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CostHelper > Pets & Pet Care  > Buying a Dog

Buying a Dog Cost


How Much Does Buying a Dog Cost?

 
low costAdoption: $70-$300average costPet Quality: $300-$1,500high costShow Quality: $1,500-$5,000+
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  Typical costs:
  • Adopting a dog from a shelter or breed rescue typically costs between $70 and $300, with breed rescues usually at the higher end.
  • Purchasing a pet quality puppy usually costs between $300 and $1,500, depending on the breed, sex, and quality. Pet quality puppies are considered lower in quality because they have some aesthetic flaw not noticeable to the average person -- such as a tail kink or an underbite -- that causes them not to meet written breed standards.
  • Purchasing a show quality puppy usually costs between $1,500 and $5,000 -- but can go up to $15,000 or more, depending on the breed, sex and quality. A top show quality puppy should be able to be used for breeding or shows.
  • Common, hardy breeds that are popular as pets and tend to have medium to large-sized litters tend to be at the lower end of the cost spectrum. Examples include Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and cocker spaniels.
  • Rare breeds and breeds that tend to require artificial insemination or have very small litters, and teacup or toy breeds usually are at the middle to higher end of the cost spectrum. Examples include French bulldogs, Yorkshire terriers, miniature bull terriers, teacup poodles and Ibizan hounds.
  • The coat color of a puppy can cause the price to vary greatly at the same breeder and among similar-quality dogs; prices can triple for puppies with very rare coat colors. For example, a merle poodle -- a lighter colored dog with darker spots -- can cost double the price of a solid-colored poodle.
Related articles: Owning a Dog, Dog Daycare, Dog Kennel

What should be included:
  • Shelters and rescue groups usually include neutering or spaying -- which is almost always a requirement of adoption -- and initial vaccinations, de-worming and a veterinary check-up.
  • Breeders usually include a health certificate from a veterinarian, the first several rounds of vaccinations and a fecal exam with de-worming if necessary. Some include a sample bag of the food the puppy has been eating. Puppies should come with a health guarantee, in which the breeder agrees to take back the puppy and refund the purchase price if a health defect is found in a limited time period.
Additional costs:
  • If a dog is purchased from a non-local breeder, the dog will have to be picked up or shipped by ground or by air, which usually costs about $150 to $250 for a puppy, depending on the distance, but could cost up to $1,000 for a very large dog. The Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International[1] provides a search for pet shipping services.
  • If purchasing a puppy from a breeder, the owner usually needs to get several rounds of additional vaccinations.
Discounts:
  • Tip: Purebred dogs are available from breed rescues, usually for much less than it would cost to purchase a puppy of the same breed. The American Kennel Club[2] provides a by-breed list of rescue resources.
Shopping for buying a dog:
  • Tip: Before beginning to search for a good rescue or breeder, think about the size, age and breed of dog that fits your household. PetEducation.com[3] has an article on how to choose a dog, and CanisMajor.com[4] has a breakdown of dog breeds and their general characteristics.
  • After deciding on a breed, contact a club dedicated to that breed for a list of reputable breeders. The American Kennel Club[5] has a list of breed clubs that provide referrals.
  • The Humane Society of the United States has a primer on how to recognize a good breeder.
  • When visiting a breeder or rescue group, ask about adult size, grooming needs, temperament and potential health problems -- and ask a breeder to show you at least one of the parents. VeterinaryPartner.com[6] has a list of questions to ask, and PetEducation.com[7] has a primer on bringing a puppy into a new home.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
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My puppy came from a responsible breeder in MO. She is "pet quality" but really beautiful. Corgis need to be carefully bred so as to avoid health problems. Beware puppy mills and even backyard breeders. Pay the money to get a healthy dog or get a mixed-breed from a shelter.
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I purchased a golden retriever puppy after extensive breeder research and visits. He is registered with AKC papers (show quality). Father is Brogan, a show dog from Orlando. Mother is Loosie, a gun dog fromt he breeder who is a gun dog trainer.
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Posted by: Angela Luna in Milwaukee, WI.Posted: October 1st, 2010 06:10AM
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I purchased a miniature dachshund from a breeder. AKC papers were offered for an additional amount but he is only going to be used as a pet.
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Posted by: a user in New York City, NY.Posted: October 6th, 2009 07:10AM
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I purchased my American Eskimo Dog Pixel from Shannon Gonella and I think I got a really good price. Pixel is a very sweet dog. Her father is show quality and her mother is working on her title. She can be quite silly at times but I love her so much for it. Couldn't ask for a better deal.
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Posted by: Sarah B. in Ottawa, CA.Posted: April 7th, 2009 10:04AM
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What would be the correct price for an unregistered mix - Mother also a mix - father - unknown? I think I might be getting snowed. Tx for your help.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.ipata.org/
  2.  www.akc.org/breeds/rescue.cfm
  3.  www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2106&aid=843
  4.  www.canismajor.com/dog/chbreed.html#Sporting
  5.  www.akc.org/breederinfo/breeder_search.cfm
  6.  www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=302
  7.  www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1671&aid=915
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