Puppies, I'm always interested in looking at puppies; so when a litter comes through my email, Facebook, instagram or otherwise, I'm on it. As most of you know I am research driven; so when I see a new litter and/or new breeder I like to have a peek. This morning I was looking at several new breeder pages with litters. Oh yes the puppies are adorable, what puppy isn't? But when I look to see how much these folks are charging I'm let down. Puppy #1 - 1,300. Puppy #2 - 1,000. Puppy #3 -2,000 and it goes on like this. So what's the deal with the different prices?
First let me say that I am NOT a fan of tiered puppy pricing. I think that breeders who do this perpetuate the exterior over interior idea of choosing dogs. Many hike the price of more desirable colors, markings or even sex. Others mark up the price of their puppies if they have bred a more desirable dam or sire. So where do these price mark up ideas come from? Scarcity marketing.
Ever gone to buy airline tickets and seen a tagline that says “Only 3 seats left at this price!” Yup, that’s scarcity (another Cialdini concept). This psychology principle goes back to the simple formula of supply and demand: The more rare the opportunity, content, or product is, the more valuable it is.
(Taken from Hubspot blog)
A litter of 7 puppies can all have different price tags on them. Odd, because they all came from the same parents, they all came out the same, all eat the same, get the same care and attention as the others. The only difference is their exterior shell, their image. If that image happens to be in hot demand then a breeder can up the price. This practice is a commonly seen marketing ploy.
Premium pricing - The price set is high to reflect the exclusiveness of the product.
I do not agree with this type of pricing and feel that it fuels the whole beauty pageant idea. Many breeders who price like this also place puppies as soon as they can. Temperament is not a consideration; placing a puppy where it would best thrive does not matter to them because they are charging for their exterior, not interior. How can you charge more for a puppy just because of it's color, markings or sex? .
What does this say about the puppy at the bottom of the pricing tier? "Such a deal" or "not desirable" are the first two things that come to mind. Whereas the puppy with the highly desirable color or markings can have a line of anxiously waiting folks willing to fork over more money if they can have the "best." Or more correctly, hottest ticket.
This type of pricing is used by many breeders of different quality levels. Even if a breeder does all the testing, care and enrichment; they fail in not placing their puppies where they should go according to their interior, temperament and personality. I am a huge advocate of temperament testing and knowing where a puppy would best thrive. Exterior has nothing to do with that.
Dogs are not products and should not be priced as such. Have you ever gone to buy an item and when given a choice of color, opted to pay $50.00 more for a snazzy red or blue? That's all fine and good for a laptop, car, phone or something else, but not a puppy.
In my opinion, puppies should be priced as one. A breeder chooses the best of their dogs to breed; does all the health testing, which costs quite a bit. They care for their pregnant dog, feed and care for the puppies all alike. The price of the puppies should cover all of that and be set at a price that the breeder is happy with. A higher price should not be put onto a puppy that is more rare or in higher demand.
Sadly many people hop on the "new hot" color or pattern of dog and run with it. It all stems from that one horrible thing that drives many human behaviors, greed. "I don't do it for the money," is a common phrase heard from breeders. Well, if you are charging more for puppies of a different color or marking, then think again. What does that price tag say about how you really feel about your dogs?
Should you squeeze just a bit more out of people because you can?