What Do Swissies Cost?



This is my least favorite question, but because it's often an uncomfortable question for many potential puppy buyers to ask, I believe it's worth addressing some of these concerns up front. I often wonder whether someone should own a large breed dog like a Swissy if the cost of buying/adopting a puppy is a major factor in the purchase decision.  Simply put, the price of the puppy is a small drop in the bucket compared to the cost of taking care of that dog over the course of its life.  That said, there's no reason to overcharge for Swissy puppies and it is a very valid question because prices for Swissy puppies seem to run the gamut. 

REPUTABLE breeders typically charge somewhere between $2000 and $3000 for a puppy.
I've seen Greater Swiss Mountain Dog puppies advertised on the internet for $1000, and I would have reservations about such an inexpensive Swissy puppy. Those who are charging less may be "fire selling" puppies because they cannot find homes (ask yourself why they can't?)   If anyone is charging more than $3000, I worry they are taking advantage of people who are desperate to get a puppy NOW when the supply of puppies may be limited.  But I assure you, if you exercise patience, you will be able to find a puppy from a reputable breeder without being gouged.


All Aegis GMSD puppies, whether pet or show, are $2500.  
I do not charge more for show potential puppies, because I value all my dogs equally, as pets first and foremost and hope that their owners will do the same.  Also, a show potential puppy is just that -- a puppy who shows the best potential from a conformation standpoint.  Likewise, I would never charge more for a puppy who shows superior potential for the obedience ring, or a puppy who I know would make the best pet/companion ever?  

Once again, I caution that if the purchase price is a major concern, you will want to spend a lot more time researching the costs of actually OWNING a Swissy.  This is a breed that often does not do well on lower-cost foods laden with fillers and processed grains, so be prepared to spend $60 a month on a good quality food (my dogs eat Taste of the Wild and Nature's Variety Prairie).   Talk to your vet about their costs for the various orthopedic surgeries that an unlucky Swissy may face.  That could be anything from surgery for an OCD flap in a shoulder, a torn ACL or even more extreme, a total hip replacement.  Bloat surgery is very expensive as well, and the prognosis for a complete recovery can be iffy.  But because bloat is an incredibly painful and grave condition that needs IMMEDIATE attention, if you're faced with it that is no time to be shopping around for vet care.  You need to know in advance that you're prepared to do whatever it takes to care for your Swissy so you'll be able to react appropriately in an emergency situation.  

Swissies are not only prone to large breed maladies such as those I've mentioned above, but also more chronic conditions which may need continuous care for the life of your dog.  Urinary incontinence is one such example (mostly in females) of a condition that usually can be treated with drugs.  Epilepsy is an even more serious disease, for certain, as it not only requires lifelong medication, but also regular vet visits (for blood tests to check liver function, etc.) and potentially emergency vet visits when an epileptic Swissy starts experiencing cluster seizures or a state of persistent seizing (status epilepticus).

While many Swissies go through life never requiring more than just maintenance veterinary care, there is no way to guarantee that your puppy will be one of the lucky ones.  You can and should do as much as possible to stack the odds in your favor, by carefully screening a breeder about the health of their dogs and particularly the dogs in the pedigree of your puppy.  Still, because these are living, breathing creatures and not machines, there is no way to guarantee anything when it comes to the health of a dog.  And even if your puppy is lucky enough to win the genetic lottery, accidents can happen...and large dogs are just more expensive, as a rule, to treat for many injuries.  

I have a dear friend whose puppy was very unlucky.  He comes from a great, healthy pedigree and very reputable breeder, but this particular puppy suffered an FCE (fibro cartilaginous embolism) when he was about five months old.  FCE's are incredibly rare to begin with (and not genetic at all in nature) and even more so in a puppy.  But because he suffered one at such a young age and had some paralysis in a rear leg while he was going through an incredible growth phase, his growing joints were all compromised.  He suffered not one but two fractured femoral heads before he turned a year old.  The injuries to his hip joints probably led to the compensation injuries in his shoulders, as he was forced to bear incredible weight on his front end.  Ultimately this poor fellow required surgery on all four limbs, including a total hip replacement and pin in his other hip.  More than $10K later, this guy is doing fine now.  Yes, this this example probably falls under the category of "worst case scenario."  But ask yourself, if this were your puppy, what would you do?  Would you be able to provide the vet care he needed to have a healthy future, as this lucky guy's owner did for him?  It also makes a strong case for health insurance, particularly during the first two years of a Swissy's life, when they're achieving most of their growth and most at risk for orthopedic issues and injuries.  This is why I urge all my puppy buyers to put their Swissy on a good health insurance plan for the first two years.








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