There’s a lot of contention about how much a puppy should be worth, or how much should your Aussie cost, and the goal of this article is to help you make choices about how much you should be willing to pay.
Aussies, as of this writing, generally go for between $200 – $2500, and the range of quality is a little different than what you’d expect.
First, lets talk about health clearances:
- Not every breeder does every clearance, and not every breeder NEEDs to. A good outline for what is currently acceptable is found at ASGHI’s Health Testing Protocol link.
- Assuming a dog is bred at the end of the protocol, and using only the mandatory tests as outlined in the link above, you’re looking at about $1000 in testing, at least, per breeding animal.
- A dog with health clearances doesn’t guarantee that it won’t produce problems, but it shows that the breeder cares enough about the health of his or her animals that it significantly drops the likelihood that a dog will have health problems compared to a breeder that does no testing.
Let’s talk lifestyle:
- Top show dogs have expenses that get them there: professional handlers, top of the line grooming supplies, show entries, campaign ads, etc. If your dog is winning Best in Show consistently in AKC, you can bet that dog isn’t being raised on a shoestring budget, and if you want the same for your dog, you’ll need to pay for the leg up in name, pedigree, and quality that got its parents there.
- Interestingly, top stockdogs generally go for a lot less, though I think, again, it has more to do with lifestyle. Trialing isn’t cheap, and neither are lessons, but it’s cheaper than what showdog people have to do to get to the same level of success. Moreover, people who get into stockdogs are generally going to have a more modest budget to spend on a good puppy than someone with the backing to sponsor a fancy show dog.
- There are also breeders that demand the best quality of life for their dogs: regular visits to alternative health care practitioners, clinics for their sport of choice, raw-fed diets, and more. These people expect a certain quality of life for their dogs and they will spend what it takes – and generally price their dogs to a level where their puppy buyers will feel comfortable spending that amount as well for the level of support and knowledge these breeders provide.
- Middle of the road breeders might do health clearances and take good care of their dogs, but the pricing will generally be mid range simply because the dogs are mid-range and not as expensive to keep up.
- Bottom pricing usually comes from breeders who are either not doing a lot in the lifestyle department (backyard breeders, hobby breeders, and new breeders) and don’t expect much from their puppy buyers as well.
So, absolutely, in dogs as in most things, you will get what you pay for. Determining where you come in at is fair for both you and the breeder.