Genetics and high demand increase the price of hunting dogs

ABERDEEN, SD (Dakota News Now) – The pheasant hunting season is upon us, and while fuel and ammunition prices have risen with inflation, so has the price of a hunting dog.

John Luttrell owns Luttrell Kennels in Clark, South Dakota. He’s been breeding and training hunting dogs for 27 years, and he says he’s seen the price jump in that time.

“Of course, the price has also changed. We go in the $1,000-$2,000 range for a quality pup. You pay even more for some of the smaller breeds that are a bit rarer,” Luttrell said.

One of the reasons the price of dogs has changed is that the science of breeding has also changed, which helps Luttrell produce a higher quality pup.

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“With genetic testing now available, it’s insane how many different diseases we can eliminate through genetic testing and smart breeding,” Luttrell said.

As the pandemic began, so did the demand for dogs, and dog owners had more time to spend at home with a new four-legged friend.

“During COVID the demand was so high that even lower quality puppies were getting so much money. Now the lower quality puppies don’t get as much money, but the high quality puppies still get what they paid for,” Luttrell said.

More demand for dogs led to more demand for training, and Luttrell has been booked up for months.

“Demand has certainly increased. We’ve been as far out there as we’ve ever been in the last three years,” said Luttrell.

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Demand and the cost of materials meant that Luttrell also increased the price of his training services.

“There is a higher demand for that and yes we have increased our prices but diesel fuel is more expensive, ammunition is more expensive, dog food is more expensive and we have to do it because our costs have increased. insurance is up. Everything is fine,” Luttrell said.

Hunting season brings in a lot of money for the tourism industry in South Dakota. An important part of this is adapting to the dogs that the hunters want to bring with them.

Casey Weismantel, the executive director of the Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau, says he appreciates being accommodating to hunters and their dogs, as he would like the same for his dog Luna.

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“We have hunters that we speak to who will not travel unless their dog can stay at the hotel. Luckily all hotels in Aberdeen are dog friendly but I agree with them. I don’t want to go unless I can bring Luna and I can enjoy the experience through her eyes,” Weismantel said.

To celebrate the hounds who work during the hunting season, the Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau held a “Pup” Crawl Social. Community members were encouraged to bring their dogs to Malchow Plaza Thursday night for a voluntary fundraiser benefiting the Aberdeen Area Humane Society and the Pet Rescue League.