The biggest issue that I get with people is why my puppies cost so much. I understand that people must think with their wallets a lot of the time but in terms of buying from a responsible breeder expect to pay at least $1,000 for a puppy regardless of quality or breed. Hamiltonstovare generally fall into 2 categories, one is imported and the other is native born. The imported Hamiltonstovare will ALWAYS cost more than the native born. A breeder in the UK or Sweden may charge between $1,000 to $2,000 for a puppy but that does not include the cost to get the dog to the states. Currently the average cost to bring a 14 week old (the youngest that they can legally travel) Hamiltonstovare is around $1,200 and the price goes up exponentially as the dog gets older. So if you want to budget for a 4-6 month old Hamiltonstovare to be brought over, plan on spending close to $5,000 with all of the various costs from the breeder, the shipping agency, the vet fees, microchip, flight crate (which will be different than their home crate), and any other thing you can think of.
This blog will focus on what and why native born Hamiltonstovare puppies that are AKC and UKC registered will always cost between $2,000 and $3,000 per puppy. My next litter will be $3,000 a puppy and the reason behind it is complex. The first thing that I must factor in the cost for AI (Artificial Insemination) is high, at the low estimates for shipping from Sweden and the insemination process is around $3,000. I am planning on doing a c-section for Alice as she needed an emergency c-section with her last litter and that is around $1,500 including the ultrasounds and x-rays leading up to the c-section. So already prior to the puppies being born the cost is close to $5,000. Thankfully, I already have a good whelping box and liner, however I am planning on implementing a few new changes to the whelping area that will cost about $100 to do.
The rough estimates to keep a litter of 4-5 puppies alive is around $100 a week. I keep my puppies for a minimum of 10 weeks so that they can have the maximum amount of socialization and human interaction possible. So that is $1,000 just to keep the puppies and the mother alive. That does not include any vaccinations, socialization trips, puppy evaluations, toys, etc.
According to my calculations to keep a litter of 4-5 puppies alive, socialized, with proper vet care from conception to new homes is close to $8,000. This again is not factoring in for the amount of money and time I spend on showing the mother to the level that she is at, nor does it factor in any health testing done on either parent. The sire of the litter has also been shown extensively in Europe, so that is not factored in at all. Also, a stud fee has not been factored in either as customarily it is either a fee or a puppy. So, lets put things into perspective, I am planning on keeping a puppy, the stud owner gets a puppy and there's only 2-3 puppies left to sell. With me charging $3,000 a puppy, that's a net loss of $2,000 for a litter of 4 and a possible slight profit of $1,000 for a litter of 5.
If I were to factor in things like cost of showing, import of the mother, care and maintenance of the mother then for a litter of 5, I'd be at a loss of over $5,000 at a conservative estimated minimum. The idea or concept that breeders make money with their puppies is just not true. If I wanted to make money from my puppy sales then I'd have to charge close to $6,000 a puppy at minimum and that just isn't fair. I do not believe in charging the same as horse for a dog. I also do not price differentiate between males, females or for quality. It costs the same amount of money to raise each puppy regardless of gender or quality. I do have various levels of contracts though that will stipulate how that puppy is to be raised and just because I charge $3,000, that does not mean that you can breed the dog at all or to anything. My pet quality contracts stipulate a spay/neuter to be done on the dog after the growth plates have closed by a licensed vet for males and after the first heat cycle and close of growth plates for females. My breeding/show/performance quality contracts strictly forbid spay/neuter unless it is medically necessary (ie pyometra, testicular torsion, cancer, etc.) however that decision must be made by a licensed veterinarian and I must be informed of the procedure by the owner with vet records proving the medical need for it. My breeding/show/performance quality contracts also stipulate that any breeding must be consulted by me prior to any breeding or agreements being made of any kind. I want to make sure that my line of Hamiltonstovare is known for being the very best and I want to ensure that going forward. I take these items very seriously and place financial penalties on these items on my contracts.
I understand that spending a lot of money up front for a puppy can be difficult but the school of thought at play here is that spending $3,000 up front now will actually save you money throughout the span of the dog's life. All of my puppies come with a 1 year health guarantee against any congenital issues, so throughout the first year of life all you have to pay for is the puppy price, well puppy vet costs and basic care/training.
I am going to explain next why it is so important to be willing to spend the money up front because if you don't, you could easily spend 10 times that if you are not careful. At the same time that I got Alice, a relative of mine got a backyard bred Golden Retriever who was already 18 months old. This dog did not come from health tested parents nor did it come from parents with any titles at all. This dog was also spayed way too young. As a result, this dog had to have multiple expensive surgeries, and unfortunately had to be put down due to an aggressive and preventable genetic disease. Her owners spent over $30,000 in the dog's lifetime in medical bills alone. To put that into perspective I have spent less than $10,000 in the lifetime of 6 dogs for medical bills spanning the same amount of time. This person had consulted with me prior to obtaining the dog and I advised them to go to a responsible breeder but they refused to pay the puppy price. So instead of paying $2,000 for a well bred puppy, they spent over $30,000 on a poorly bred dog only to have the dog live less than the breed's average lifespan.
So $3,000 for a healthy puppy or a lifetime of vet and/or training bills that will total far in excess of what any responsible breeder would ever charge? You decide.