If you’re thinking of getting into the dog breeding business, there are a few things you need to know. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the basics of dog breeding, outline some tips and tricks for success, and give you a roadmap to follow. Armed with this information, you’ll be well on your way to starting up a successful dog breeding business!
Talk about a challenge! If you are really serious about your dream of becoming a top quality dog breeder and have no interest in breeding your dog “just once, just for fun”, then you need to know a typical scenario describing a breeder’s activities and investments. We’ll begin by assuming that you will be in this for the long haul… fifteen or twenty years. That’s how long it can take to really see how your breeding program, how YOUR selective breeding decisions, have resulted in better dogs than you started with. The goal should be to achieve the Breed Standard. Understand you’ll not reach that goal, but the closer to it the better. So far, no one has bred the “Perfect Dog”.
Dog Breeding Business
Dog breeding business-Examine your motive
First, Examine your motive carefully when you are in the Dog Breeding Business. Is this something you’ve been thinking about for a long time or could it be more of a passing interest? Are you getting involved because you really like being around animals, really like the responsibility of caring for them? Or, as many first-time breeders seem to be motivated, do you expect to make a load of money and supplement your income? If money is your motive, I’ll bet you aren’t in this breeding business four years from now. If your primary drive emanates from the love of the animal and because you find fulfillment in spending time and effort with your canine friends, there’s a good chance you’ll be doing this for many enjoyable years.
Once you are committed be sure that you select a breed that is consistent with your personal and situational parameters. If you live in the city, a small breed would be best for obvious reasons. If you are living in Florida, you might not select heavy coated breeds such as the Saint Bernard. If you live on a ranch or have access to acres of private land, sight hounds, retrievers and large breeds may be a good choice. Once you have selected the breed you want to be committed to, study all you can about them. Know the Breed Standard by heart, and take it to heart because THAT is your goal. Every breeding decision should be made in the light of answering this question: “Will breeding this sire and dam produce pups that will conform even closer to the Breed Standard?”
Talk to a lot of breeders; look at Pedigree charts; study the “Pets for sale” want adds to assess the market in your area. Get some good books on breeding and breed standards and spend time at the dog shows. You will begin to get a feel for the business of dog breeding and showing. You will soon find out who is important in the breed’s human sphere of influence and discover “what the judges are looking for” in the breed. Now, this does not mean that you must be a conformist and have to have just one certain line of dogs or certain “look” within that breed. You decide what is important to you regarding how you think the breed should look, always using the Breed Standard as your guide. Write your goals and your own standards down. Develop a “Kennel Philosophy”; be able to defend your philosophy, and stick with it.
Costs and Investments in Dog Breeding Business
The expense of operating even a small breeding kennel is such a big consideration that simply should never be underestimated when considering whether or not to get into this business seriously. Are you going to have to feed cheap, grain-based foods and look for bargain deals when it comes to feeding your dogs? Will their housing be optimal? Do you have a veterinarian you can trust to assist you and who may allow a monthly payment policy if you have sudden and unbudgeted expenses?
I asked my veterinary receptionist to make a list of expenses she generally incurs during the routine running of her breeding business. Ginger and her husband Todd operate Aftershock Great Danes and have done very well in the breeding and showing arenas. (I don’t mean by “very well” that they have made bundles of money! I refer to their consistency of plan, personal satisfaction in doing what they do, and positive feedback they have gotten in seeing their pups go on to happy owners and success in the show ring.) Take it away, Ginger…
kind of expenses for dog breeding business
“Here is a partial list of the kind of expenses that are to be expected if you are a serious breeder of Great Danes. (It really isn’t much different with any other breed, though, because each breed has its own particular health idiosyncrasies. I’m not even going to bring up the expense of building, equipping, heating and lighting a kennel; nor property and liability insurance costs; property taxes, zoning approval and depreciation and repairs!)
