What buyers want to know

The most common questions I get from people interested in buying a puppy are:

"Tell me about your dogs," and "How much do they cost ?"

Tell me about your dogs !

Thanks for asking! You'll learn a lot by taking the time to read this and browsing the
entire Hollytree website.

As a Dalmatian puppy breeder, I strive to produce sound, healthy, and beautiful Dalmatian puppies. Temperament is very important to me. Dalmatians are affectionate, happy, and athletic dogs.

A well-bred Dalmatian is active, not hyper. While they love to play, expect a Dalmatian to follow you from room to room and when you stop, to lie at your feet or want to cozy up with you. They are "people dogs." A well-bred Dalmatian is intelligent and loves to please..... but be prepared for some fun antics! They are clowns at heart!



I would like to tell you what goes into the making of a sire and dam and therefore the litter of puppies. It may appear a reputable breeder is making good money in the sale of a puppy until one realizes the work, time, and money that went INTO the making of a litter of puppies.

The breeder is the owner of the dam, or the mother of the litter. The dam "whelps" or delivers the litter. The breeder assists with the whelping, raises, does the veterinary care, and socializes the puppies. The owner selects which sire, or father of the litter. The owner of the sire wants the best for the puppies as offspring can prove his worth as a producer.

Reputable Dalmatian breeders do not breed for the purposes of sale and profit.

Breeders many times keep a puppy out of the litter they produced to show and further their bloodlines.....so they are wanting the best! They have specific goals in mind, the priority of which is the producing of well-bred, beautiful, and healthy puppies that are placed in ideal homes. It does not end there. A reputable breeder will be your advisor for the dog's entire life.

A breeder may have raised the sire and/or dam of the litter. Sometimes the dog may have been bought from another breeder to introduce a bloodline into their program. In any case, the dog was raised from puppyhood and more than likely shown.



Raising a pet puppy or a show/performance puppy is the same for everyone: a safe place with protection from weather extremes, good food, good health, and veterinary care. Your breeder will recommend a quality dog food appropriate for the breed. You will need a fence, a crate, a dog bed, and grooming equipment such as a couple of brushes, tearless shampoo, a toenail clipper or grinder, tooth scaler, and an ear cleaner. You'll need stainless bowls a puppy can't chew on, first aide items, a collar, a lead, and perhaps a dog coat. Hey! Don't forget toys, too!

Raising a puppy to adulthood on all of the above can cost over $1,000 in the first year. If an owner does not have proper equipment and supplies, this total can jump to $2,000. Dogs are raised to approximately 12 to 24 months before being determined if of good enough quality to be bred.

A show or performance dog should not be bred until it is over 18 months and preferably 24 months at which time the hips can be x-rayed and entered into the health clearance data banks. Before that time, preliminary x-rays can be taken, but these will not be entered into records.



Determining whether or not a dog should be bred involves a lot. The pedigree for starters. A serious breeder studies the pedigrees of many dogs and considers each ancestor as well as the littermates of the parents and grandparents.

The vast majority of the dogs in the Hollytree Dalmatian pedigrees are American Kennel Club champions. Several have obedience or performance titles.

The initials in front or behind a dog's name represents titles. For instance, Ch or CH in front of a name means Champion and the
initials CD after a name is an obedience title, meaning Companion Dog. Ttere are many initials for many titles!

Each breeding is planned with great care. If possible, the offspring of the sire and dam from different breedings are evaluated. The combination of ancestors is carefully evaluated with the goal of improving the next generation.

In order to prove the worth of a future sire and dam, the dog should be strictly evaluated and more than likely be shown. Good physical conformation, correct movement, and temperament is essential. Many show breeders will have others help them evaluate a puppy or dog according to the Dalmatian Breed Standard.



The costs of raising, conditioning, training, entries, travel, and campaigning a dog are not cheap. Training fees may occur. Factors include: the right vehicle, crates and dog pads, grooming aides, shampoo, brushes, toenail grinder, show leads, show clothes, and gas and hotels. Dalmatian owners are lucky as grooming is minimal compared to the dogs with long or full coats.

Most entry fees are $22 to $28 per dog per day. Many owner learn to show their own dogs and love doing it. If they can't, the breeder, the stud owner, or a local breeder may be interested in showing your dog for a reasonable fee. A professional handler may be necessary in order to get the dog to the shows and to be shown. Shows are in different cities each weekend and some weekdays.

