Jaw-dropping information, all...Makes me wonder how we lucked out with Little Guy, from our great Delaware breeder (please come out of retirement? Please?). I've spoken with breeders who have no questions for me (which makes me wonder; I'm happy to be scrutinized...shows me the breeder cares about where the puppy is headed) to those who want references, an application, a conversation with our vet, and to make a home visit. That last, by the way, though demanding, was the least expensive of the breeders I've spoken with (one pup died in utero; breeder kept the other...oh well).
I'm aware that one can only control for so much, and then it's just...luck/faith/whatever. Hmmmm.
Lots of anxiety over finding another 12-14 pounds featuring deep brown-eyed gaze, wet nose and a happy tail.
Just another bit of perspective on the cost of RAISING puppies... A good friend of mine recently had a litter, and I've been lucky to be involved from helping with the whelping on. She bought FOUR bitches before she had one she could breed. One had hip dysplasia... It has never bothered the dog, herself, but obviously the decision was made to spay her. Another came from a line that later turned out to have liver problems and although she never has, the decision was made to spay her without breeding also. The third, imported from Europe at high costs, had mild dysplasia AND cataracts... Again, spayed and placed in a pet home where she's doing great. Her 4th bitch, also imported, passed all her health clearances (but now there are FOUR sets of health clearances paid for, not even counting the sire, who passed everything first time) The sire was shown to his championship... Even more expensive because she needed to use a professional handler, the bitch is pointed, but hasn't finished yet.
Then you have all the repro vet costs... not cheap. 6 Healthy puppies, fortunately, without the need of vet intervention which, of course would have boosted the total more. Next the well-puppy vet needs as they grew, including worming, and very soon, their first shots. TODAY, we took them to the Veterinary hospital at the university for the BAER (hearing) tests. That was $600 right there. These puppies were all sold for $2500 (and she had a waiting list of other people who wanted them also) When all is said and done, I am SURE that my friend didn't even break even financially on this litter, and that doesn't count her endless hours of work, or the cost of all the equipment required to whelp and raise a litter at all.
You might think that it's poor luck (or poor decisions) that she had 3 bitches first that she couldn't use (and in each case bought and raised those dogs until they were at least 2 and ready for their adult X-rays). But this isn't at all uncommon. I know MANY breeders who start with a puppy that they have high hopes for, and the bite goes off, or it doesn't have the conformation it should at maturity, or doesn't pass one of its heart clearances... Those costs are "hidden" costs in every litter that is produced.
Another friend (the breeder of my girl, Panda) had just one litter. Again, had to do all the health clearances on the parents, but had a totally uneventful pregnancy... Except that the bitch was carrying ELEVEN puppies, and labor stalled. The night spent in the ER getting those puppies delivered, and trying to save the lives of the two that didn't make it was very, VERY costly. I don't begrudge good breeders once cent of what they charge.