“What are doodles so expensive?” is a common question with a long, multi-layered answer! But to put it simply, doodles are an incredibly popular breed these days.
In addition to the high demand for this newer breed, a reputable doodle breeder often spends an incredible amount of time and money to ensure a healthy, very well-socialized litter, which naturally drives up the price of their pups.
The demand for doodles has made them more expensive
Simple economics can help us understand the higher cost of doodles. Supply and demand affects the dog breeding business, too! Doodles are a relatively recent breed. The first doodles were not bred until the 1990’s in the United States. Most other dog breeds have a long history that goes back several centuries! The relatively recent development of the doodle breeds combined with their popularity means that demand is high. Many reputable breeders have long waiting lists.
As long as the demand continues to exceed supply, the price of doodles will continue to be higher than some other less popular breeds.
Start-up costs for doodle breeders are high, leading to an increase in the price of doodle puppies
If we further explore this concept of supply and demand, we understand that a breeder interested in breeding doodles must pay a higher initial cost to purchase their parents dogs. This is especially true if they are interested in breeding a later generation of doodle, which are typically highly sought after due to their increased hypoallergenic qualities (See our article on the generations of doodles for more information on this topic).
In particular, breeders often pay at least two or three times the cost of a “pet doodle” in order to obtain a high-quality doodle (in terms of health, temperament, and structure) with breeding rights. Having paid a higher initial cost to get started with breeding doodles means that a breeder must sell his/her puppies for a higher price to recoup their initial costs, thus continuing the cycle of supply and demand.
All breeders are not created equal as we have explained in our previous blog post: “What questions should I ask when buying a doodle puppy?”
There is a great disparity in prices among different breeders as well as the quality of pups. Some of the factors that ensure a healthy, well-bred doodle also drive up the cost of a doodle pup. In addition to the initial cost of purchasing a parent dog, a reputable breeder will also pay for a number of health related tests before being ready to breed a dog.
In addition to the standard costs of routine vet care, reputable breeders will perform a genetic/DNA test on a dog to ensure he/she is free from genetic diseases common to its breed heritage. Reputable breeders may perform a variety of other health tests related to eyes, heart, hips, etc. (Learn the difference between F1 vs F2 vs F1B doodles here.)
Many of these tests are done by specialists and can be quite costly. It is quite common that a reputable breeder pays all of these costs only to not end up breeding the dog if he or she does not meet their standards with conformation, temperament, or otherwise fails any of the previously mentioned health tests.
Puppies from a litter of health tested parents are generally more expensive to help the breeder recoup some of the related costs. However, while the buyer pays more up front in purchasing a puppy from health tested parents, he is likely saving down the road as he can rest assured his pup will be free from hip dysplasia and various other common ailments that could end up costing much more in medical treatment expenses.
(Note - if you’re buying a puppy from out of state, there may be additional transportation costs.)
Raising a companion breed like Goldendoodles requires lots of time and energy
In addition to the initial start-up costs, a doodle breeder must also put in a tremendous amount of time and energy into delivering and raising a litter. One of the reasons that doodles are so popular is that they are known for being extraordinary companion dogs.
Doodle breeds are family pets & are known for being emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, etc. In order to breed a dog that excels so well at companionship and trainability means a huge commitment on the part of the breeder to give them the best start to life possible with a high level of care and socialization.
One of the things that typically sets doodle breeders apart is their commitment to raising and socializing pups well. Raising a litter of puppies is hard work. To start, a reputable breeder takes excellent care of his/her parent dogs. They are typically well-trained pets. A breeder may lose out on days if not weeks of sleep in order to monitor her pregnant mom, deliver the pups, and keep a careful eye on them in the critical first few days. As the litter gets older, much time is spent socializing the puppies.
Simply keeping a litter clean and healthy is a tremendous challenge—bathing and basic grooming (claw clipping, ear cleaning, etc.) of an average size litter can take several hours! Adding the time spent to thoroughly socialize each puppy makes raising a litter a serious full time job! Reputable breeders spend significant individual time with each pup—teaching them basic training skills and exposing him/her to various sights, sounds, etc.
Other breeds who have different purposes and/or are generally more independent in nature may not require the same level of care and human interaction as doodles do. When considering a different breed whose primary purpose is livestock guarding, hunting, etc., the care of the parent dogs and raising of litters may look very different.
Parent dogs may live outdoors on a farm guarding livestock, they may deliver their litter alone, and their puppies may be raised with less human contact—mostly relying on their parents and siblings for guidance. However, for the most popular breeds of doodles (goldendoodles, bernedoodles, etc.), human companionship is absolutely critical for them to thrive both for parent dogs and the pups alike.
Can you negotiate the cost of a doodle pup?
Hopefully, our article thus far helps make sense of the cost of a well-bred doodle. Still, we often come across buyers who want to negotiate the price of a puppy. To be fair, the puppy does not come with a ready-to-scan barcode like a grocery store item, so this is a reasonable question to ask, but in our experience, most reputable breeders have a set price and do not negotiate.
The cost of parent dogs’ health tests, the effort put into training and evaluating parent dogs, the sleepless nights of whelping a new litter, and the incredible amount of time and energy spent caring for the pups often necessitate a high price tag for the breeder to recoup their costs. Reputable breeders typically strongly believe in the quality of the pups they produce and believe the price reflects the quality.
In conclusion, a well-bred doodle pup will certainly not be the cheapest dog you can find. And don’t forget to factor in the cost of raising a doodle puppy. However, the quality in terms of health and temperament is well worth it as you will likely have the best friend you could ever ask for by your side for the next 15 years or more!
Jenna and the JLDD Team