Our Pricing Policy
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
One of the most frequent questions we -- and, we'd assume, other breeders -- are asked is, "How much do your puppies cost?" While we understand that buying a puppy is a large expense and a high price may seem prohibitive, we strongly believe that finding a breeder with whom you are comfortable, one whose practices, philosophy, and promises are in line with what you would expect from a responsible breeder of quality Boxer puppies, is by far the more important consideration. You can always set aside money until you can afford a puppy from the breeder you choose; that may just turn out to be the less-expensive route, as a "bargain" puppy often ends up costing quite a bit more in vet bills than the higher-priced, well-bred puppy.
Some breeders do list their pricing on their website, and so of course that answers the questions right away. We do not, primarily because thus far we have had litters so infrequently that our pricing changes dramatically in the several years between litters. Suffice it to say that currently the average price for a well-bred pet Boxer puppy from health-tested parents ranges from about $800-2000 (generally at the higher end on the coasts, and the lower end in the middle) and our prices fit within this range. We would, however, like to explain a bit about how we determine the price of our puppies -- and how we do not.
Simply put, our puppy prices are set at a level that hopes to recoup our expenses based on an average, complication-free litter. We do give a discount on pet puppies, those that for whatever reason are deemed unsuitable for showing or breeding. While all puppies have the same quality genes and receive the same care and consideration while they're with us, there is more to buying a puppy than the dog itself, and pet puppies generally require less after the puppy goes home than show/breeding prospects do. That said, show/breeding prospects sold with a puppy- or breeding-back clause (mutually agreed upon before the sale) are priced lower than show/breeding prospects sold outright.
We do not base pricing on:
- Gender: Since we sell our pet puppies on non-breedng contracts, we see no reason to charge more for females as some breeders do (based, it seems, on the thought that buyers can "make back" some of the purchase price by breeding the bitch and selling her puppies).
- Color: Since we do not pretend to have "rare" Boxer colors, we see no reason to charge more for certain colors or levels of pigment.
- Markings: Since we do not determine show/breeding potential based on marking pattern, we see no reason to charge more money for "flashy" puppies regardless of whether those pups are pet or show prospects.
- Titles or Pedigree: We choose breeding pairs based on what we feel is the best combination to produce healthy, typey, quality puppies that improve upon whatever traits we are focusing in that particular breeding. Whether the sire or dam has collected a certain number of points or legs has little bearing on that choice. The same goes for ancestors: the dog(s) we breed have the same strengths and weaknesses regardless of the amount of red in their pedigree. (Traditionally, Champions and title holders are printed in red ink on pedigrees.) This is not to minimize the value of a title -- we feel objective evaluation and recognition of breeding stock is an important part of the process, and are quite proud of every point our dogs have earned -- but our criteria for breeding are not entirely weighted on success in the show or performance rings.
- Nationality: We have both American and UK bloodlines in our breeding program, and expect to bring in Continental lines at some point in the future. It costs us the same amount of money to produce a litter from an American bitch as it does from a UK bitch, however, and so we see no reason to charge more for a puppy that happens to have "foreign" ancestors in the immediate generations. The exception to this might be if we import frozen semen for a breeding, as this can cost three or four times a typical stud fee.
- Bitch Purchase/Showing Expenses: We do not include the costs associated with purchasing and showing the bitch (or the dog, if we happen to own him, too) in our puppy price calculation. Many breeders do, and we can see the logic in their approach. We would have purchased and shown the bitch even if we'd never decided to breed her, however, so we cannot in conscience pass those costs on to the puppy buyer.
Some of the expenses that do figure into our puppy pricing calculation:
- Health Testing: We perform several health tests before breeding a bitch (and sometimes pay for health testing on the stud dog, too).
- Stud Fee: Stud fees vary widely, but we use an averaged amount in our calculations.
- Progesterone Testing: We track our bitches' progesterone levels prior to breeding, so that we know their ovulation date. This not only increases the odds of a successful breeding, but it also helps us narrow down the whelping date. (Whelping occurs 63 days after ovulation, give or take one day; this is a much smaller window than relying on "breeding dates", which may be several days away from ovulation and leaves a window of a week or more for the possible whelping date.)
- Brucellosis Test: Brucellosis can cause sterility and abortion, so we test our bitches prior to each series of breedings.
- Travel to Stud Dog: Sometimes this is a non-existent expense, if we happen to own the stud dog. Other times it can be quite costly, as with Emma's first litter, when we drove 1,500 miles round trip -- four times -- to produce the litter. Alternatively, we may bring in fresh-chilled or frozen semen. As noted earlier, importation of frozen semen from Europe might increase our puppy prices for that particular litter, since it can add $3,000 or more to the cost.
