Choosing the right breeder for you and your family is very important! Decide what you want out of your relationship with the breeder and determine if the breeder you are talking to meets that criteria. A good breeder doesn't breed to fill the pet market. A good breeder is out to better the breed and produce a better quality litter than their last litter. They are looking at their dogs and the breed standard and determining what breeding would produce quality puppies for the betterment of the breed. A good breeder works hard to produce healthy dogs and should not just sell to the first person that shows up at their door with money in hand. They are looking for families that they can sell their puppies to that seem to be the right fit for them. Someone who doesn't appear to be making a spur of the moment purchase and will likely be returning the pup to them once something happens (like they chew their favourite shoes). They should have a puppy application/questionnaire and an interview process.
The cost of a puppy
Good breeders rarely make money on their puppies. Here is some information on what goes on behind the scenes with a good breeding program.
The purchase of a quality Dam. Every breeding program has to start with a quality dam. A girl that meets the breed standard and has an impressive pedigree of quality dogs behind her. Good breeders look at what they have in their kennel, the quality of their girls, the age and the number of litters they've had. Most breeders have an age or number of litters their Dam will have in mind before they even plan the first breeding.
The purchase or use of a Stud Dog. If the breeder doesn't have a suitable stud dog, they will have to go to another kennel to use one of their stud dogs. This costs money and the fee is usually the cost of one puppy.
Good breeders put titles on their dogs in either Conformation and/or Performance. The average price of one dog show is $32.00 to enter. Multiply that by three shows per weekend and the entry fees are $96.00. Some dogs finish their CKC Championship quickly while others may take up to six months or longer to obtain it.
Health Testing, which includes hips and elbow x-rays, annual eye exams, DNA testing - to make sure the Dam and Sire/Stud dog aren't passing on any genetic faults to the puppy you are looking to purchase. This is why and how a breeder can offer a genetic health guarantee.
Then there is the litter it's self. Whelping supplies, toys to help the puppies get new experiences, health checks and vaccinations, worming supplies and microchipping are some of the expenses. There is also registering the puppies with the CKC. And puppy packs! A good breeder should send your puppy home with some sort of puppy pack that includes their health records, kibble that the puppy has been weaned onto and some helpful hints about the breed and crate training, puppy nipping, and appropriate exercise for the age/breed.
And one also needs to take into account the expenses for maintaining the breeding program: kennel club membership, national breed club membership, grooming supplies, web page maintenance, advertising, ongoing food, training and medical care for the adult dogs.
A good breeder will welcome your questions about all of the above. It means you have really thought about owning a dog and purchasing it from a reputable breeder. If a breeder seems uncomfortable with answering your tough questions, perhaps you need to move on to the next breeder on your list.