Newborn Pyr pups

A member of the Pyr-List asked this question recently:

My husband is shocked at the prices and wanted me to find very estimated figures for neutered pet quality Pyr puppies. He wants to be sure the breeder we've been talking to isn't giving us inflated prices. We also want to ask what some of the estimated costs will be to keep/maintain a Pyr properly.

The purchase price is the least of your investment in this dog. Pets from reputable breeders range - depending on the area of the country - from $750 on up. People who are charging less than this often don't offer registration, written contracts, guarantees, hip dysplasia clearances on parents - sometimes not even basic shots.

Your first year with a pup of any breed - or no breed at all - is the most expensive. Besides the purchase price,there will be vet visits at purchase (which should be around 9-12 weeks) at 12 and 16 weeks for completion of initial vaccination and the first rabies shot . Plan on $50-$125 for each of these three visits, depending on local prices. Sometime during the year, the pup will hurt itself - get stepped on, take a fall, step on a cholla - and you'll have an emergency visit. Since these ALWAYS happen when your primary vet is off, plan on the $100 emergency clinic basic fee. (When was the last time the kids got hurt when the doctor's office was open?)

Four-week old Pyr pup

You'll buy two sacks of puppy feed - good quality feed is about $35-45 a sack, depending on what your breeder wants you to feed. Then during the pup's first year, you'll go through a forty-pound sack of adult feed ($30-$40 a sack) every 2-1/2 to 3 weeks. After the age of a year, the appetite eases off, and you will feed about one 40-lb sack a month. This needs to be a good quality feed, not the local feed-store special.

With a good quality feed, you don't need any supplements, so you won't have that expense. You'll probably want flea control - Advantage© is $15 a month, others a bit less. Heartworm preventative is about $6 a month. If you buy good quality grooming tools at the beginning (slickerbrush $12, mat rake $12 Millers Forge © nail clippers $15) you will save yourself hefty grooming fees ($75 and up, depending on location.)Orvus© is a good shampoo for bathing the dog; that's generally done once a year, after the dog blows his undercoat - $20 for a gallon, and it will last you about three years - even when used in between times, like the time the dog rolls in the dead chicken under the house, or plays in the duck wallow.

Four-month old Pyr pup, 'Fantasia'

Neutering should be done during the first year if not done by the breeder's vet before you get your pup - six months is a good age - and this is around $100-$250. And you will need to enroll in at least one local obedience class with your dog so you both learn to speak the same language -about $90for a six week session.

So, without the purchase price, your first year's expenses come out to about $1500. After that, your annual costs will run about $500-$600 a year, depending on how much vet care is needed.

Adopting a rescue dog (an older dog that needs a home) will be initially less expensive - you'll save most of the purchase price and won't have the early puppy expenses - but because the dog is older, you will have to deal with already established habits and you will have it a shorter period of time. Vet costs increase during the final years of a dog's life, as a rule.

Spend some time on the Pyr-List, find out the bad along with the good, then when you are ready to buy, buy only from a reputable breeder, one who has been in the breed a while,who has genetic information on the pup's relatives and ancestors, who can show at least a few generations of hip dysplasia clearances, and who will put all promises in writing. AND, who will be there for you whenever you have a question.

- Catherine de la Cruz (all rights reserved)

(Brand names are for information only and do not constitute an endorsement by the author. Prices updated 2006)

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