How much is that doggy in the advert?

During post scan discussions, the subject of puppy price is generally raised...

During post scan discussions, the subject of puppy price is generally raised. Some clients, particularly those new to breeding, will ask me my thoughts on their expectations with regards to puppy fees.  I try my best, in the main, to remain impartial.  After all, it’s not for me to comment on or judge as to what people would like to receive for their babies come their 8 week birthday.  I do however tend to offer the same advice, no matter the breed.

Don’t under sell yourself, for the work and cost you intend to put into your pups, don’t then offer them as the cheapest of that breed on the market.   Some breeders feel that to get ahead of the rat race they should advertise their puppies cheap as chips to secure a home before someone else on “pets for homes” or some other equally as over used internet or social media site does.  I don’t feel this is the case, I think if the psychology of it is assessed, the type of homes you pick up at such a low level aren’t generally the best pet home you’d want your pup to be in.  By the same token, pitch your puppy price too high, you risk pricing yourself out of a good home and into the realms where only breeders and those who wish to make money from your pup to try and recover their costs are even slightly interested.  Price the pups too low, and people assume they’re inadequate or something is wrong and pass by your advert.

The current climate with the pandemic and lockdown in place has sent puppy sales and enquiries through the roof!  We as breeders  generally receive 4/5 enquiries a week.  At the minute we are reaching ten enquiries a day on some days and no less than 4 a day om others.  I’ve noticed generally this has pushed the price of a pup upwards even with the cross breeds with 3 or 4 different breeds clear in their heritage.

There are a number of current “high profile” breeds that are commanding a high price label themselves.  If you take a peep at any of the websites where the sale of animals is allowed you’ll find all sorts of breeds advertised at £5000 + with descriptions such as “rare” and “desirable”  or “exotic” and from “fantastic bloodlines” from far out places such as Russia, America and the eastern countries.  Particularly in recent years where it seems to be quite  easy to bring a dog in from abroad or ship and inseminate semen cross continent.

French Bulldogs seem to have been the breed of choice for breeders looking to cash in on a trend for the last few years with “rare” colours raising upwards of £3000 per pup although I do feel buyers are becoming more savvy in what is now a “buyer’s market” and this is pushing puppy prices back down in this particular breed to what is generally viewed as a more acceptable level again.

American Bullies, XL bullies and Pocket bullies have become a raging success in the UK in recent years too. An imported breed mainly from America, the Pocket and XL versions of the Standard American bulldog are determined by their build and achieve AKC registrations based on their breed standard height much like the standard, miniature and toy poodles of The Kennel Club world.  These breeds are regularly advertised by smaller breeders for upward of £3000 with show and experienced kennels commanding 5 figure sums for puppies and stud fees.  

I have met 100’s of breeders of bullies and cross breeds and everything in between in my role and it fascinates me learning about the “new” breeds and the work that some breed communities do with regards to health testing and exclusivity within their breed.

One thing that really does amaze me is who decides how many pounds and pence the breed commands?  For example the pocket, xl and standard bullies? I guess with high import fee’s for good quality breeding lines from the US and elsewhere, the newness of the breed to this country and the obvious costs associated with breeding in general I’m sure these animals are very worth their price.  Each of the dogs I’ve worked with so far have been of sound temperament and health and I admit I have a sneaky soft spot for the pocket bullies, being much like our own breed the bulldog in temperament.  I do wonder if the breed became populated like the French bulldog however, will this push the price down a spiral in a similar way ?

I personally think WE as consumers push our price tags high.  Years ago I worked in telephone holidays.  One of the first things we were taught is that the more you search for one particular type of holiday, the cookies or whatever those little gremlins are called that live within all of our technology track the clicks and you inadvertently push your own price up.  With more clicks on the one flight path, the more the holiday price will climb.  I think puppy popularity and prices follow the same path.  The more interest shown in a particular breed the more we allow our heads not see the inflation.

Is this what’s happening now in times of pandemic? So many people are now working from home or finding themselves enjoying their hour a day exercise tedious without a furry friend on a lead to take with them, that the general public’s enthusiasm for getting a dog, and getting one now, is pushing prices up with even a small cross breed now commanding a minimum of £1000 fee.

I’m not sure its such a bad thing.  What price do we put on a LIFE, whatever the breed. We as consumers can easily spend a few hundred pounds on a whim or a night out, spending upwards of £1000 we may well think through harder the implications of that spend.  I this case, getting a dog for life rather than a whim that’s cheap and can be passed on when we are bored?

One things for sure,  should we be complimented on our dress, pair of shoes or latest handbag, we can’t wait to tell the complementor “it was only £5 in Primark..”
When someone asks about our new addition to the end of our lead however we can’t wait to boast the pound signs the pooch comes with.  Its then, right then, that we inadvertently belt out the line “how much is that doggy in the window …” and the next phase of breed popularity rings out KERCHING…!!!!!

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