Why Are Dogs So Expensive?

Mira Gibson

If you’ve begun your journey to find your next furry friend, you may have noticed that the retail price of some purebred, designer hybrid, and even regular mutts are jaw-droppingly expensive.

Is “jaw-droppingly” a word? It is now!

Some purebred puppies come with a shocking price tag of $8,000! 

You might be thinking, what the heck is going on? Does the puppy come with a bag of gold? What’s the deal here? Why are puppies so expensive?

The first conclusion you might draw is that pet retailers and private sellers are suffering from a serious greed problem… 

But hold your horses. Not so fast. There are actually many reasons why dogs are so expensive, and those reasons might not be what you expect. 

In this article, PuppyBuddy will break down those reasons, and walk you through how and why dogs became so pricey. 


In order to ensure the health and welfare of breeding dogs and their litters of puppies, veterinarians must be involved in every step of the breeding process. Retaining and paying for an on-site and on-call veterinarian, or several, is quite costly.

Having veterinarians tend to puppies can cost breeders thousands of dollars per month, and that doesn’t include the actual services that those vets provide. The breeders also pay for tests, treatments, and vaccinations for the parent dogs and puppies. Prenatal, natal, and postnatal care all come with associated fees, which the breeders pay for. 

Ultimately, these costs impact the price of a puppy. Other costs associated with providing excellent living conditions, nutrition, and care also impact the price of a puppy, which we’ll get into in detail. 

But for now, it’s important that you bear in mind that an “expensive” puppy is an indication that the puppy has received excellent care during his time at the breeding kennel. Whereas, a “cheap” puppy is an indication of how much money the breeder spent, or didn’t spend. 

Here are some rough estimates to give you a general sense of how pricey breeding puppies can be…  

Costs Associated with Preparing a Mother Dog to Birth a Litter:

  • Thyroid Panel $195
  • Vet Exam $39
  • Medical Waste Fee $5
  • OFA Recording Fee $15
  • CAER Exam $70
  • OFA Recording Fee $12
  • Degenerative Myelopathy Test $65
  • Orthopedic X-rays for Hips $207
  • Orthopedic X-rays for Elbows $103
  • Patellar Luxation Exam $20
  • Vet Exam $26
  • Pre-anesthetic Blood Work $75
  • IV Catheter Set-Up $26
  • Sedation for X-rays and Reversing Agent $87
  • OFA Recording Fee for Hips and Elbows $40
  • OFA Recording Fee for Patellas $15

TOTAL: $1,000

  • Prenatal Veterinary care
  • Ultrasound to confirm pregnancy
  • X-Ray to estimate litter number

TOTAL: $500

As you can see, those expenses really add up. And the medical care doesn’t end when the mother dog gives birth. In fact, that’s just the beginning. Once a litter of puppies is born, each puppy will receive individualized health care to ensure that he remains healthy and develops properly. 


Responsible, ethical breeding kennels use on-site and on-call veterinarians, as we mentioned in the last section of this article. We’ll now go over all of the necessary tests and treatments that puppies receive throughout their 8 weeks of nursing and weaning. Of course, these too impact the retail cost of a puppy.  

New Puppies Require Frequent Health Care that Breeders Foot the Bill For:

  • Eye-screening $350
  • Veterinary checkup to rule out congenital defects $199
  • Puppy vaccinations $230
  • Registration fees $25
  • Microchipping $50
  • Genetic testing $129

TOTAL: $983

What you can infer from this information so far is that when you come across a puppy for sale at less than $1,000, you can be sure that the puppy has not received the basic health care requirements during his 8-weeks to ensure his long-term welfare. If you purchase a “cheap puppy,” you’ll have to wonder how much you’ll end up spending on veterinary bills in the weeks, months, and years after taking the puppy home.


The headline of this section might sound far-fetched, but we assure you, it’s not hyperbole. These days, a truly ethical dog breeder will be operating a state-of-the-art facility. Building and maintaining these kinds of facilities is expensive, and the costs are then folded into the price of the puppies being sold. 

