Bloodlines: The heritage of your Yorkie will be the number one determining factor of his price. Sought-after breeders customarily have several dams and sires that they breed on a regular basis, although it is not uncommon for them to fly a specific stud hundreds of miles to breed with a dam. AKC Champions are often used for breeding and, of course, puppies of these award-winning dogs will have a much higher price tag, sometimes making the difference between a dog that costs $1000 and one that costs $10,000!
Gender: Typically, females cost more than males. This is usually because females are more in demand than males, but often, people prefer females for the prospect of breeding. However, most breeders have a spay/neuter contract, so breeding would be out of the question anyway. If they are from the same litter, the typical difference in price between male and female can be from $300-$500 (although some breeders charge the same amount).
Coat: The AKC only recognizes 4 color combinations in the breed standard, and the coat must be glossy, fine, and silky in texture. If your puppy’s coat is coarser, then he might be for sale for a less expensive price. If, however, your puppy’s locks would be the envy of Hollywood celebrities, rest assured you will pay for it!
Size: Although the breed standard calls for the Yorkie to be between 4-7 lbs, some breeders often try to sell smaller Yorkies for a higher price because they are in high demand. On the other hand, if you are interested in participating in events such as agility courses, Yorkies on the higher end of the scale can be a better option (and fortunately will be less expensive because they are not as high in demand).
Location of the Breeder
Unless you are purchasing a Yorkie from a breeder within a day’s drive, you will likely have to deal with the additional cost of transporting your Yorkie home to you. Most breeders would prefer that new owners come in person to their facilities to personally meet their pup and transport the new addition home themselves, but of course this is not always possible.
If the breeder is a significant distance away and needs to be transported by air, you are looking at least another $300 dollars in cost. If the animal can be driven, most breeders will determine a price based on mileage. If your breeder does not offer transportation services (such as arranging logistics or driving the dog themselves), and you are unable to make the trip, you can hire a pet transport company, which is not an inexpensive service: you will be looking at a minimum of $200, but likely this number will reach closer to the thousand dollar mark (and beyond!) based on varying factors such as land vs. air, cost of gas, length of trip, insurance, and other fees like supplying crates and health certificates.
Backyard vs. Licensed Breeder
Although you may think that breeding dogs would be an excellent way to make money, breeding dogs is a very expensive occupation, and many breeders hardly break even after the cost of veterinarian bills, immunizations, supplies, food, facilities, and medical costs is added up (in fact, the majority of Yorkie dams require C-sections, which cost around $2000).
Regardless of the money involved, many unskilled and inexperienced people breed dogs to make money. These backyard breeders either try to sell their puppies online (so they can avoid having buyers come to their facility), or sell direct to pet stores. AKC licensed breeders have a contract that will not allow them to sell to pet stores. Many (if not all) backyard breeders advertise dogs that “have papers” or are “registered,” but before you pay, be sure to inquire about the registry and see the registration form with your own eyes.
A Final Word
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” keep in mind that the same idea applies to buying a Yorkie. You may see ads online for free Yorkies, or for puppies that only cost a couple of hundred dollars, but rest assured that these dogs are part of a scam operation, or are very sick.
A healthy, breed standard, AKC registered Yorkie will likely never be free, so be sure to do your homework to ensure you are confident about your purchase. Yorkies are certainly not inexpensive to buy, and owning any breed of dog comes with a lifetime commitment of vet bills, food, grooming, vaccinations, toys, and training, among other costs. Be sure you are ready to not only come out the initial cost to purchase your Yorkie, but also to commit to 12-15 years of providing your dog everything he or she needs before bringing them home.