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Johnny_Namakan

Price = Quality???

24 posts in this topic

I know there are quite a few breeders on this site and pleae don't take this the wrong way, but does price really mean quality when it comes to buying a new hunting partner? I've seen on some other posts references to $500 caliber dogs not being equal to $1200 caliber dogs. That got me thinking and a little upset. Price has nothing to do with what the dog is capable of. From what I gather if the genetic lines of a dog has proven success then that dog is worth more, but isn't the real driving force of a dogs ability the training of the dog? Is a $1200 dog born pre-trained or something? I spent $450 on my lab (with all the papers and proven success in trials from the parents)but none of that mattered to me. I didn't even know her parents ran trials until the day I went there to look at buying a pup. It didn't matter to me, because as long as her health was good, then the rest depended upon me. She turned out to be a great hunting dog but that was from a lot of hard work on my end. It's almost like the $80,000 watch example. It's more of a status symbol than anything. Some people will buy the $1200 dog over than $500 dog simply because a lot of people equate price with worth. It's only worth the price if somebody is willing to pay that price. And apparently some people are willing to pay that price so obviously it is worth it to them. But I feel that's more of a bragging right than anything, or, so and so has a $1200 dog, must be a great dog. That's bogus! I'd like to hear from some of the breeders on this. I would hope that they agree that a dog is only as good as it's trainer, but if I'm wrong tell me because I would like to know why some people charge what they do. Is it just for the money and to capitalize on those that perceive price and quality to go hand in hand, or is something deeper than that. Is there really that much more talent in the high price dog or is it just a "better chance" of getting a more talented dog? Don't kill me over this question, I'd just like to know.

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Having many experiences with labs I would have to say that I somewhat disagree with your thought on that a $1000 dog has no advantages over a $500 dog. As much as you might not want to believe it there is a difference in just a hunting dog and one that is an elite retriever. One that excels on multiple marks and downed birds. As much as you would like to think your dog could accomplish some of these things through training, most of the time just will not be attainable.

I payed along those lines for both of my dogs and couldn't be more happy. I think it has to do with more of the trainability of the dog. Some dogs plain just have more natural abilty to do certain things and are bred for not just that but also temperment, size and looks.

My parents have another lab that we got for $400 around here and have not had the best luck at training him, not saying that he isn't a great dog but he just doesn't have the potential that some others do to be as good. This is not the case with all dogs of course.

I guess I don't know why someone would "Brag" about paying so much for a dog, I know I don't I just found dogs that I really liked and met dogs from the same bloodlines before I decided on the one I wanted.

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Bryce, There is a difference, a huge difference but there is also a huge difference between buying a hunting dog or a trial dog.

I had a litter of puppies last February and sold the puppies for 1,200 hundred dollars. All to field trial homes except one in the state of Virginia. He wanted his dog to hunt ducks and that is it. I couldn't believe the guy would spent that much money for a hunting dog only. I personally would not spend much more than the $500.00 you mentioned for a hunting dog. Training a dog to hunt is entirely different than training it to field trial.

You would have a hard time finding a field trial breeding for less than $1,000. The reason is that most, if not all of the dogs in that pedigree were trial dogs. Because of that they for the most part have certain attributes that field trialers see and want in their next trial dog.

I would agree to a certain extent that where a puppy ends up from a training standpoint does have an effect on the level the dog can or will go but make no mistake there IS a difference between a hunting breeding and a trial breeding.

Can lighting strike in a bottle and that hunting breeding dog become a competitive trail dog? Sure, but the odds are not in it's favor.

I hope this is the type of response you were looking for.

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This should be a good discussion! whistle.gif

My short answer is this (and I am not a breeder). A dog is only as good as it's genetics. For example you can't put more go into a dog that does not have it (if thats the trait your looking for). There are MANY qualities that go into breeding, training and bidability are only one small aspect of that. Some dogs are easier to train that others.....but that just one part of the puzzle.

Combine that with parents that are PROVEN to excel and you have a MUCH better chance at getting a dog with the same qualities. Just because a dog has titles does not mean much. What matters is what titles the dog hold, and the rest of the dogs in the pedigree. Some dogs are known to throw great litters.....and the stud fee is priced accordingly.

Health also goes into that and can affect cost. Many people are looking for dogs that have all health clearances....which cost money.

