Dog Price: How to Set it Without Accidentally Losing Money

Dog Price: How to Set it Without Accidentally Losing Money

Author WDF Staff


To be a dog breeder, we often wonder how much to charge for our puppies. Declaring a price based on what other breeders are doing is the worst way to price each puppy in a litter. However, you cannot just pick a price and demand people to simply pay it without asking any questions about how you came up with it in the first place.

Setting the correct price for your puppies is the only way to keep breeding high-quality, healthy dogs and avoid losing money or making a profit at the same time. Puppies that are overpriced and undersold will result in a financial disaster for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, many breeders offer their final puppies at a discount to the first customers who come across them in an effort to sell. Puppies that remain last find themselves in unchecked families where they are at a high probability of being abandoned or left at a local shelter.

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When determining a dog price, a variety of expenses must be considered:

For the sake of this article, we'll refer to these costs as litter production costs, costs of running a responsible and successful kennel, and the puppy coefficient.

chocolate lab puppy

Here's how to determine the most optimal price for dogs from your litter.

Costs of producing a litter

Puppies might cost differently, and you will need to open a tracking Excel sheet where you will enter all the costs that you have already paid for and that are still expected to come up.

You can see some examples listed below but bear in mind that each breeder has different needs, and additional costs may apply.

Breeding dog costs

Parents' health screenings are the first expenditures related to the litter. In general, this is an essential cost of producing a litter. You should never ever pick breeding dogs that haven't been thoroughly checked by a reputable veterinarian.

Mating costs

Some breeders only own one of the dogs needed for breeding, in most cases, the bitch. That means you'll need to find a good sire to match your dam's genetics. Breeders who want to use your dog for their own breeding purposes may charge you between $100 and several thousand dollars for a one-time mating fee.

corgi puppy

The "stud fee" is determined by several factors, including the male's quality and performance in previous matings or competitions. As an alternative, some breeders do not want money. Instead, they will demand the "first pick" in the new litter. In other words, they'll go through the litter and pick out the puppy for themselves - first.

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Mating organization costs

A breeding operation (the physical act of coitus) must be organized once suitable mates have been selected, which means additional expenditure.

You must first know when the bitch is in heat and ready, and trusted hormone tests can tell you when the bitch reached the right stage. You can do these tests in your own home or in your vet's clinic. You just need to know how these tests are performed and how much they cost.

Setting up a meeting with a breeding partner for your dog is the next step after determining she's ready. Semen can either be taken from the stud, sent to you, and inseminated in your bitch's uterus, or you can organize a meeting at a specific location. That means you will have to travel or accommodate the sire and his owner. 

The stud's breeder and you, the bitch's owner, must sign a contract outlining the specifics of the transaction. As a result, if someone isn't meeting their responsibilities, the contract has everything defined.

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Pregnant bitch's costs

Ideally, your dog's pregnancy caught on, and you are ready for the next steps. The mother's needs will be vastly different during the 63 days of gestation. Those needs, and your costs, will be:

  • Specific nutrition and supplementation plan 
  • Supplements for preventing developmental deficiencies
  • Pregnancy-related visits to the veterinarian
  • Whelping kit 
  • Whelping box to ensure a safe delivery spot
  • Deworming prior to the delivery

dachshund puppy

Here is a short list of things you can expect to purchase for your dog while she's pregnant.

Vet costs and post-pregnancy care

You'll have a couple more expenditures to deal with after your dam safely brings your puppies into the world.

Some breeders will quickly get a dog trainer's services to begin socializing and training the puppies, but most breeders do not do it.

Puppies, their mother, and postpartum care contribute to postnatal expenses. And the longer you keep the puppies, the more expensive these expenses become.

They are as follows:

  • Whelping kit
  • Vet visits
  • Whelping box
  • Feeding
  • Supplements
  • Training

husky puppy

A significant portion of the postnatal budget is allocated to the mother's and the litter's nutrition and supplementation. Vet visits and vaccinations are the next most important thing you can do for your pet.

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Beginning care packages

An excellent puppy pack will be ready for all individuals that buy a dog from you unless you decide to leave your buyers on their own. In your puppy care packages, you can include as many inexpensive but useful items as you like or only the basic but slightly more expensive and larger ones. In any case, don't forget to add these bundles to your final tally.

