It's that time of year again. No, not awful Christmas music in shops (in NOVEMBER!!!). It's the time of year when we advertise a litter is coming and we start getting phone calls, emails, texts and PMs opening the conversation with "what does one of your puppies cost"?
We are always wary of people who start the conversation with money, and not because we eschew those who need to budget or have any particular prejudice against being broke. We breed dogs. Trust me - we get broke!
The problem is that the question denotes a certain lack of consideration about the ongoing cost of having a pet, of which the purchase price is just a relatively tiny competent. Even if you're buying a top of the line dog like ours, it' still likely to make up less than 10% of the cost of a dog over its lifetime.
The above infograph does a pretty good job of explaining the ongoing costs, but it doesn't factor in emergencies - dog gets grabbed by a larger dog at the park, hit by a car, eats the earbuds of your iPhone, etc. - which can easily add up to thousands of dollars in a very short space of time.
It is for this reason we don't let people "pay off" their puppy, either. If the purchase price is beyond a potential owner, what happens when a month after they get their puppy, it chases the cat up the cat tower and falls off, breaking a leg? Surgery to repair a fragile broken bone would start at $3000, more if it requires specialist treatment, then ongoing physio and the vet clinic is likely to ask for upfront payment. The only options, if an owner can't afford expensive surgery, might be amputation or euthanasia.
The solution, of course, is to insure the dog, so you don't have to worry about it, but if you have to save for the purchase price, do you have the $60-$100 a month to cover the insurance?
These costs are not unique to our dogs. Even a rescue puppy will cost the same over its lifetime, but if someone is shopping for a discount dog, we have to wonder if they have thought this through, considered the cost and can provide adequately for the dog for its entire life. We think everyone should be able to enjoy the love of a Chihuahua, but sadly, just as not everyone can afford to have kids, not everyone can afford to have furkids, either.