Based on what your saying....you could take a free lab from a back yard breeder and train it to be a field champion. Might be possible.....but your chances are very slim.

Luckily I don't deal with anyone that brags about the price of their dog....because it don't matter to us.

Edit: With all that being said....price does NOT necessarily mean quality. Do you research on the breeder and pedigree of the dogs being bread. Also get referrals. Obviously any breeder could go out and just charge and arm and a leg for any dog....so price itself isn't everything.

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Generally, Higher priced dogs do indeed have better breeding thus a better outcome. As Hemi stated and I would've alluded too, then any dog could becoame a national champion witht he right training. Not so... call any trainer out there and find out how many dogs they 'wash out'... training is only part of the equation. The rest is breeding... and true breeding costs money... a lot of money.

A good analogy would be this... go down the road and pick any old brown horse you see from a neighborhood farm, train him hard through the winter and see how he does when you enter him in a race at Canterbury... there is a reason why proper breedings command the prices they do.

with all that said, can you make a good hunter out of just about any dog you pick with a lot of good trianing? You bet! Most of the analogies are geared toward competition, but then you throw in those pesky inherited disorder clearances... Most $400 dollar dogs do not contain the successive generations of cleared dogs in a pedigree that we should all be looking for. Some do, but many in that range do not, and I am not willing to gamble on my dogs health.

In a nutshell, it's not a scam!

Good Luck!

Ken

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In my opinion price doesn't equal quality. A few years ago I got a pup out of the top dog at Ames. He was bred to a multi champ dam on the way home from winning the Nat. I paid $600+ shipping for him. Another pup I bought was out of a multiple champion bred to a dam with points and I paid $450. The only way I would ever pay over a grand for a 6 week old pup is if it was an AI from a HOF stud. It is not uncommon to see $1500 to $5000 for one of those but it all depends on the number of straws left. Now if I look in the RedStarTrib I can find a backyarders pup for the same price I paid for a pup from the top sire in the country. That being said, there is no way I would pay anything over $600 for a pup from a dog that isn't winning big on a national FT curcuit.

CW

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Wow, this could be a very loaded questions, and price difference can very a lot from breed to breed. I guess you could find good dogs for free if you look long enough. Not all breeders are equal, and high price doesn't always equal value, but it is the purchaser who needs to check out the breeders and the quality of pups.

I do know from personal experience that producing high quality pups on a regular basis is not easy, cheap, or an accident. Quality breeders have spent a lot of time and money, researching, traveling, training, and testing for health problems in the dogs they plan to breed. Most don't breed until the dogs are at least 2 yrs old, and if the dog isn't high quality at 2 then they won't be bred, and the cycle starts over.

Then you have to look at the breeders dedication to the pups he sells, I am here 24/7 to help any one who purchases a pup from me, I will help with bird & gun intro at no charge other than for birds. You also have peace of mind from health guarantees.

So if you have done your home work & found a quality breeder then more $$ will equal better odds of a quality pup. If you find a dog that seems like a deal that is to good to be true, I would question how well the breeder will stand behind the pup if a problem arises.

I have purchased a very good dog for $150, but I knew the bloodlines inside and out. I also knew that if I had health or temperament problems, I would be left out to dry.

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 Originally Posted By: cw642
In my opinion price doesn't equal quality. A few years ago I got a pup out of the top dog at Ames. He was bred to a multi champ dam on the way home from winning the Nat. I paid $600+ shipping for him. Another pup I bought was out of a multiple champion bred to a dam with points and I paid $450. The only way I would ever pay over a grand for a 6 week old pup is if it was an AI from a HOF stud. It is not uncommon to see $1500 to $5000 for one of those but it all depends on the number of straws left. Now if I look in the RedStarTrib I can find a backyarders pup for the same price I paid for a pup from the top sire in the country. That being said, there is no way I would pay anything over $600 for a pup from a dog that isn't winning big on a national FT curcuit.

CW

CW, Were these Labs or Pointers or a different breed? What type of points did they have, show points, hunt test passes or trial points and titles? Just curious.

