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As I sit on the deck of my yacht and look at my two dogs, all three of us eating fresh king salmon just yanked out of the bay by our fisherman-butler-sea captain, Jeeves, I shift my feet on the alligator-leather ottoman, sip my '65 Moet, turn my eyes out over the horizon, stroke my closely-cropped beard I've just groomed with scented whale-oil, and consider just how to explain to you how hoity-toity and luxurious it is to have a dog with a low chance of dropping dead from SAS at 2 years old and a low chance of ever developing hip dysplasia.
You see, I became a spectacularly wealthy person with a yacht and a fisherman-butler-sea captain on the staff by making prudent financial decisions, and while I enjoy the deep sense of superiority I feel every time I peruse my dogs' pedigrees, the real reason I spent $1200 is because I actually did my homework, and a $1200 dog from a clearance-heavy ancestry with proof of structure and longevity is actually the cheapest dog you can own.
Accusations often fly when people want "just a pet" that those of us who spent $1200 on pet dogs from titled ancestry do so out of some high-falutin' sense of having a dog with more cachet. Maybe some folks do, but the people who love and research the breed and then spend $1200+ on their dogs don't do so because they have so much money that they don't know what to do with it. I didn't spend $1200 because I had $700 extra dollars lying around. I did so because I crunched the numbers and it's a no-brainer.
The basic fact is that a strong clearance history saves more money than it costs. Yes, a dog can still get a condition like hip dysplasia, even if the clearance history is incredibly good, but his odds are cut by at least 50% over a dog with no clearance history. Spending a few hundred dollars to cut the odds of a $5000 surgery is just good math. It's like a kind of health insurance that prevents you from having to see a doctor at all. And the four clearances that are standard on Goldens give you that kind of risk reduction for all kinds of $5K-$10K problems, not just on the hips.
I don't need a dog who can win in the ring, and I don't have one. I do need a dog who's got the deck stacked in his favor for a long, healthy life with as few medical interventions as possible, partly because I don't want to have to cough up thousands for surgery and medicine, and partly because I don't want my dogs to suffer.
Saving $500 up front by cutting corners on health and temperament is just bad math because you're risking 10 or 20 times that amount by buying from a risky breeding, not to mention the fact that you're playing games with the pain and suffering of an animal that, no matter how bad his breeder is, will offer you unquestioning loyalty and will not hold it against you that you took unnecessary risks with his health because you were bad at math.
Last edited by tippykayak; 01-09-2013 at 12:05 PM.