503 290 6997mary@sundancingoldens.comAberdeen, Washington in the Pacific Northwestern United States

Why We Charge What We Do

When you purchase one of our puppies, you are buying the fruit of our investment in our breeding program. In our case, we have been developing our program for over a decade, and only recently have begun to produce puppies. Please read to the end so that you have an understanding of all that is involved in producing one of our pups. I hear this a lot, “We aren’t in this for the money,” however, you might think so without understanding the costs involved in producing a pup who is healthy and free of core Golden Retriever diseases and with reduced risk of debilitating diseases like hip dysplasia, heart, and eye disease. This is our foremost goal, and it has taken work, time, and money.

Some people gasp, when I tell them what I charge for a puppy. While I realize that a Golden puppy is a significant investment, it may help to know some of the factors that go into the cost of a well-bred Golden Retriever. Good breeding is costly and not necessarily profitable. We do this for the love of the breed with the intention of providing people with a healthy and sociable Golden Retriever with the best traits of the breed standard. Most people who want our dogs love the breed and know that they make excellent family pets. While we don’t breed for sportsmanship or show, other breeders do focus their programs to meet more selective outcomes. Golden Retrievers also make great hunting dogs and service animals.

Our primary focus is to breed healthy well-socialized pet-quality puppies. Our core strategy for achieving this is:  

How We Determine a Puppy Price

Dog breeding is becoming more and more difficult in today’s times. Food & Medical expenses top the list for breeders trying to keep puppies affordable or creating the perfect “healthy, long-lived” family pet. Hopefully, this will also help you to understand why some litters may cost more than others.

If we divide this by the average number of litters our breeding pair may have (5) we can get an average cost per litter.$1857-$3978
COST PER LITTER$6457-$14,998

See the charts below to validate this cost of raising one puppy!

So, you can see we are not in this for profit. We breed these beautiful dogs out of our love for the breed. We spend close to a year planning for the breeding of just one litter. We are forced to breed mostly by technology using Progesterone testing to target the perfect conception date, in some cases FedEx to ship the semen from point A to B, and Ultrasound to determine pregnancy. This all costs money to do it right! Then once she is pregnant, we wait to 58 days for an x-ray to see if she will be able to have them naturally or a caesarian section. Once the puppies are here our “dog mom” jobs begin…imprinting, laundry, sleeping by the whelping box so no one gets laid on, potty training starting at 4 weeks, more laundry, no rest for the weary, and then socializing and more laundry. We finally get to have a full night’s sleep around the 4th week. It is a monumental task to do it right and keep everyone healthy and happy. Then back to the vets to make sure everyone’s heart is beating correctly and review their overall health. 

The chart below is so you can see the costs involved in raising a well-socialized litter of puppies in today’s times. We live for the next litter’s emotional high, as it is the highlight of our lives to have a litter on the ground. Obviously, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the cost of doing this.

Breeding Equipment – One Time Large Expenses

EZwhelp Pen, 6′ x 4′ Frame & Liner$454
EZwhelp Railing, 6′ x 4′ $70
EZwhelp Extension Panels for Potty Training Area$180
Mesh Cover for Top of Whelping Pen$70
Overhead Heat Lamp Combo$120
Multiple Sets of Washable Whelping Pads ($24 ea)$200
Dog Ovulation Tester$120
Non-Spill Water Dish for Whelping Pen$20
Puppy Feeders, 2, for medium to a large litter$60
Tarp to protect the carpet$25
Play Yard for Outdoors$120
Baby Scales$50

Breeding Supplies – Ongoing (Average Cost per Litter)

Puppy ID Collars, Leads, Charts for recording weights & feedings$100
Large Breed Puppy Chow (80 lbs for average litter)$140
Disposable Pads for Whelping$60
Worming Medicine$70
Disinfectants & Odor Eliminators$120
Dam (gestation through whelping) Extra food and supplements for Dam$500
Extra towels, flannel blankets, and bedding, including daily washing for 8 weeks$1200
Puppy Toys, Replacement toys, Blankets to go home, totes$200
Registrations, Bookkeeping, Advertising$250

Dogs We Purchase or Service

The average show or breeding Golden which is bought from the best breeders is costly. The cost of an average show dog is usually very expensive and can cost upwards of $7,000 and then we still have to wait, hoping it passes all the genetic clearances as well as be a good example of the breed. If it doesn’t pass, we have a great deal of money tied up in one dog that we now have to spay. Any time we buy a dog or keep a puppy from a litter we are hoping that it will potentially replace one of our breeding dogs, however, this doesn’t always work out as intended.

Breeding Dam (Show-Quality)$2500-$7000
Breeding Sire (Show-Quality) $2500-$7000

OFA Certifications (Medical Exams) and Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is an integral part of our breeding program. The more informed we are about the gene code of our dogs and their ancestors, the more responsibly we can breed. We have our dogs’ hearts checked by a board-certified canine cardiologist, have their Hip and Elbows certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and all dogs have their eyes checked for genetic defects and cataracts by an ophthalmologist, then certified by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation. We also DNA test for core preventable diseases that include PRA1, PRA2, prcd-PRA, DM, NCL, and ichthyosis 1 & 2. Having said all that, genetic testing is expensive but critical to providing you with a puppy whose parents have been screened for known problems within the breed.

Hip & Elbow X-Rays Examination or Sire & Dam $800-$1200
Eye Exams or Sire & Dam $500
Heart Basic / Advanced Cardiac (Echo)$400-$1400
Other (Thyroid, etc)$800
Genetic Testing for Sire & Dam$300-$500

Medical and Breeding Expenses

Finally, we have to consider all the medical costs in our breeding program, C-sections for a mom that has complications during delivery, vitamins, and minerals to ensure healthy dogs and puppies, vaccinations, de-worming, puppy vet checks, and many more things that could come up. We cover these charges overall rather than apply them to the sale of one puppy. We feed very high-quality dog food averaging around $80 per bag.

While we do not claim perfection and have no control over recessive genetics and their timetable to show up, we do our very best.  We don’t even screen people for as many genetic defects before they have children as breeders do with their dogs.  But we will continue our endeavor to provide ourselves and you with quality dogs that are healthy and suitable for their intended purposes.

Dam & Puppy Care
Pre-Insemination Vet Check on Dam, CBC Blood Work-Smear for Infections$200
Timing/Progesterone Tests $140 per test/3-6 Tests per Breeding$420-$840
Ultrasound for Pregnancy Confirmation$250
X-Rays for Puppy Count and to see if Dam can do natural birth or needs c-section$250
Whelping Natural-Cesarean$0-$2000
Post-Whelping Vet Check$150-$250
Vet (when there are no problems) Vaccinations, Microchip, Health Checks$640
Stud Dog Fee Service Fee and Remainder of Stud Fee (live puppies)$1500
Semen Shipping Fees
Fresh Chilled Semen (X2) Canine Shipping Box; Semen Extender; Ice (these charges are if your stud dog owner packages it. More $ if a vet prepares it for shipping) OR$400
Frozen Semen Tank Rental; Preparation Fee; Tank Return$400-$600
Plus, Shipping Fees: FedEx; UPS; Airplane-Counter to Counter$200-$600
Semen Insemination (A, B, C, or D Expenses)
A. Natural breeding, driving to Stud Dogs Location$50-$200
B. Artificial Insemination (A-I) If performed by a Vet$150-$300
C. Transcervical “Vet Procedure” (usually inseminated twice)$300-$600
D. Surgical “Vet Procedure”$1000-$1500


*Big Bend Goldens