Thanks

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So are most of these $1500+ dogs just for trials and not so much for hunting? I've always assumed the dog that's running trials on Saturday is flushing pheasants on Sunday. It kind of sounds like these dogs aren't used so much for hunting. Kind of like the 67' Camaro in the neighbors garage. Just used on sunny saturdays. Which only it should be. I understand that you can't take any dog of the street and make them a champion, but I am saying that training is 51% and genetics is 49% or vice versa for those of you who disagree, but they are closely related is what I am getting at. My dog is a great hunting dog, and I'd put her up against any dog to find a downed bird or flush a phesant, etc. But I wouldn't put her in trials, first of all because I am completely ingnorant as to what is done, rules, etc of these things. I think that's why I'm so confused as to why somebody would spend more than $500 on a dog. Thanks for all your replies guys, and thanks for keeping it civil.

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Johnny, on the contrary. Most of your trial dogs are in fact hunted.

I am in agreement with you when it comes to strictly a gun dog/hunting dog. I would spent in that $500.00 range.

Trialing though is an entirely different breed of cat and to compete at the level trials have gotten to one must spend a bit more to better his chances.

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How does my name come up when I take a day off? Conspiracy theory I say. ;\) Most readers are going to be delighted with a pup in the $4-500 range. Kind of like an 870 will always get the job done but many hunters still think they need to upgrade.

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I can't speak for all breeds, but most trail brittanys are also personal hunting companions. When I shop for a new breeding dog, I look to walking trails, NSTRA, and Hunt tests. I try to avoid dogs from trails that are run from horse back, because they have a tendency to run to big for the average hunters comfort level. I am speak of pointers as my knowledge of flusher isn't very strong.

If training is 51% and genetics is 49%, equations could look like this. The average person probably gets 10% to 15% less then potential trainablity out of a dog.

so a below average breeding might look like this:

training 35% + genetics 25% = 60% of a good dog

Average breeding:(training goes up because of trainablity in the dogs genetics):

training 40% + genetics 35% = 75% of a good dog

High quality breeding:

training 45% + genetics 49% = 94% of a good dog

You can find high quality dogs in the $500 range but inflation has hit here as well. I feel $600 to $800 for the right dog is not out of line for the average hunter.

just my thoughts, Ike

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I have very little experience but here is a thought. Are dogs like cars? Maybe a person needs a car to get to and from work. the Ford Escort for $500 might get them there and back reliably. That person's neighbor is a carpenter, he needs to get to and from work but needs to pull a trailer with his tools through the mud to the construction site. He needs a pickup with 4x4 for $1000. His neighbor owns the contstruction company. He still works and pulls the trailer to work, but he also looks at different locations he is unfamiliar with so maybe he needs a navigation system in addition so he buys the loaded pickup with 4x4 to meet his needs for $5,000. So the first guy can get by with a cheap commuter car, but he has the option to buy a loaded up pickup if he so desires. He may not use all of the options, but they are there if he chooses to utilize them. This is a bit of a stretch to make the connection, but it is how I look at it. I could be wrong.

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My take on it is pretty much what others have said. I will pay the price for proven genetics behind the dog. That does not gaurantee that i am going to get an above average hunting dog, but it will up the chances. I am looking at buying a chesapeake bay retriever right now and the breeding i'm looking at is $900. It may seem like a lot of money, but in the long run of 10-14 years with my dog that will not equal very much. I think it is worth it to spend more for good genetics so you know your dog will have a better chanse of being that above average dog and have a better chanse of being healthy. With that being said, my friend purchased a chesapeake for $400 and I would buy her from him any day. She has somewhat proven to me that you don't need to spend a lot of money to get a great dog. I worry about her health though and she has already had more minor problems then normal.

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Alot of guys are using the "I had this one dog, or my buddy has this one dog" valuation on cheaper dogs working out. It's hard to judge the level of success garnered by 'one' dog purchases. I still stand by the fact that generally you really up the odds as far as ability and inherited disorder clearances with a higher priced breeding... not 100% of the time but at much greater odds.

Heck my first titled dog came out of a $250 a puppy breeding back in the mid-80's... but even though her hips passed she threw bad hips and thus was removed form the breeding program. Too bad as I spent a ton of time getting her to the level she was at. But her pedigree was a checkerboard of 'cleared dogs'... this was on the front side of the movement to weed out hips and eyes.

