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The cost of breeding healthy dogs

Updated: Nov 14, 2019


Anybody with a male and female dog can call themselves a breeder and sell you a puppy. A properly health tested puppy, however, comes at cost. It starts with testing the health of both parents and continues through the mating, pregnancy and rearing of the litter. "Vet checked" is not health testing. It is the bare minimum any reasonable person might do, and should not be confused with the extensive health care provided by an Accredited Breeder.

Remember, a Chihuahua giving birth to 4 average sized pups (@125 grams) is the equivalent of a 70kg woman giving birth to 4 11lb babies! We are acutely aware of the dangers of whelping and rearing pups, and take every precaution we can to prevent harm to the mother or her babies.

Health testing costs include DNA testing to ensure both parents are clear of genetic conditions. It means annually certifying both parents' hearts and patellas are clear and a specialist eye examination to exclude eye issues common in Chihuahuas. All of these certificates are available for you to see but this testing runs to about $300 per dog per year.

It can mean a stud fee of more than a $1000 for a healthy, suitable sire, even more if frozen semen is used from an imported sire to improve the genetic diversity of our narrow gene pool.

The bitch will be scanned at 28 days to confirm pregnancy and x-rayed around 55 days so the heads of the pups can be measured to ensure they will fit through the birth canal. If not, then a Caesarian is certain which can cost anywhere from $900 but usually costs more because naturally, the bitch will go into labour at the worst possible moment- 2:30 am on a public holiday is a popular time - in which case the delivery could cost more than $2000.

The mother will also require nutritional supplements, calcium and additional feeding throughout her gestation and following the birth. We literally do not leave the side of our bitches for the first three weeks after the pups are born, to ensure the mother does not fall ill from milk fever or a calcium deficiency. (We don't even factor the cost of this 24 hour veterinary care into the calculation)

Before a single pup is born, the cost can be approaching $4000 for a properly health tested litter where the mother receives gold-standard care. Consider what a backyard breeder must spend on health care when they sell their pups for $800-$1250 and are still making a profit.

Assuming the pups require minimal medical intervention to thrive, they will still need to be vaccinated at 8 and 12 weeks, micro-chipped and registered with the NZKC and the CAR. This will cost another $200-$300 per puppy.

In addition to the above, our pups come with their own airline approved crate, show lead, bed and handbook, training lead and personalised blanket along with a lifetime re-homing guarantee. If you live locally in Christchurch we also offer a boarding service. Your dog can come back and stay with us rather than putting them into a boarding kennel if you are going away on holiday or into hospital, etc., provided we are not away showing during that time.

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