Genetics and high demand increase the price of hunting dogs

Pheasant hunting season is just around the corner, and while the price of fuel and ammo has risen with inflation, so has the price of a hunting dog.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 5:24 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Pheasant hunting season is just around the corner, and while the price of fuel and ammo has risen with inflation, so has the price of a hunting dog.

John Luttrell owns Luttrell Kennels in Clark, South Dakota. He has bred and trained hunting dogs for 27 years, and he says he’ seen the price jump in that time.

”Obviously the price has changed also. We’re getting up into the $1,000 to $2,000 range for a high-quality puppy. Some of the the more smaller breeds that are a little bit more rare, you’re going to even pay more than that,” said Luttrell.

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

”The genetic tests that are available now, it’s crazy how many different diseases we can eliminate by doing genetic tests and breeding smart,” said Luttrell.

The demand for dogs also rose when the pandemic began, and dog owners had more time to spend at home with a new four-legged friend.

”During COVID, the demand was so high, even lower-quality puppies were getting that kind of money. Now, the lower-quality puppies are not getting that kind of money anymore, but the high-quality puppies, you’re still getting what you paid for,” said Luttrell.

More demand for dogs resulted in more demand for training, and Luttrell is booked out for months.

”Demand is certainly up. We’ve been full further out than we’ve ever been before for the last three years,” said Luttrell.

The demand and the cost of supplies led Luttrell to increase the price of his training services too.

”There’s a higher demand for that, and yes, we have increased our prices, but diesel fuel is more expensive, ammo is more expensive, dog food is more expensive, and we have to do it because our costs are up. Insurance is up. Everything is up,” said Luttrell.

Hunting season brings in big bucks for the South Dakota tourism industry. A key part of that is accommodating to the dogs the hunters want to bring.

Casey Weismantel, the Executive Director of the Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau, says he values accommodating to hunters and their dogs, as he would want the same for his dog Luna.

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

To celebrate the hunting dogs that put in work during 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 evening for a free-will donation event that benefitted the Aberdeen Area Humane Society and Pet Rescue League.