With that said, I agree with Ike. Most puppies in the $600-800 range will generally be able to back up the reason for their price. I've seen many 'bang-up' litters for $600-700 that make a $450-500 pup pale in comparison, but yet people migrate to the cheaper litter to save $100-200 dollars. In the end if you can find a good quality breeding with 3 generations of hips, elbows and eyes, and the parents have been screeded for CNM and possibly EIC, jump on it... but i doubt for the most part you will find that. Most will have some of the tests done and maybe only on the parents... not good enough in my book, but that's a decision everyone has to make. I was trying to help a buddy that I hunt with get into a pup and he really wants to stay in that $400-500 range, the dogs he is looking at have little to no testing done and he is taking it on the breeders word that they are good hunters. I told him value wise he should expand up to the $750 range to get a pup to get a pup out of more proven stock (field and genetically) and I know he'lll end up buying one for $450. It's just so stuck in his head that the $300 dollars is a huge amount of money... well it won't even begin to pay the vet bills if she has dysplasia or any # of other disorders or if he needs pro help because she isn't antural retriever...

Personal opinion? A hunter should be looking at every litter under $1000 dollars and pick the best one available at that time. The day youwrite out the check for your puppy is the cheapest part you will have owning him!

Good Luck!

Ken

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 Originally Posted By: LABS4ME
I was trying to help a buddy that I hunt with get into a pup and he really wants to stay in that $400-500 range, the dogs he is looking at have little to no testing done and he is taking it on the breeders word that they are good hunters. I told him value wise he should expand up to the $750 range to get a pup to get a pup out of more proven stock (field and genetically) and I know he'lll end up buying one for $450. It's just so stuck in his head that the $300 dollars is a huge amount of money... well it won't even begin to pay the vet bills if she has dysplasia or any # of other disorders or if he needs pro help because she isn't antural retriever...

Personal opinion? A hunter should be looking at every litter under $1000 dollars and pick the best one available at that time. The day youwrite out the check for your puppy is the cheapest part you will have owning him!

I agree. A lot of truth in the two highlighted statements!

Heck...I think I have only left the vet one time with a bill under $100.....and I have been there A LOT! That $300 is nothing in terms of vet bills and everything else that you spend for your dog.

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Very good responses from everybody, so thank you for that. I never looked at the original purchase price and spread that over the dog's life but when you do that, boy it sure jumps out at you that the difference in the initial expense is ver minor, only about $40/year difference. I still think that a successful dog is due largely in part to who trained him. It seems like the breeder/lines of the dog are the ones that get all the attention for a successful dog when the trainer sits back in the shadows. Kind of like a prime Offensive Line-man in the NFL. The running backs and QBs get all attention but they are only as good as their line lets them be. Either way, as many have stated in many other posts, the dog that works for you is the best dog you could own. I can't wait to get back into the woods this fall, and either can my little yellow buddy. Here's a pic from last year, with my buddies Setter that he bought out in PA about 4 years ago ($1800).

3.jpg

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 Originally Posted By: duckbuster
 Originally Posted By: cw642
In my opinion price doesn't equal quality. A few years ago I got a pup out of the top dog at Ames. He was bred to a multi champ dam on the way home from winning the Nat. I paid $600+ shipping for him. Another pup I bought was out of a multiple champion bred to a dam with points and I paid $450. The only way I would ever pay over a grand for a 6 week old pup is if it was an AI from a HOF stud. It is not uncommon to see $1500 to $5000 for one of those but it all depends on the number of straws left. Now if I look in the RedStarTrib I can find a backyarders pup for the same price I paid for a pup from the top sire in the country. That being said, there is no way I would pay anything over $600 for a pup from a dog that isn't winning big on a national FT curcuit.

CW

CW, Were these Labs or Pointers or a different breed? What type of points did they have, show points, hunt test passes or trial points and titles? Just curious.

Thanks

These are Pointers, I know its a differant breed than labs, but you have to look at the quality comparison. A pointer of any breeding will fetch $350-500. At the same time I can get a pup that is National Champion sired for $600. It kind of shows that from the top to the average hunting dog the differance in Quality is not very much. That is a major differance when comparing Labs to Pointers. All the titles and points are FDSB field trial points. Mostly AA but I think my males sire has won about everthing, he is at over 60 wins. Ames is the big show, it is the biggest and best in the country.

CW

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CW, thanks for the response. I am not to in tune with the in's and outs of how the Pointer trial stuff works or how difficult it is to win and title.