- Pregnancy Confirmation: We have an ultrasound done to confirm pregnancy; this allows us to adequately prepare for the whelping, purchase the supplies that are time-sensitive, and ensure the bitch is having a healthy pregnancy.
- Supplements for the Bitch: We give special supplements and homeopathic formulations to our in-whelp bitches to provide the best odds of a healthy pregnancy, trouble-free whelping, and robust, thriving puppies.
- Increased Food for the Bitch: During the last few weeks of pregnancy and through peak lactation when the puppies are 3-4 weeks old, bitches eat as much as four times their normal amount of food. We also provide extra goodies like goat's milk for added nutrition.
- Whelping Supplies: We generally need to replenish some of our whelping supplies for each litter.
- Frozen Plasma: We give frozen plasma to newborn puppies, and have some on hand in case we have a puppy that needs a boost. Plasma must be shipped overnight, and is only good for about six months, so we order a fresh batch for each litter.
- Tail Docking/Dewclaw Removal: This procedure is performed between 2-5 days on all puppies.
- Food and Supplements for Puppies: We start introducing solid food when the pups are around 3 weeks old, and increase the amount of food they get as the bitch slowly weans them. We also keep our puppies for 12 weeks, which is about a month longer than most breeders, and that increases our costs as well.
- Fecals/Worming: We do not worm our puppies for the sake of worming them, but have fecal tests done and worm if necessary.
- Items for Puppy Pen: We work hard to produce well-socialized puppies, going above and beyond what most other breeders we know do. This includes setting up a puppy pen and play yard with a variety of toys, objects, obstacles, scent items, sounds, textures, etc. Some items we can reuse but invariably a litter of puppies will destroy other items, and we are constantly adding to our puppy pen supplies as we learn from each litter what else we should include.
- AKC Litter Registration
- AKC Individual Dog Registration: We pay for this and send the forms on behalf of the new owners.
- Puppy Packet: These go home with every puppy, and include copies of all health tests on the parents, litter development sheets, temperament test results, toys, bones, poop bags, leash, collar, starter supply of green food supplement, diet sheet, training information, Zoom Groom, copies of helpful dog care articles, and the folder/bag to hold it all.
- AVID Microchip and Implantation: Microchips are registered to us as the purchasers; puppy owners can enroll in a recovery database at their option.
- Cardiologist Evaluation: Our puppies are evaluated for heart murmurs by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist at 8 weeks of age, with follow-ups if necessary.
- Wellness Exam: Each puppy receives a general wellness exam before going to their new homes. Inter-state transport certificates are obtained, if necessary.
- Vaccinations: We provide minimal vaccinations and may not do any before the puppies leave.
- DNA Testing (DM and ARVC-1): Sometimes we can determine the puppies' DNA status based on their parents' results; if not, we will DNA test the puppies.
- Unpaid Time: Typically whelping and raising a litter involves some unpaid time off work, which can add up quickly.
- Utilities: We experience increased gas, electric, and water bills with a litter, to keep the puppies warm and clean.
- Transportation: Our puppies travel for vet checks, hither and yon for evaluations by handlers, other breeders, etc., as well as for play dates, new adventures in different environments, and overnight stays away from home.
- Various and Sundry: There are surely some other things I've forgotten in this long list!
With all that said, we should also clarify that we do not determine pricing on a per-litter basis -- we can see the logic in that approach, but there are too many variables for us to feel comfortable with it. What if there is only one puppy in the litter -- would we charge the $4,000-5,000 it cost us for that "litter"? What if there are six puppies, three of which are set to go to show homes, and at the last minute one of the show homes falls through and we end up selling that puppy as a pet, at a lower price -- would we increase the price of the other puppies up to make up the difference? You see the difficulty. Instead, we figure our pricing on an expectation of six puppies per litter, one of which we will keep. Sometimes we will have more puppies, and come out a little ahead of our expenses -- which money of course goes right back into our breeding program in some way or another -- and sometimes we will have fewer puppies and lose a little on a breeding. Overall, we hope that we'll end up breaking even.
We also offer refunds or rebates for our puppy buyers, which are impossible to predict at the time we determine puppy pricing. We do not require surgical sterilization on our non-breeding contracts, but if the buyers choose to do so our contract provides for a refund of a portion of the purchase price to cover some of the costs of this surgey. We offer rebates for certifications and/or titles earned by our puppies. We also have some conditions in our health and return warranties that include a refund provision.
We hope this information helps give you an insight into how we price our puppies. Our prices are slightly higher than other responsible breeders in our area, because we do more with our puppies and keep them longer, but they are lower than many less-responsible or careless breeders in the area. We spend quite a lot of time talking with other breeders about pricing, and discussing what we feel is fair to both the buyer and the breeder.