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Breeding Your Dog: Does it Make Any Cents?
For anyone who may balk at the price of good pups nowadays, or who may think to himself, “At those prices I should become a breeder!” let me assure you that breeding does not make millionaires. There are a lot of bad reasons people breed their dogs, but there are only a few good ones. If you don’t meet all three of the following conditions and you still want to breed your dog, take a long, hard look at the situation in our crowded shelters across the country before you decide to contribute to the problem.
Good reasons to breed your dog:
1. You have in your possession a five generation pedigree (at least) for your dog that contains numerous champions in conformation, obedience, and/or fieldwork. There is no evidence of in-breeding, and you have a stud in mind with a complimentary pedigree.
2. Your dog is in excellent condition and closely fits the AKC standards for the breed.
3. You possess an abundance of time, patience, and indeed, passion for dogs in general, and your breed in particular. What’s more, you are in a financial position to cover the expenses that invariably incur with breeding dogs (see below for details).
If you’re a dog-lover looking for a way to make a few extra bucks, do yourself a favor and open up a kennel or a high-end poodle salon. Don’t imagine that raising pups will bring in the bucks, for the reality is the very opposite. But in case you’re still seeing dollar signs…
This article should give you an idea of the cost involved in breeding a dog.
To begin with, there are the initial costs, like purchasing the mother. If you remember condition #1 (above), you know that you’re going to need to be picky if you want to breed her. Plan on approximately $800. You’ll then need to have a series of tests run to make sure she meets condition #2. These tests include hip X-rays to rule out hip dysplaia, eye tests to check for cataracts, and tests for thyroid disease, in addition to any other tests recommended for the breed. These tests will cost you at least $300. Of course, you don’t have to do these tests, but it you don’t, you have no way of guaranteeing the genetic health of your pups, which serious buyers will be expecting. Then, of course there are the dog supplies you’ll need for the first year before your gal is ready to breed (food, toys, vitamins—you’re going to want to keep her healthy), but you had already planned on those, right? Tack on another $1,000.
So now we get to the fees at the time of breeding. Expect at least $400 for the stud fee, although it’s more if you insist on a champion-quality stud. There may be travel and boarding expenses, but we’ll give you a break and pretend that dream-guy lives down the block. Once your gal is pregnant she’ll need routine vet exams to check for infections that might affect the health of the pups. If anything goes wrong you may have to pay for ultrasounds or an emergency C-section. Oh yeah, pregnant dogs eat more, and need more vitamins…We’re talking $500 or more, even for a healthy pregnancy.
You’ll need some special equipment for the big day: whelping box, heat pads and lamps, thermometer, scissors, towels, baby scales, tweezers, hemostats, baby suction bulb, bottles and/or tubes for feeding (just in case mom gets an infection or can’t feed her pups), milk replacement formula, and nail clippers. But you probably have most of this stuff lying around, right? So we’ll be modest and say $100. Whew! The pups arrive and all is well. Now the money starts rolling in, right?
Wrong! You’ve only just begun. To keep those pups in tip-top shape you’ll need puppy wormer (given at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks), diarrhea medication, wellness check-ups with the vet, vaccinations and eye certifications, extra puppy food and vitamins, and advertisement fees! Plan on $300 minimum for each pup, plus $100 to take them off your hands. Oh, and you’ll need time off work to care for mother and pups. But you had ample time, right (condition #3)?
Wow! All those expenses add up fast! For a litter of four you’ll be dishing out at least $4,400. Even if you sell your pups for $800 (that’s average for a well-bred puppy), you’re out $1,200. While some of these expenses are one-time, can you expect to make money down the road? After seven litters, you might. But then again, consider that annual maintenance of the mother will cost you $1,000, and you shouldn’t breed her at intervals more frequent than two years. Maybe it’s understandable why 75% of breeders do not attempt to breed again. The verdict is in…if you’re thinking of breeding for the money, you should know right now, breeding definitely does not make cents!
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