My knowledge is only in the Lab trial arena. There are not to many Labs anymore that win 60 times in a life time. The reason for that is that it has become so competitive, winning twice a year is a feat.

I can tell you this, you would never be able to get a Lab pup from a national champion for less than probably $2,000 and that might be light.

You are 100% right when you stated there is a big difference in the Pointing breed and Labs when it comes to puppy prices based on what you have stated.

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As I was reading this tread I was also thinking to myself that there is a big difference in the pricing of breeds. Generally a top bred springer will get in the range of $750 to $1500. These are pups out of national winners from the big well known kennels.

My take follows that same logic as other have said here and that is for the most part price does = quality. The price varies alot depending on who the breeder is. For example you will have a well bred pup out of a big well known kennel sell for $1000. An equivelant breeding from a breeder not as well known may be priced at $750.

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We paid 500 for one lab we have right now. At 9 months old she was flushing and retrieving birds and also finding live cripples on the run. The last weekend of that season she started to point live birds as well. She is now about to turn two and did awesome last fall again on pheasants. She has great genetics behind her. Her mother spends falls in SD as a hunting guide dog. Her father has titles out of SD and IL for pheasant hunting. The father has also sired dogs that have been sold to law enforcement agencies, as well as the DEA for narcotic dogs. In the end the price doesn't mean a dang thing. It is the genetics behind the dog and the amount of time YOU put into working with them and teaching them how to hunt.

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If you know what you are doing and know what you want then Price = Quality... up to a point. At some point the value proposition goes away and you are paying for name or some false sense of quality. A $2000 dog isn't twice as good as a $1000 dog. The difference between a $250 gsp and a $700 gsp can be remarkable though. There are no guarantees but for a higher price from a reputable breeder a litter of pup's should be consistently better overall. Sure, you may get a pup on the cheap that is a world beater but maybe all it's littermates stunk.

You can pay more for color (which I don't think too highly of) - Black gsp's, Ivory labs, Fox red's, Blue weim's. I once saw a guy selling black gsp's for $800 at Gamefair. I looked at the pedigree and thought he was nuts. I asked why so high? "They're black" was the reply. That same day a guy was there that had 3 litters of English Pointers that had Champions (some very famous ones) all over their pedigrees and they were going for $400-$500. What dog would you rather have? The $800 black gsp pup with a mediocre pedigree or the $400 pointer pup out of Miller/Elhew/Southern Justice stuff? It killed me to walk away from those pointer pups. I was drooling. Man they looked good.

Show gsp people have a habit of putting a Junior Hunter title on their dogs and then breeding them and up'ing the price because they are hunt titled. Will the pup's hunt? Perhaps, but I'd take a pedigree full of field champions over that any day of the week.

For that higher price you should be getting better quality consistently throughout a litter, health guarantee's, help/advice with training, etc.

I once bought a pup that I had to put down because it had an autoimmune disease that would have killed it early. The breeder replaced that pup with his pick of the litter no questions asked. Would the $250 breeder give you another pup? Maybe, maybe not.

What I want is a pointing dog that runs really hard and fast, and finds birds. Lots of them. While doing this it absolutely must look good running and has to be stylish on point. Anything less and I'm bored. I can't stand puttering around and no style on point. I can't get the run and style with just any breeding. I need/want to have field trial stuff all over the pedigree. For me it's the way the dog does it's thing. I don't even need to shoot the bird. It's all about the dog for me. I can't get that without spending some dough. But the experience, thrills, and enjoyment are worth it.

It's all what you want and need and how far you are willing to go to get it.

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As far as Minnesota law goes, if you are buying a dog and the person selling it is making a profit, you have consumer rights. They are set forth in Minnesota Statute section 325F.79. For the most part you are covered for 1yr. for hereditary or congenital defect. So I say if the seller does not say they have a one year guarantee try somewhere else, because state law requires the 1 yr. for hereditary or congenital defect. That said- if you are not worried about that stuff and the price is right and you like the dog- go for it.

They are a Mans Best Friend!!

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Trying to prove breeder made a profit would be near impossible. To many things go into a litter. Plus most sales are cash if you buy puppies with no guarantee. I'm just saying why go the law route when it would be easier to buy somewhere else. By the way it's also illegal to move a pup before its 8 weeks old. You've got to love this state.

CW

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