How Much Is That Dog?
by Sandra Fikes
How much does a Ridgeback cost? Well, how much you got? That might sound like a flippant answer but if you are not a wise consumer it just might be true for you! Prices can vary and for a lot of very good reasons. I'm going to quote you some prices and tell you all about it..........
Ridgebacks can vary in price at 8 weeks from $350-500 for a Ridgeless puppy to $2000 for the pick show puppy from a litter. A quality pet puppy will run from $800 -1500 depending on why it is classified as a pet. A show potential puppy will run from $800 and up. Prices vary from region to region, depending on the cost of living in that area. People have to pay veterinary bills, buy dog food, pay for housing, licensing, etc. All these things must be taken into account. In addition, the litter owner may have had to pay a large stud fee, fly the bitch to the dog, pay veterinary services for artificial insemination, feed bills for the puppies and take in to account the amount of money they have in the dam of the litter.....like showing costs if she's a champion, feed, housing, veterinary care.
The quality of the sire and dam and of the puppies also play a role in the litter owner's prices. Which would you expect to pay more for.....puppies from 2 Best in Show winners or Ole Blue and Bessie? I don't think I've got to point that out! That brings up a point, too. Why should you get a pup from the best litter and not just anybody's two dogs? Simple. Ridgebacks have a variety of genetic problems - hip dysplasia, dermoid sinus, allergies, thyroid problems. Someone who is "into" Ridgebacks, like showing and striving to produce the best and healthiest dogs are going to be aware of these problems and will have tested their dogs and should something happen ( and it does! Dog breeding is like a roll of the dice...you never know what might show up!) A reputable breeder will either take the puppy back, replace it or refund part of the price. Backyard breeders are rarely aware, nor do they care if their dogs are affected or will pass problems on to the owners and forget about getting your money back or taking the dog back. YOU must be aware, otherwise you may have a big veterinary bill and a lot of heartache for the life of that dog!
You should expect a quality litter to have a least one parent that is a champion of record. ( This will be indicated on the blue slip that you would get from the breeder.) That would be a minimum requirement! If the litter is AKC registered, the newest ones will have the OFA numbers of the sire and dam also on the blue slip......this would also be a minimum requirement before purchasing a puppy. ( An OFA number means the dog has been certified free of hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. A dog must be a minimum of 24 months to be certified.....don't be taken in by folks who say the puppies are certified....they are too young!)The pedigree ( You should be able to see a three generation pedigree) given with the puppy should also indicate the OFA numbers of the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Most breeders are quite proud of the OFA lineage and display these numbers under each dog's name. You should expect lots of questions about you and your situation.....after living with these precious babies for 8 weeks, a litter owner wants to be assured the puppy gets the best home and is matched with a family that suits the puppy's personality. That way, everybody's happy!
The initial cost of a puppy is small compared to what you'll spend over its lifetime. It's important that you won't be spending money on unnecessary veterinary bills.