The breeders that PuppyBuddy works with specifically must meet our high-standard criteria for ethical animal treatment, which means that their facilities must be state-of-the art, and include: 

  • Providing breeding dogs and litters with indoor space requirements
  • Outdoor space requirements
  • Veterinarian health care and check ups
  • Socialization with visitors and plenty of daily exercise
  • Temperature-controlled interior HVAC systems
  • Nutritious food and fresh water
  • Appropriate bathing and grooming frequency
  • Necessarily vaccinations administered on an appropriate timeline by on-site consulting veterinarians

All of these amenities can add up, and the expenses that the breeder incurs directly impact the wholesale price that we, as a pet store, spend to obtain the puppies. Then, in order for us to cover their own expenses, the retail price of a puppy goes up even more. 

In order to confirm that the breeding kennels we work with are consistently maintaining the highest level of puppy care that we require, our staff frequently and regularly visits the kennels, more often than not as “surprise visits.” 

It also happens to be the case that the majority of kennels we work with also have an open door policy that allows the general public to visit their kennels, too. This provides an added layer of consumer trust, and also provides an added layer of socialization for the puppies!


If you’re considering getting your next puppy from PuppyBuddy, we’ll be the first to tell you that our puppies are not cheap. But hopefully, now that you’ve read this article, you’ll have a new attitude towards expensive purebred puppies. 

That being said, we don’t expect you to take our word for it when it comes to the high-quality care our breeders provide. We can validate our claims showing proof, documentation, and the kennels themselves. Just stop by our Boca Raton location to learn the details! 

To give you a basic overview, here are our promises: 

  • Pet stores like ours are the safest place to buy a puppy. We comply with all local, state, and federal regulations. Additionally, we have set standards for our stores that go above and beyond government and industry standards.
  • We’re also the best in the business when it comes to providing a great, healthy environment for our pets before they go home. Petland uses spacious kennels maintained according to standards set by licensed professional veterinarians.
  • A veterinarian examines every puppy before it goes home, and a potential customer is able to see the puppy’s health records before every purchase.


At PuppyBuddy, you can feel confident our puppies have been taken care of to the highest standards of care. Maintaining such high standards comes with additional costs, but at PuppyBuddy we simply do not cut corners when it comes to the health and well-being of our puppies.

Strict and intensive processes for care can be found in each of our stores. They include:

  • Trained Animal Care Technicians monitor the weight, temperature, and feeding habits of each puppy every day. Any inconsistencies are noted and reported to the store veterinarian.
  • PuppyBuddy puppies are dewormed and vaccinated, too.
  • PuppyBuddy pet counselors educate the customer on the importance of spay / neuter procedures and often provide discounts and / or incentives to the customer.


It’s our mission to match the right owners with the right puppies, and we make sure that every one of our pets is ready to be a great part of your family with our protection programs:

  • PuppyBudy stores provide a Puppy Health Warranty – which covers health and hereditary concerns.
  • PuppyBudy puppies are automatically enrolled in our Puppy for a Lifetime Program. This means PuppyBuddy will provide you with a puppy for the rest of your life! Ask a Pet Advisor for more details.
  • PuppyBuddy also provides 6 weeks of free dog training when you take home a PuppyBuddy puppy!

As you can see, it’s quite expensive to properly breed puppies in a manner that ensures they receive the highest quality health care and are housed in comfortable, climate controlled facilities with access to outdoor spaces where they can run and explore. 

These costs directly impact the retail price of a puppy. 

What you should also know is that inexpensive puppies are often a reflection that a breeder has not provided the puppies with adequate care. The cost of a puppy is always a reflection of how much money a breeder has spent to breed and care for the puppies. 

So, if you come across a cheap puppy, unfortunately it could be a red flag that the puppy has not received adequate health care. The puppy might not have received vaccinations, deworming, check-ups, or even proper nutrition. These puppies could have diseases that cripple or kill them later on in puppyhood. This can be devastating for new puppy parents. 

We recommend that as you research where to get your next puppy, don’t automatically discount a pet store or private seller just because the price of a puppy is high. If anything, this is a good sign that the puppies they’re selling have been well-cared for. 

In this instance, you can pick up the phone, ask them questions about the breeding kennels, and visit the puppies in person to see the paperwork records of their veterinarian check-ups throughout the breeding and weaning weeks. 

You can learn a lot about a puppy’s health history simply by asking the right questions. If you do, then you’ll quickly learn that when it comes to puppies and many other things in life, you really do get what you pay for!