Quality Breeding vs Cost

Quality Breeding vs. Cost

Why do Yorkies cost so much ...

"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." — John Ruskin

"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort" — John Ruskin

Why do Yorkies cost so much from some breeders ... while pet stores and other breeders charge lower prices for the same puppies?

Can you explain this discrepancy?

First, I would like to say that all puppies, regardless of how "cute" they may be, are not created equal. Purchasing from a responsible and reputable breeder ensures the quality of the puppy you are getting. There is much that goes into breeding these beautiful Yorkies and the end result is a quality puppy that comes from bloodlines that breeders over decades bred to genetically rule out most known health issues associated with the breed and still maintain the AKC standards of show quality.

The initial cost of purchasing a well-bred quality puppy may appear somewhat expensive; however there are several factors that should be taken into consideration when buying your puppy who will become part of you and your family for approximately the next 15 years or so. Please see chart at bottom of page.

Are Your Puppies Expensive?

     Expensive compared to what? ...

To buying a cheap puppy from a puppy mill,

newspaper ad — a/k/a (backyard breeder) or Pet Store

and finding out it isn't healthy or even purebred?

The term "Expensive" is subjective:

we love the breed ... we love our Yorkies ... and their welfare is primary

Reputable breeders will look for the best quality dogs for their breeding program and this of course can be very costly. Breeding to a Top Winning dog can cost thousands depending on whether you send the dam to be bred or choose to do artificial insemination. Brucellosis test (pre-breeding exam), Progesterone test (pinpoint ovulation [may need to repeat test]), travel expense and hotel for 2-3 days if stud is not local, if using AI you may need to do AI 2-3 times to increase the chance of not missing ovulation. There may be costs for having chilled semen flown overnight. Breeders may use hormone tests, ultrasounds or palpitation to confirm pregnancy. Once pregnant the Dam will be given quality puppy food and usually is eating more to provide a healthy start for her litter. Small breeds such as the Yorkie often need C-sections (that can be planned for with use of Progesterone test for pinpointing whelping date). This is less expensive than if the dam goes into distress and needs an emergency C-section. Whelping Box whelping supplies (heating lamp or heating pad plus many extras including emergency items and new-born formula and syringes or feeding tubes, rectal thermometer, a baby scale and possibly other unforeseen items. Once weaned they will be eating alot of quality (holistic "Wellness Super5 Mix Just for Puppies) puppy food. Vet visits for the dam and litter soon after birth. Yorkies will have their tails cropped and dewclaws removed. Second vet visit for immunizations & de-worming. (The costs for vet visit & treatments are per puppy [approx. $70 exam & shots pp] not litter — Our puppies receive anywhere from their first set of shots right up to even their Rabies shot depending upon the length of time before going to their forever homes). After puppies are whelped they will need a larger pen to move about in and will be eating much more food. Wee-wee pads (we use Washable Pee Pads) for indoor litter training and puppy toys and chew items are additional. Puppy gift bags for new owners are provided. It is unrealistic to list every expense associated with raising healthy happy puppies but this should give you an idea as to why we charge what we do. Hobby breeders like myself keep their puppies until they are at least 12 weeks or olders to make sure they have a good start, are old enough to ship as well as to evaluate their potential for show. The average hobby breeder is lucky to break even on a litter. If the cost of a good quality purebred dog is beyond your budget, then you may need to re-think your dog ownership plans. Perhaps rescuing an adult that is already spayed or neutered and is fully vaccinated is a more realistic plan for you. In life you basically get what you pay for ... keeping that in mind, plan to research for the breeder of your next companion and if need be "save" in order to afford a well-bred quality dog that you will be proud to own and share many happy and enjoyable years to come.

Puppy Mills  &  Backyard Breeders

Breed Specific: Reputable Breeders have a love and a desire to improve the standards of the specific dogs they breed. Using genetic testing (Reputable Breeders bred to enhance certain qualities and breed out lesser qualities thereby improving the breed’s lineage). Most breeders (but not all) will choose their best prospects for showing and will only breed dogs once they qualify in the ring. Non-show quality dogs will be spayed/neutered and sold as companion pets with "Limited Registration".  