Costs of running a kennel

A kennel will inevitably incur various costs if it is started and operated in an ethical and responsible manner. These expenses may be one-time-only and, therefore, should not be included in your grand total. In contrast, others are constantly necessary and must be included.

  • Nutrition - It is a year-round cost; dog breeders spend the most money on food and supplements for their dogs
  • Health care - Vaccinations, physical examinations, and at-home remedies are all aspects of good health
  • Grooming needs - Nail clipping, bathing, brushing, ear cleaning
  • Basic equipment - Crates, kennels, dog clippers, water bowls, collars, and leads are necessary
  • Cleaning supplies - Keeping the environment clean and bacteria-free is an essential part of running a successful kennel
  • Insurance - When it comes to health insurance and minor accidents, you should always plan ahead
  • Event costs - Event and competition tickets for your kennel that you purchase in order to raise awareness of your establishment
  • Registration costs - Registration of the new puppies and other fees for various clubs
  • Marketing costs - Promotional costs such as Google ads, Facebook marketing, banner ads, and more (Or simply register with World Dog Finder and post as many puppies as you want after paying an affordable one-time registration fee)


You'll need to factor in additional costs, especially if you're breeding working or special service dogs. Therapy dogs, for example, require a precise training regimen that must be followed from an early age. In most cases, this is done by paying a third-party provider of training services.

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Add up all of these expenses — both for producing a litter and running a responsible kennel with great breeding practices included — to arrive at a final figure that takes into account all reasonable costs.

Market consideration

If you continue taking on extraneous costs, you might pay too much for the benefits your new puppies will provide their owners.

Because of this, responsible breeders should weigh their starting dog price against the market.

Mind the local market

In most cases, practical breeders will sell the puppies to their immediate community. However, the term "community" means different things to different people. Some decide to sell in their whole state, city, or the whole country. It is really just a matter of your preference and goals.

You need to know what buyers are ready to pay for dogs of the same breed; and how much your competition asks for their puppies.

sleeping puppy

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Because we don't know for sure the prices shown in ads are the amounts buyers actually spent after negotiation, you should not consider them as final. Nevertheless, if puppies have no trouble reaching a price, say $2,000, it's possible breeders could either lose money or could actually earn more by charging more money for their puppies. All it takes is deducing the best price point for your "product."

You should consider the other side, as well. Buyers tend to look at a higher puppy's price as a good sign. Some buyers, for example, exhibited fascinating behavior. They are looking nearly exclusively for puppies that go for a lot of money. They believe that a higher price guarantees that puppies come from the best breeding lines. This proves that pricing your puppies too low does not guarantee you will sell them quickly.


The only advantage certain dog breeders have is the cuteness of their puppies. Others have a secret ingredient that allows them to charge prices far above market value or even exorbitantly so.

There's a market for those types of dog breeders. Prices rise as soon as the demand for the puppies rises. If there are 10 interested buyers but only 5 available puppies, the price will be higher. It's the fundamental economic law of supply and demand. It applies to everything from dogs to stocks, cars, and tech.

welsh-corgi-pembroke puppy playing

You can build your reputation and demand by building a solid online presence and cultivating a loyal fan base. Using social media and the internet when your dog is already pregnant might be too late for many breeders. Begin a year-long campaign to build interest even before the litter of your pups arrives so that when you announce it, people will be queuing up to get a chance to grab one of the new pups.

Puppy coefficient

There's one thing we're missing: the puppy coefficient!

Choosing a fair price for the puppies you produced should now be a piece of cake. Divide the total cost by the number of puppies you produced. That should give you the exact minimum price you should not go under. Then compare that price to the market, and if you properly built your reputation, you can increase that price a couple of times.

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So, what should the final dog price be?

As a breeder, you must account for everything that was included for you to produce that litter. Depending on a dog's rarity, for example, the first price you set may need to be adjusted.

You don't have to worry about losing money because you will now know the exact price you should be selling your puppies for. Puppy's price and your profit could rise or fall based on the market or your own reputation-building efforts.

When it comes to pricing your puppies, this is precisely how you should do it.

World Dog Finder team

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