The difference between a Quality puppy and a Bargain puppy:
Quality - Both the sire and dam of this puppy came from top quality breeding stock which was developed over years and years of selective and knowledgeable breeding. Both meet the requirement of the written AKC standard for the breed in conformation as well as temperament. Each has a pedigree which has been studied and thoroughly researched. These dogs have been selected to breed to each other because they can both contribute to the excellence of the breed as well as complement on another.
Bargain - The dam of this litter was purchased from a local pet store and originally came from a puppy mill. She was sick off and on the first year of her life due to many different types of intestinal parasites and malnutrition. The sire, an over-sized male lives down the street and was purchased from an ad in the newspaper. Neither owner has ever heard of the AKC written standard. Neither owner has seen a written pedigree. The female is skittish and snappy. Her owners hope that having a litter will calm her down.
Quality - Before this breeding ever took place both the male and female had thorough vet examinations and OFA tests including x-rays and CERF eye tests to determine that there were no physical or genetic problems that might be passed on to offspring. The breeder is well aware of the genetic problems to which the breed is predisposed and uses no animal for breeding unless it is certified clear of defects by a qualified Veterinarian. The health of her pups is guaranteed.
Bargain - The breeder is totally unaware of the genetic problems within the breed. Trips to the Veterinarian, except for dire emergencies or regular shots are considered too expensive. The breeder's hope is to make money off the sale of the puppies. If she keeps expenses down, she can buy that new couch she's been wanting. Puppies are sold with no guarantee.
Quality - The breeder is a professional and she has a good reputation to maintain. The breeder is a member in good standing with the Official National Breed Club (Bichon Frise Club of America) and the local All Breed Kennel Club (Bichon Frise Club of Northern California). Her goal is to produce beautiful and sound Bichons which anyone would be proud to own. Profit, if any is made goes toward future breedings always aimed toward the betterment of the breed, or for show entries, handler's fees, new equipment and important veterinary tests. Both the mother and pups are fed the highest quality diet. Many trips to the vet assure her that mother and pups are thriving under the very best care. The pups are raised in a busy area of the house where they are socialized, groomed and exposed to different kinds of stimuli. They are touched, talked to, cuddled and even sung to. They are never sold before they are nine weeks old. Every buyer is interviewed at length and will fill out a questionnaire. Pups are placed only in homes where they will receive the best of care. The breeder spends time with each new owner, educating and answering questions. The pups are only placed in the homes that are the most suitable for them. Follow-up contacts are made to make sure the pups are adjusting well. Each new owner receives a bill of sale, vaccination record, minimum three-generation pedigree, guarantee of registration with the AKC and thorough puppy care and nutrition information. Puppies that are placed in pet homes are sold on a spay/neuter contract and limited AKC registration. The new owners are encouraged to continue a relationship with the breeder, and to call and ask questions at any time during the dog's life. The breeder will take back the dog at any time in its life with for any reason should the owners no longer be able to keep it.
Bargain Priced - These puppies are born in a box, in the garage and receive little care other than what the mother gives. To cut costs they are weaned on generic dog food and allowed to nurse on the mother as long as possible to keep food bills down. The bitch's health declines rapidly due to poor health and some pups are weak and runty. They are sold as quickly as possible because advertising and vaccines are expensive. They are sold without shots, parasite checks, registration papers, vet examinations, guarantees or information of any kind. They are sold to anyone who has the cash. If the new owner is lucky they may receive a AKC registration application. Although the puppy is of very poor quality it is sold with full breeding rights. The new owner usually disappears with the pup never to be seen again. If the market is not good the breeder takes the leftover pups to the local pet shop and in some instances the pound or sells them to an internet broker.
The comparison you have just read is hypothetical but very typical of what we see all too often. Although not every breeder who charges higher prices is reputable, ethical pet buyers should keep looking until they find one that is. When I am asked why my prices are higher than those in some newspaper ads I refer them to this article on my website. Those buyers who respect the quality and excellence are wonderful customers and become "partners" in this hobby that I love so much. Those that are seeking pets deserve nothing less than a nice quality, healthy and trusting animal as well as a breeder they can count on.