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How much does it cost to breed puppies responsibly?

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Many people are surprised by the cost of a puppy from a responsibly bred breeder. You may be comparing the cost of a RightPaw puppy with a similar dog advertised elsewhere for much more, or much less.


How much should a puppy cost if they are coming from an established, responsible breeder?

Puppies generally cost somewhere in the range of $1500-6000. This will vary depending on the puppy’s breed, the individual breeder and general market trends. If a puppy is being advertised for less than $1000, or for more than $10,000 – this is far outside of the usual price range in Australia. You should be cautious about buying that puppy and be on high alert for a potential scam.


How much do breeders spend on their litters?

There are more costs involved for responsible breeders than you might expect. Conscientious breeding prioritises the welfare of the parent dogs as well as the puppies. It requires pre-planning, health testing, multiple vet visits and then vigilant care and socialisation for the puppies.


newborn black puppy sleeping on cream blanket


Breeder expenses before the litter is born:

  • Stud services (~$2000 - $6000) + travel expenses. Costs can be much higher when using champion dogs, imported semen, or flying in stud dogs from overseas.

  • Health testing on parent dogs (~$600 for x-rays, ~$300 for cardiac/ophthalmology screening, ~$215 for DNA profiles). Some tests must be repeated annually for each parent dog.

  • Progesterone testing and ovulation timing (~$500) + travel expenses.

  • Ultrasounds & xrays to confirm & monitor pregnancy (~$400)

  • Whelping supplies eg. Whelping boxes, heat lamps, medical supplies, new bedding… (~$300). Initial set-up for new breeders is the most expensive time, but many supplies will need to be replaced frequently between litters.

  • Emergency medical needs eg. Caesarean section (~$4000)

Breeder expenses after the litter is born:

  • Puppy food, puppy milk, mum’s increased feeding needs (~$700). Larger litters and larger breeds may be more expensive.

  • Puppy vet visits – for their first vaccination, microchip, and parasite preventatives (~$200/puppy).

  • Puppy packs (~$150)

black and cream Shiba Inu puppies on the lawn

For many responsible breeders the expenses go far beyond the basics listed here. Many of our RightPaw breeders have remodelled their homes to better accommodate their dogs. Costs will vary depending on whether they are breeding full time or as a hobby on top of their normal job. Small litters or breeding infrequently may result in the breeder losing money on the process overall, so many hobby breeders are not actively breeding for profit. RightPaw breeders who do breed full time to make their income, do so with the highest standards, without overbreeding, prioritising their parent dogs’ welfare. This requires frequent upgrading of supplies, high quality nutrition, vet monitoring, and possibly cancelling a planned litter or retiring a breeding dog early if it necessary for her wellbeing.

Average minimum cost per litter: ~$5000


newborn puppy held in person's arms

Why it is worth paying for a responsibly bred puppy on RightPaw

  • Supporting a breeder who cares passionately about the health and welfare of their parent dogs and puppies.

  • Reassurance you will receive a healthy, well socialised puppy.

  • Safety and protection from online scamming.

  • Receive ongoing support from your breeder and a lifelong rehoming guarantee for your dog.

  • Help protect dogs everywhere by cutting supply to illegal puppy farms.

  • Option to pay safely and securely online via RightPaw Pay for peace of mind and assistance in the event of a dispute.

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