lifetime.
You really took the words out of my mouth Ursula! People asking price and the number of the litter and then stand and count up how much money we earn:-( Makes me really upset! You also mentioned the dogs that we aren´t able to use for breeding. I have been there severals time. I will also keep them at home because they are a familymember, and even if I can´t breed them, I love them too much to place them somewhere else.
I usually try not to count how much money I spend on dog food each year, but by accident, I was, and it is breathtaking sums of money, I promise you, especially as I use a good and of course more expensive feed.
Now, I don´t meen to sit here and whine because I pay gladly that much for my dogs to have the best, because they are the best that ever happend to me, but there are many aspects to include in the costs of dog breeding.
I agree with your sentiments, Philip. But I meant more about encouraging buyers to respect their dogs - rather than asking breeders to jack up the price, or to make millions from every litter ;-)

Let's face it - people respect money. They also associate an expensive item with quality. Perhaps to a public ignorant about ethical breeding practices, that $2500 cross-breed in the pet shop window means quality? I suspect this is often the case. Too many times I have heard people boasting about how their pom x chi x cavoodle x whatever cost them thousands. Most people I speak to are absolutely shocked when I tell them my pure-bred, health-tested, show champion dog cost less than AUD1000 - including freight from interstate. And I can guarantee he was home-reared, by a loving breeder. And he was kept with his mother until he was 8 weeks of age. And he was wormed, vaccinated and microchipped. And fed an excellent diet. I have the photos to prove it.

Now, we know that ethical breeders put thousand of dollars, hours, love and care into the rearing of their puppies (and their parents). And we know that most pet shop puppies come from puppy mills where the bitches are bred into the ground and the puppies receive absolutely no care. But does the general public?? I don't think so. I am still horrified when people proudly tell me they got their dog from a puppy farm - and it's no easy job to convince them that a puppy farm isn't a lovely, sunny green farm where puppies run free in the hills, either! As far as they're concerned, the price of the pup is the guarantee that the poor little thing was well-cared for and raised appropriately.

You have to admit, it's confusing. Hold up a $2500 cross-breed next to a well-bred, health-tested, hand-reared $750 pedigree pup...and Joe Public may well be justified in asking what's wrong with the pure-breed. Especially when they've no doubt seen those damaging documentaries like the one put out last year by the BBC. Or read any number of unfounded news stories, or heard reports that cross-breeding lessens the risk of unhealthy puppies etc... Most people would do no more "research" than that, when looking for a pup. It's a crying shame for the breed, and for the good breeders out there who are desperately trying to do the right thing by everyone.

How do we rectify this problem? Obviously, making pedigree puppies more expensive is not the answer! Nor, I believe, would any ethical breeder really wish to be selling their puppies for thousands of dollars. I'm sure most breeders would give them away for free if they could be guaranteed their beloved puppy was getting the BEST possible home and would be loved, respected and cared for until the day it passes. :) Puppy millers and backyard breeders, on the other hand, care only about the price they can get for the pup. If they can bang the word "rare" into the advertisement and add another 0 onto the end of the price, they're happy. And the tragedy there is that people will PAY!

Education is the answer. But how do you educate a public whose bottom line is always going to be the dollar sign?
The price of well bred, well reared puppies is not high enough especially in this day and age where some people are breeding some very peculiar cross breeds, calling them a fancy name and charging more for them than people who are breeding pure bred puppies whose parents have been health checked and are registered.

Philip, I had already written this before I read your last comment but will post it anyway.
Hundreds of responsible breeders would agree totally with Ursula's list, it’s just that she has put what we all think and know into print. So why do we do it? The reason I do it is to continue into the next generation (I only have 1 litter from each bitch so only do it once every 2 or 3 years) and to have a puppy to show (and yes it does make a difference if success is with one you've bred yourself). We have no control over the size of the litter and I would have liked smaller litters each time I have bred to make it a bit more enjoyable and a little less hard work and stressful. Knowing both of the people who bred your dogs I am sure they would have 'bothered' doing all of this too to get their own homebred puppy to show which has also enabled you to own what I know were 2 well reared puppies. The surplus puppies to the ones we want to keep still have to be looked after well and good homes found and yes pet people as much as they are valued are a pain when it comes to them coming to visit far too often to see the puppies, their visit is usually a result of a ‘lets pop in to see our puppy’ when out for a Sunday afternoon drive but for us it is usually in the middle of feeding, picking up poo or cutting 216 little claws (a litter of 12) or worst still when trying to get a meal for my husband! Rearing the puppies is hard work but it has it's enjoyable times too and I have made a few new close friends from my puppy buyers over the years.
Also although no one can guarantee the health and age span of a dog they sell those people who buy from puppy farmers possibly end up spending even more if the cheap puppy ends up with all sorts of health problems and spends lots of time at the vets.
I have another question, how do you recognize a responsible breeder? Seven years ago I paid 700 euro's for my pedigree dog. Before I bought my puppy I asked the setter club if the breeder was reliable. They answered breeder was reliable. Nowadays I have bills of her medication and specialists of 2000 euro's per year.
Astrid,
Dogs in that respect are rather like people.
All parents hope for a healthy baby, and rather expect this.
But then life is not like that.
Babies get ill and so do dogs.
If you were to have 10 babies in a row, it would be close to a miracle if all grew up to be healthy men and women. Lived happily until they were about 90 and then died peacefully in their sleep.

