Why Are Older Dogs Cheaper than Puppies?

by Jonni

I recently saw an ad for an adult Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that was being sold for $250, when the only Cavalier puppies available in the area that week were being sold for $800 to $1200.

Can you imagine a farmer selling a full-grown cow for a third of the price he charges for 2-week old calves? It’s a silly idea – but most puppies often bring much higher prices than older dogs. The exceptions are dogs that have been raised and trained for a specific purpose, such as the specialized hunting dogs, sniffer dogs, and search and rescue dogs.

Most dogs in the United States have only one purpose: To be pets. And for some reason, other people’s pets lose value the longer they live with those other people.

When most dog owners need to sell their adult dogs, you can bet they won’t get the price they paid for them as puppies.

Lab and pit bull owners who need to “re-home” their pets have to beg folks to take them, or the dogs end up in the pound.

I’m going to bring the discussion back to those specially-trained dogs for a moment. I suspect that the reason a mature working dog sells for big money and mature pets do not, is that Americans assume that other people’s pets have been “damaged” somehow, through bad training or permissive ownership.

Any dog that needs a new home, we believe, is “somebody else’s problem.” Why would anyone pay extra for a dog who has been getting away with murder? (And we assume he has been, or he wouldn’t be looking for a new home).

Maybe if we had a dog training class in every high school, and we all learned how to raise civilized dogs, we would begin to assume that other people’s dogs learn good habits as they mature.

Then it would be easier to believe someone when she tells us that her “active” dog needs a new home (with a strong fence and no small children) because the owner has to move and can’t take the dog with her. Perhaps older dogs, in other words, would begin to get the respect they deserve.