WHY PAY MORE FOR A PET PUPPY? R6,000 versus R1,000
Original article courtesy of Bofelli Australian Shepherds and Stonepine Australian Shepherds (USA)

The R6,000 puppy -- both the sire and dam of this puppy came from top quality breeding stock which was developed over years and years of selective and knowledgeable breeding. Both meet the requirements of the written AKC (American Kennel Club - www.akc.org), ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America - www.asca.org), and KUSA (Kennel Union of Southern Africa - www.kusa.co.za) standard for the breed in conformation (physical structure) as well as temperament and disposition. Each has a pedigree, which has been studied and thoroughly researched. These two dogs have been selected to breed to each other because they can both contribute to the excellence of the breed as well as complement one another.

The R1,000 Puppy -- the dam of this litter was purchased from a local pet store and originally came from a puppy mill. She was sick off-and-on during the first year of her life due to many different types of intestinal parasites and malnutrition. The sire, an over-sized male, lives down the street and was purchased from an ad in the newspaper. Neither owner has ever heard of the KUSA, the AKC, ASCA, or the written breed standards. Neither owner has seen a written pedigree. The female is skittish and snappy. Her owners hope that having a litter will calm her down.

The R6,000 Puppy -- before this breeding took place, both male and female had numerous tests done, including elbow and hip x-rays, and eye tests to determine that there were no known physical or genetic problems that might be passed on to the off-spring. The breeder is well aware of the genetic problems to which the breed is predisposed and uses no animal for breeding unless it is certified clear of defects by a qualified veterinarian. The health of this breeder's pups is guaranteed.

The R1,000 Puppy -- the breeder is totally unaware of the genetic problems within the breed. Trips to the veterinarian, except for dire emergencies or yearly shots, are considered too expensive. The breeder's hope is to make money off the sale of the puppies. If he keeps expenses down, he can buy that new couch he's been wanting. Puppies are sold with no guarantee, sometimes with no papers.

The R6,000 Puppy -- the breeder behaves professionally and responsibly because he has a good reputation to maintain. His goal is to produce beautiful and sound specimens, which anyone would be proud to own. Profit, if any, goes toward future breedings (always aimed toward the betterment of the breed) or for show entries, handler's fees, new equipment and important veterinary tests. Both the mother and pups are fed the highest quality diet. Many trips to the vet ensure that mother and pups are thriving under the very best care. The pups are raised in a busy part of the house where they are socialised, groomed and exposed to different kinds of stimuli. They are touched and spoken to, cuddled and even sung to. They are never sold before they are eight weeks old. Every buyer is interviewed at length and pups are placed only in homes where they will receive the finest treatment. The breeder spends time with each new owner, educating and answering questions. Follow-up calls are made to make sure the pups are adjusting well. Each new owner receives a bill of sale and health guarantee, vaccination record, minimum three-generation pedigree, guarantee of registration with the KUSA and thorough puppy care and nutrition information. If the puppy is not considered to be of such quality as it will better the breed the puppy is sold with a limited registration or non-breeding agreement. The new owners are encouraged to continue a relationship with the breeder, and to call and ask questions at any time during the dog's life.

The R1,000 Puppy -- these puppies are born in a box in the garage and receive little care other than what the mother gives. To cut costs they are weaned on generic dog food and allowed to nurse on the mother as long as possible to keep food bills down. The bitch's health declines rapidly due to poor health and some pups are weak and runty. They are sold as quickly as possible because advertising and vaccines are expensive. They are sold often without having had their dewclaws removed, without shots, parasite checks, vet examinations, guarantees or information of any kind. They are sold to anyone who has the cash. If the new owner is lucky he may receive a KUSA registration application. Although the puppy is of very poor quality, it is sold with full breeding rights. The new owner usually disappears with the pup, never to be seen again. If the market is not good, the breeder takes the leftover pups to the local pet shop or shelter.

The comparison you have just read is hypothetical, but very typical of what we see all too often. Although not every breeder who charges higher prices is reputable and ethical, pet buyers should keep looking until they find one that is. When I am asked why my prices are so much higher than those in some newspaper ads, I mail a copy of this article. Those buyers who respect the quality and excellence are wonderful customers and become partners in this hobby that I love so much. Those that are seeking pets deserve nothing less than a nice quality, healthy and trusting animal, and a dedicated breeder they can count on.

Anon
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