(Very Expensive)

Non-Specific Breeding: Will breed many different types of puppies including the so-called "designer or hybrids" so as to always meet the demands of people wanting puppies — will have little to no regard for breed quality or genetic health conditions (too expensive for them to test for) and unfortunately most will not be knowledgeable about the history or traits of any particular puppy and will not be able to answer questions posed by customers. Profit is their motivation.

(Minimal Expense)

Most Popular Puppy Breeds: Pet stores await new shipments from puppy brokers and local backyard breeders.


Purchase breeding dogs from kennels devoted to breeding towards the AKC standards while genetically working to bypass commonly known disorders associated with the breed.

(Very Expensive)

Purchase dogs from auctions for as little as $5 or from other local breeders for a couple hundred dollars. There is little care about the health conditions of the puppies being auctioned off or purchased by new breeders. Many have limbs missing, an eye might be poked out, skin conditions and hair loss are visual problems but more discerning is the unknown threat from disorders genetically inherited that may cause puppies to continually need medical attention or result in an early death. Hugh vet bills begin to accumulate as owners do their best to care for a puppy bred under less than ideal circumstances..

(Minimal Expense)

Purchase puppies from Puppy Mills through Brokers and from local Backyard Breeders.  They purchase these puppies for a fraction of what they sell for in their stores to uninformed animal lovers who know nothing about where and how these puppies came to be at the Pet Store and the horrendous conditions they were bred in.

     Pet stores will bathe and vet check each puppy, give medication if necessary and place the puppy in yet another cage to appeal to customers who can only see what pet stores want customers to see --

 "A Cute Little Puppy"

(Minimal Expense)

Many kennels are small private operations breeding and raising only 1 or 2 litters a year. The home environment, dams and sires and their health conditions are randomly inspected and rated by AKC.

     Small private breeders take great pride in owning and being owned by their yorkies. They thoroughly enjoy breeding, raising and learning everything there is to know about Yorkshire Terriers and to have others experience the same. Breeders provide safe clean  living conditions, offer the highest quality food (some prepare homemade and raw diets), provide immunizations,  medical and dental (extractions when necessary for double K-9 teeth), provide enormous amounts of individual and group play time and socialization and are truly viewed as members of their family. These little yorkies are exposed to the sights and sounds of daily living, and even experience car rides to the vet. Litter training in most cases has also been started and gives these little pups a head start in pottying. Reputable breeders' puppies are well-adjusted, happy and healthy and will become a quality pet to cherish for many years to come. Reputable breeders stand behind their guarantee for each pup sold and offers continual support to new owners.

(Very Expensive)

Puppy Mills are usually large breeding operations with hundreds of dogs of many different breeds and can be found in mostly rural areas. However, there is the Backyard Breeder who acquires several dogs usually from other puppy mills and decides to start breeding dogs for the money. Money is the motivator here. Both types of breeding operations are coming under the microscope daily as animal activists and others try closing them down due to the horrendous conditions forced upon these animals.

     These breeders produce a product for profit by imprisoning animals for their entire life in cages. Related information and videos can be found here. Their puppies will live in cages until purchased (usually by a broker who then resells to pet stores). They are exposed to all kinds of weather conditions, almost never are touched by a person, their food (called feed) is of the lowest grade and medical is seldom given. Kennel cough, ear mites and worms are some of the earliest and most obvious signs of poor breeding.

     Kennels are USDA inspected and continue to operate despite the effects of animal neglect and abuse together with many animals dying, including puppies. The USDA views these situations and conditions as normal side effects of large farming operations.

(Minimal Expense)

Pet stores will keep puppies in cages behind glass. Little socialization is given except from staff as food and clean-up occurs. Puppies first true interaction will be when a customer requests a puppy to be held and played with.

    Puppies receive just enough medical to appear healthy and food quality is only slightly better than previously stated at the puppy mill.

    Staff at the pet store is usually young teenagers and know very little about the puppy you might want to purchase. They will tell you their puppies are not from puppy mills, that they get them from private breeders. Many puppies once home will display symptoms that might require medical attention. Pet stores will say initial expenses will be covered by the store but often this is not the case.



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