I used to try and reason with people about such a notion. That "greeders" as the animal rights activists would say aren't actually making tons of money off breeding puppies. I know a handful of breeders. None of them are making a living at this. The drive-thru window operator at McDonalds makes more money, and if they are full time the get benefits. There is no such thing as "full time" in responsible dog breeding. There is "all the time" plus "on call." I'll show you how this works.
You start with one awesome dog. You pay for a fully registered dog, either AKC or UKC or some other reputable registration. That would NOT include the Continental Kennel Club or American Pet Registry. If you breed for one of those you can punch yourself in the face for me. Thanks.
You paid, if you are lucky like me, $1000 for that dog in 2010. And you train it, feed it, buy it cool toys that it will just destuff and poop out on the yard. You get health testing done like hip x-rays ($200) and elbow x-rays ($200) and a heart auscultation ($210) and eye check ($50.00) and thyroid panel ($150) and then you send all those results to OFA to publish and you pay them to put it on a website for the whole world to see ($65). And you go to a couple shows or competitions to earn a title, each costing roughly $30. It takes between 3-5 successful competitions to get the title and then you have to pay the AKC or the UKC to recognize that you did receive the title. That is another $25. There is training fees from professional courses around $100 a pop, and then gas and lodging to leave the State to compete. By the time your dog is old enough to breed you have put a minimum of $3000 in, and that doesn't capture the gas, the food, the regular vet care. If you wait longer to breed like me, that just ads up. If you "compete" in search and rescue, don't bother to count. Its around $12,000 a year. And Juno did that for 5 years.
So my search and rescue time gets written off in my taxes. You get a standard deduction, sometimes you get to claim a little more. Sometimes less. But that doesn't get me any money, it just means I pay $2000 less to the government. Now you might think that all that is unrelated to breeding, but its not. Because it is those activities that make your dog worthy of breeding. Its seeing that your dog can be trained and can work that makes people want a puppy from your dog. Everything you do with your dog makes your dog.
I chose not to breed Juno until she was 6 years old. I chose a stud, and that cost $1200. Then I had to drive to OH to make the breeding happen. The trip alone was over $600, with an infant in tow. Then there was 4 vet visits to make that breeding happen, another $800. You have to increase her food and give her supplements, $300. Whelping box $250. Whelping supplies, $230. And now come the puppies.
For 8 weeks you are on call 24/7 for strange noises, cries, barks, whines. You have to create a kennel area in your house with a crate, padded flooring, wee wee pads, wire fencing. That was $500. And then you have to clean it twice a day, launder the towels two or three times a day (which is a cost you will never capture). Give them toys, change the toys, worm them, feed them, bath them, train them. You can't get back your time, and you can't put a price tag on it. Although the Puppy Culture DVD is $80.
For me, I received $1300 each for 7 puppies. That's $9100. I spent $9357.24. A subsequent litter will be able to use a lot of the same items like the whelping box and the kennel system. So that cost won't be incurred again until they wear out. I'm not going to have enough litters to wear them out. Its more likely they will get lost or broken in a move than to be worn thin by puppies. In fact, Juno will only have one more litter.
So, each of my puppies went home socialized and healthy. AND I added prepaid AKC registration, prepaid ISO microchip with AKC reunite. A puppy training book, Lupine leash and collar, new puppy kong toy, and toy that smells like the whole litter ($85). I can laugh now because I didn't charge enough. But that is ok. I have these pups in good homes. I didn't get into this to make money. I decided to raise the price for the next litter, and will provide all the same things for the pups.
The stud fee for the next litter is also $1200. The medical AI will still be around $800. If there is a problem with the whelping, I'll cover that also. I could have just 4 pups, or none at all. The ultimate truth is that good breeders get health testing and care for their puppies, so they are hoping to break even. Some years you are ahead and some years you are behind, but in total we spend more in the years leading up to a breeding than we will ever get back from selling a puppy.
The goal of a good breeder is to better the breed. That could be through temperament or structure, or even just new genetics. They look to these breedings to find their next dog. One that will continue the work they started. But even that is a gamble. There is no guarantee that that keeper pup is going to be good enough to carry on the line. And we haven't even looked at the fact that someone might return a puppy.
Breeding good puppies is a job. It takes dedication. On this first litter I cared for a puppy for two extra weeks until the owner could pick him up. I cared for one puppy an extra week and then delivered him 4 hours away. Those aren't normal services a breeder provides, but they indicative of someone that cares. If you ask my husband, I care too much.
I'm not trying to sell you a puppy. I am trying to sell you on the idea that you should demand good breeders. You should not purchase a puppy from a newspaper ad for $200. One that has no proof of health testing or lives exclusively in a barn. A pet store will charge you $2999 for a puppy that comes from conditions you will never know. The breed clubs I am involved with make breeders promise not to sell to a pet store.
Good breeders put time, money, love, and knowledge into breeding and raising a litter. Its the kind of American ingenuity that we should promote and champion. In a world where you can get plastic china garbage in Wal-Mart for $1 we need better quality not more quantity. You might have to wait 6 months or a year to get the puppy you want. So? And don't overlook a reputable rescue. They also care and feed and train their dogs to find them new, loving homes.
Have I been rambling? What was my point....Oh yeah, good breeding costs money. Much more than you paid for that well-bred puppy. Now its your turn to put in the time and the money to make that puppy into a great dog. It takes much more training then genetics to get a great dog. You owe it to the dog, and the breeder, not to ruin what they started.
How much have I spent on pet dogs that are never bred? Oh, thousands. And I wouldn't do it any differently.