A show dog's championship title can easily cost $3,000 to $5,000. A dog that is campaigned can cost as much as the owner wants to spend - - $15,000 to $35,000 in a year.

An obedience or other performance title could cost more or cost less since the dog is required to pass the test a certain number of times. For instance, in obedience, a Companion Dog title, called a C.D., could be earned in 3 trials, but the Utility Dog Excellent or U.D.X., takes 10 trials and the dog must pass BOTH the Open and Utility classes in order to earn a 'leg.' A lot of time, effort, patience, training, and love go into training a dog toward the performance titles. It would be rare for a performance dog not to go to many training classes. There is almost a limitless number of titles to be earned in performance.

An example of one performance title would be 3 trials and the dog earns the 3 necessary "legs" for a CD. If entry fees are $25, and if the dog passes all 3 trials, total is $75. Travel expenses, gas, food, parking, overnight hotel or travel vehicle is the bare minimum.

It's hard to estimate, but a CD title could cost $400 to $600. A title requiring more trials or more distance to travel to could add to that cost. One lady estimated over $3,000 for a particular performance title.

While scrutinizing all of these prices, remember the FUN !

Factoring in the fun, training your dog, meeting new people, having a good time while traveling, and the pride of putting titles on your dog does help make up for the bills. Being involved in dog events is awesome!

So, perhaps now the dogs being considered for breeding have a good pedigree and titles or at least have titles in the parents and grandparents and so on. What about HEALTH ?



The owner and a veterinarian can observe and assess that the dog is clear of certain health problems. However, other health problems must be diagnosed. Usually specific health tests are recommended by the breed club as different breeds tend to have different problems. See the Dalmatian Club of America website for information on Dals.

As a dog matures, health clearances appropriate for the age and breed are performed.

The first test a Dalmatian puppy will get is the Brain Auditory Evoked Response or BAER test. This will determine if a puppy is deaf, can hear in one ear but not the other (unilateral), or can hear in both ears (bilateral).

A reputable Dalmatian breeder will give a puppy's BAER hearing result to each new owner.

Other tests may be performed on older puppies and dogs and include such exams of the hips, elbows, eyes, thyroid, and heart. There are other tests for different breeds.

Different breeds are concerned with different health problems. Some problems cannot be tested for or may occur later on; seizures or epilepsy is an example of this.

Health clearances are also found on many pedigrees. These are usually listed under a name; just because a test is not listed, does not mean the dog was not tested; the information may be missing. While you may not understand what each one is, ask the breeder. Also, many of the terms can be found under Hollytree Dalmatians' RESOURCE LINKS.



The dam of the litter must be in optimal health. Vaccinations must be appropriate. I always worm my girls as soon as I see signs of impending heat prior to being bred. A brucellosis test must be drawn; this is $60.. A vaginal cytology, $20, progesterone testing, if needed are $35 each.

There is the expense of getting the dam to the sire. It may be a 100 miles or it may be 1,000 miles, so travel expenses really can't be estimated. It is customary for the dam to be flown/shipped to the stud dog.

Sometimes fresh or frozen semen is used and the cost of shipping this in its special container could run close to $200.
Several progesterone tests may be needed to determine ovulation. Having a veterinarian inseminate ($85 - $125 for each breeding) or do a surgical implant ($300 - $400) are possible expenses.

Just getting the dam bred could cost $250 to $2,000.

The sire has a 'stud fee.' There is a stud fee contract. It is not unusual for a stud fee to cost the price of one puppy or an actual puppy.

An average stud fee is $500 to $1,000.

Where to raise the litter is important. A place must be readied for the arrival of the newborn puppies. This must be a very warm environment. Puppies do not shiver when they are born. Getting colostrum milk from the mother is imperative in the first 15 hours. If something were to happen to the mother and a human does not intervene, the puppies will die quickly. Breeders use a "whelping box."

The breeder takes Mom and babies in for a health check after they are born. Hollytree Moms always get a x-ray to make sure all puppies have been delivered. At about 2 - 3 days of age, dewclaws are removed. At intervals starting at 2 weeks, puppies will be wormed with different worm medications. Each week the puppies are photographed. Each day, the whelping box is cleaned several times and fresh pads and towels are laid. There's lots of laundry!

As the litter grows, a larger area must be used. Toys and objects to explore are added into the Puppy's World. By the time the puppies are walking, the beginnings of housebreaking starts. At 8 weeks, the puppies will get their first vaccinations.

A whelping box, a heated environment, clean towels, blankets or sherpa pads can cost a breeder between $200 to $500.

