The Worth of a Puppy
Very often, as visitors interact with our puppies, we are asked if we breed our dogs to sell the pups. We totally understand why people ask this question, given the nature of many other dog breeding “programs.” And we actually love to get this question because the answer often surprises people: No, we definitely do not have puppies to sell them. We have puppies to keep.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, we give a lot of thought to which adults we breed and try to select for specific traits we think will be most suitable to our long distance racing style. Despite that careful breeding, though, puppies are still essentially worthless to everyone except their owner.
Because breeding Alaskan Huskies is still somewhat of a crap shoot when it comes to honing in on specific, desirable traits. Just because two adult dogs have traits you love, doesn’t mean their offspring will. It can be hard to know if a trait has a genetic component, or is more the result of good training. Observing a dog’s siblings, and their qualities, can give some clues to this mystery, although again, if all siblings were in the same training program, the mash up between genetics and training still remains murky. This is why it’s hard to attach a high dollar value to a puppy. They may be cute, but until they can get in harness and really show their talents, you’d be betting on a mystery to buy one.
That’s not to say that a pup with a quality bloodline attached to it, such as “Mackey” or “Seavey” won’t fetch some amount of money — trust me, it will. But even these accomplished mushers can get more money for a dog that is “proven,” meaning it has finished a mid or long distance race. And typically, the higher mileage races like Iditarod and Quest correlate to an even greater dollar value, especially if the dog was part of a team that finished quite well in a particular year. Even if the dog is “old” (seven years or more), they can fetch a high price if they are still intact and can be used by their new owner for breeding. But again, ironically, those precious puppies won’t actually be worth much on an open market.
We are writing about this now because we have yet another new litter of puppies to introduce! We are particularly excited about this crew because their parents are both exceptionally consistent dogs who have proven themselves year after year, as part of some of the best sled dog teams in the world. June, the mother, belongs to us now, but finished Iditarod with Lance Mackey in two of the years that he won that race. Standard, the father, belongs to Ken Anderson, who is a long distance racing “standard” himself. Ken consistently places among the top teams in Iditarod and the Yukon Quest and this big male has been crossing the finish line with him for years.
Despite their stellar parentage, these adorable puppies are likely “worth” less now than they will be as full grown adults. Although to us, of course, they are priceless. These fury beings embody our own hopes and dreams of crossing Iditarod and Yukon Quest finish lines, among the ranks of the greatest canine and human athletes to ever compete.