You say “I just want a Newfoundland for a pet.” I know of no reputable Newfoundland breeder that is breeding to produce pets. If the dog is show quality or pet, the same effort and cost will go into producing the puppy by the breeder. I think that you will find that most reputable breeders will sell a show quality puppy and a pet for about the same price but they will try to find show homes for those that are show quality puppies. Let’s look at it this way – you want to put a new roof on your house. The contractor gives you an estimate of so much per square foot. Then you think well I better get a new roof on the garage. Would you not expect to pay the same price for the work on the garage or would you say to the contractor I only want a roof on my garage so it should be cheaper.
Yes you can find puppies on the internet for under $2000. These puppies are either from puppy mills or backyard breeders that have two or more dogs, have no knowledge of genetics, and in fact have no knowledge of what a Newfoundland should look like. The health and phenotype (what the puppy will look like)of a puppy from these sources is very questionable. You may even get a health guarantee ; however, it is bound to based on “send the puppy back”. Rarely will an individual want to send a puppy back if they had it for more than a few hour, it’s their puppy and they want to keep it. What you really want is not a guarantee but support from your breeder. Someone that is going to work something out with you if there is a health problem. Someone that is going to be there to answer any questions that you might have about the puppy. Not just when you purchase the puppy but during the entire life of the puppy/dog. You will not get this support from a mill or back-yard breeder.
The final step by a reputable breeder, before releasing a puppy to its new forever home should be a heart check by a board certified veterinary cardiologist. Where board certified cardiologist is not available, a reputatable breeder will use more than one GP vet. This can not be done beforet the puppy is 8weeks and most cardiologists will not touch them till they are 10 weeks. This final step alone precludes a puppy being sold for under $1000. Now, some one may try and pull the whool over your eyes and say the parents were clear. Sorry. Many a clear parent has produced a SAS puppy, the genetics of heart problems is totally unknown.
I know there are things I have missed but here is a partial list of what it takes and the money involved in getting a litter on the ground.
1. The cost of all the “required health clearances.”
2. Progesterone testing. Even though the heat cycle is 21 days in duration there is only a very short period of time in that heat cycle when the bitch can conceive which means you need to do progesterone levels.
3. Stud fee, that will generally be the going price of a puppy from the stud dog . Even if the breeder is breeding to his/her own dog, the price of one puppy should be applied as a stud fee to cover the cost of the male used. The breeder did put some money into the dog being used; it had to have all the “Clearances” etc. It just did not appear for that breeding.
4. If the breeder is not the owner of the stud and it is to be a natural breeding to the stud owner will want the bitch to be tested for a potential sexually transmitted diseases. If the breeding is to be done via artificial insemination there is the cost of collection of the male by a veterinarian and the cost of overnight shipping via FedEx. The coast of the Al by a veterinarian.
5. Prenatal care cost to include a pregnancy test, sonogram or x-ray.
6. Now, the day of birth let’s hope we do not need a cesarean section because we are talking more veterinary dollars.
7. If all goes right, well, at our house the washing machine starts to run and it will continue to run every day for at least the first four weeks… The first two or three days we do six or seven loads keeping the whelping box clean and dry. After that its about three loads a day. So figure the cost of electric, water and everything else that goes into laundry.
8. For the first four weeks someone needs to be right next to the whelping box – and that is 24/7. The risk of leaving puppies unattended is too great.. So let’s stop here and talk about time. Every one’s time is worth something. Just watching the whelping box for those first four weeks amounts to 672 hours. Add to that, the time spent doing all of the above and all of the things below and you are looking at a couple of thousand hours spent putting together a litter. And how about labor and skill ? What’s that you say – time and labor don’t count because the breeder wanted to breed the litter ? Well I know plumbers, electricians, handymen, doctors’ lawyers and Indian chiefs that want to do what they are doing but they still charge for their labor and time. What would two thousand hours of plumbing cost you ?
9. The litter still has to be maintained till it is 10 weeks old.
10. Ten weeks and every one gets their heart checked.
11. Let’s see what I forgot, litter registrations, fuel costs for all the running aroung getting all this stuff done. Puppy vaccinations, worming.
There is no way a Newfoundland litter can be put ont the ground and the breeder charge less than $2000 and at that he/she will still not break even. Anyone that can do it for less has cut corners and the purchaser will ultimately pay for the cost savings of that breeder.