Follow up veterinary care with abdominal x-ray, oxytocin injection, dew claws, and health check, $140 to $160.

Wormings and vaccinations of a puppy up to 8 weeks of age average $50 each puppy.

Toys and treats average $20 - $40.

Once the pups are over 6 weeks, they travel to have their BAER hearing test. For Hollytree puppies, this means a trip of 3-1/2 hours one way in a large van. Lots of paperwork is filled out. It's a long day! The BAER hearing test is $35 a puppy.

If the puppies have not been microchipped, they are the day of the test to positively identify them with their test. Each microchip is about $25.

Health certificates may be needed for intra-state travel or flying. $20



Now that you know the difference between a reputable breeder and a backyard breeder or puppy farm, let's sum up a quality Dalmatian puppy:

A quality Dalmatian puppy has value because of its champion and performance ancestry, the temperament and health clearances in the ancestry, the contract guarantee, the way it was raised, the BAER hearing test, the microchipping, the veterinary care, the good quality dog food, the cleanliness in which is was raised, the socialization it received, and the potential in the show or performance events. You have a contract guaranteeing the puppy from genetic problems.

You also have a Dalmatian advisor for the life of the dog. You know everything to be known about your Dalmatian puppy. MOST of all, you have the love and affection of a beautiful and loyal pet.


Performance or Pet Puppy: $1,000. ($300 Deposit)

Show Puppy: $1200 - $1,500 ($500 Deposit)

Co-Owned Show Puppy: $1,000 ($400 Deposit)

Older Puppies and Adult Dogs: $500 to $1,500 depending upon show potential, show points, and breeding potential.

Rescue Dalmatians: $250 to $400, depending upon veterinarian fees.

Payment is due before taking your puppy home.

Anyone out of state must agree to a "home check" by an agreed upon dog fancier. I do not like to fly dogs, but this depends upon the circumstance and if the new owner will be flying with the puppy or dog.

Buyer is responsible for any costs involved in transporting, flying/shipping of a puppy/dog including shipping costs involved if the puppy/dog is returned for ANY reason.

This includes show puppies that are unacceptable to the buyer for any reason. This includes but is not limited to air charges and crates. Normal veterinary charges will be paid by the seller.



As a general rule I will be the one choosing the best puppy to suit an individual buyer's needs and requests.

Puppies are individuals. I temperament test the puppies and watch their attitude and degree of activity every day. I know my puppies well. I may be able to give you a choice of puppies and will describe each puppy's temperament. You
will have plenty of photographs as well!

It is important for you to know what you want to do with your Dalmatian puppy when it grows up. Discuss this with any Dalmatian breeder so they can help you select an individual puppy that suits your lifestyle.

A SHOW quality Dalmatian puppy is a wonderful companion that should be shown in conformation shows for championship points and any performance events the owner enjoys. A show contract is signed by the owner. A show quality Dalmatian is also considered 'breeder quality.' The World's the limit!

A PERFORMANCE or PET quality Dalmatian puppy can be just a wonderful companion or be shown in performance events such as obedience, rally, agility, tracking, road trials with horses, and fly ball. There's no limit to the fun! A performance or pet quality Dalmatian will have a spay/neuter contract.

* Please see my contracts listed on the Puppy Page

Show puppies are chosen first and their placement ALWAYS takes priority. Performance puppies are next.

Show and performance puppies are only placed in homes where they are sure to be show. In small litters it is possible that all of the puppies are potential show prospects and no pet puppies will be available.



The puppies will have started with housebreaking and crate training. New puppy owners are provided with an extensive puppy packet which includes the veterinary records, a copy of my contract, BAER health clearance, pictures, pedigrees, puppy booklet, collar, a blanket from 'home,' and more.

Puppies will go home between 7 - 10 weeks depending on when I am able to determine which puppies are potential show dogs and if the pups are mature enough to go home.

Every effort is made to insure each puppy will be destined for a long, happy and healthy life. Many Dalmatians live to be 14 to 15 years of age or older.

You will spend lots of happy hours training and socializing your Dalmatian puppy.

All puppies need manners and obedience training. The first years of training very important to create a family member with manners. I highly recommend at least one obedience class beyond any "Puppy Class." This will give at least 2 classes of socialization and basic training. The more, the better!

Several owners go on to put show and performance titles on their Dalmatians. I am proud of each and every one!


buying dalmatian puppies - buyer knowledge