I will turn 60 next year, and thinking back, I have lost lots of friends and relatives due to illnesses etc. This is a part of life we have to accept, how ever difficult it is.
Yet in some way people feel that when they buy a puppy, it should live a long and healthy life, visiting the vet only for shots and nothing else.

Quite right, pedigree dogs are tested and checked before breeding and I dont think there is a serious breeder that deliberatly sets out to breed unhealthy puppies.
Yet we all have to deal with the ups and downs that life consists of. Both humans and dogs get ill, is all part and parcel of life.
Ursula,

I think I have to explain something. My girl is an epileptic. 3 1/2 years ago I found out that her grandmother was an epileptic as well. Is it okay to breed on with the offspring of an epileptic? I know that this breeder at least produced 3 litters with epileptics in it.
Astrid,
No I dont think it is right to breed from the offspring of an epilectic dog.

But unfortunatly EP is in the breed (and other breeds too for that matter) and the course is difficult to pinpoint.
As this is not one illness its almost impossible to safe-guard yourself against it. Not breeding from epilectic dogs stands to reason, but that in itself does not remove the threat. Its not as easy as that.

I feel very sorry for you and your dog for having this problem.
And I do hope you are managing to keep it all under controll with medication.
This is a tough one. I had never bought a dog off the internet before. But Irish Setters have become very rare around the midwest and when I went looking for our new pup I ruled out a few things off the bat when contacting breeders or so called breeders. First off, if they had dew claws, it was a no go. I know that at least for every pure breed dog we have owned if they didn't remove the dews they hadn't a clue about hunting dogs. We just do not like them on our puppies. Secondly, it was then I asked the usually health questions and for pedigree information which for me isn't much since I only knew from the irish setter sites I saw who was well known. After having gotten my dog, a woman from an irish setter rescue contacted me from a forum where I posted where he was from and she told me you got your pup from a puppy mill. I was very upset since we loved him and thought he was wonderful. She said we wouldn't have an irish setter rescue here in this state if it weren't for her. She breeds over 30 puppies a year which in their book is a mill. She does do this for a living. For 33 some years I guess. I asked her how many of her dogs they have? She said we had two recently. Such great dogs she kept one and her daughter the other. So I contacted the breeder. She told me they are up her butt all the time and she warned them she would use a weapon if they came on her property again. My dog is healthy for 2 1/2 year so far, better than our setters in the past. No allergies so far, whoo hoo. And I would buy from her again even though this woman told me what she did. I paid a fair price, $550.00 and then shipping. I don't recommend buying a dog sight unseen, but it worked for us. There is a new topic for discussion! Has the internet helped or hurt breeders. I feel it gives us a chance to own a breed we might not have available in our area. Experience dog breeds that were hard to come by before. But there is a huge trust factor involved on both sides. Does anyone here sell to someone they didn't meet? I spoke for many hours with our potential breeder and even then was so afraid I might get taken! In the end it all worked out great and I have met others online who have gotten dogs from her and were so happy with them. But it could have been a disaster. Luck was on our side.
No Susan, I would never sell a puppy to someone I had not met face to face. I can understand that there may be some distances involved, but I make all the effort of rearing my puppies in the best way I know, and I would expect the would-be-buyers to at least come and see for themselves if this is what they want.
Hi Ursula

Both my Irish came from interstate here in Australia. To have met the breeders beforehand would have required a 10 hour round plane trip (or more) on both occasions!

With my bitch, Myra was at least able to vouch for me to the breeder (and vice versa) since they are good friends. But for my dog, I had to contact the breeder, who didn't know me from a bar of soap! We spent several hours on the phone, getting to know each other and what we both expected. Not ideal, but a real drawback of living in such a large country, I guess...
I can see the difficulty Melinda, but I would still want to see the person that is going to have one of my puppies.
Or at a pinch, see their good friend (someone like Myra vouching for the buyer).

All dogs I have bought I have also gone to pick up myself.
Perhaps I am old-fashioned like that, but I want some personal contact in both directions and just a phone-call or a few e-mails would not be good enough.

That does not mean that I regard all puppy-buyers that are not able to go and visit the breeder at least once as being less suited to own a dog...but I would still not want to sell one of my puppies to them.

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