1.) Your Great Dane needs to be registered through OFA-Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. These x-rays show the hip joints and associated bony components and any deviations from normal. If your dog doesn’t pass, don’t breed. This registry can not be done until the Dane is 2 years old (when the growth period is complete), so if you have a puppy, use this time to visit the show or obedience ring and put some titles on. The OFA procedure requires deep sedation or light anesthesia to execute properly and may cost you in the neighborhood of $150.00 Another procedure, called the PENN HIP procedure is also used to evaluate the hips. This is a fairly new method of showing any laxity of the hips, the dog should score high and well above the medium. $200.00 to $300.00
2.) CERF- this is the registry of the eyes; a Board Certified Veterinary Specialist in ophthalmologist must examine the eyes for any hereditary defects. $30.00 per year and does have to be updated. (The specialist will charge you for the exam, too.)
3.) Cardiac- The heart evaluation needs to be run by a Board Certified Cardiologist usually at a University and needs to be updated yearly also. $100.00
4.) Thyroid Function- This blood test can be done through your local veterinary hospital and is a one-time evaluation… $50.00 to $80.00.
5.) DNA and Microchip are very important. These need to be registered through AKC (The American Kennel Club) and are a must if you plan on using Artificial Insemination. DNA profile is $60.00 and Microchip is $50.00.
6.) Brucellosis- This test needs to be run prior to each breeding. It will show if the male/female are carriers of this sexually transmitted disease. $40.00 to $60.00.
7.) Finally, take your dog to the veterinarian for any vaccinations and a preventative worming before your dog is to be bred. Of course, male dogs can’t transmit intestinal parasites or viral diseases to the pups like the dam might. But his health is vitally important nonetheless.”
Ginger goes on to relate the following:
“Now that the “routine costs” have been listed, you can see that to get your girl/boy ready for breeding you need to invest a substantial amount of money. Did you ever guess how expensive dog breeding was? Well we have just started scratching the surface. Let’s say you have invested in a beautiful female Dane and she will be the foundation for your kennel’s future.
Now you need to find a mate for your dog. Define what qualities your dog’s mate must have to assist the likelihood of the offspring being closer to the Breed Standards than either the sire or dam. For example, if you own a bitch whose head seems slightly smaller than ideal, look for a sire that has a large head. If your bitch has just a slight drop in her top line, look for a male whose back is level and strong.
And if you say your dog doesn’t have any faults, stop right now! Every dog has a fault no matter how many International champions and obedience titles the dog has. If you are unsure of what is standard call, AKC they will have videos and information on your breed and they will also have reputable breeders who you can contact to help you determine if your dog is conformationally correct. If the dog isn’t, don’t breed. It is very difficult to correct faults with 1 or 2 breedings. It is easier and faster and wiser to start over. Look into reputable breeders who show and have AKC titles champions.
Do a search the Internet, nationally published magazines and newsletters, and breed clubs. If you are looking for a male, find a boy that will improve your genetic pedigree and hopefully correct the faults your girl has. The male should also have the same temperament and
physical traits that your girl has and should have passed all of the genetic tests. This can be very time consuming, and it should be. There are a lot of dogs out there so don’t limit yourself because of distance. You have invested so much already and if you find a dog halfway across the country… go for it! You can always artificially inseminate if travel is a problem. Artificial insemination is practiced much more commonly today because it doesn’t limit you by distance and it opens up a wider field for your pedigree. Keep in mind that you are looking for a dog/bitch that will improve upon your dog. Think Breed Standards!
Once you have determined who the sire will be, you need to begin planning the breeding. You need to contact the owner and set a price for stud fee. A written contract is important to ensure proper breeding rights if the bitch doesn’t become pregnant on the first try. In fact, get as much in writing as possible. The stud fees often range from $500.00-$1000.00. If you own both parents, it can be quite easy. The bitch should come into heat every 6-9 months and the heat usually lasts about 3 weeks. Within this time, usually about 10-14 days into the heat, she will become receptive to the male. She will begin to stand with her back end toward the male and flag. This means she will stand with her tail crooked off to one side. She should let the male mount and tie-up with her. If you can breed her 2-3 times over a three day span, that should insure a successful breeding.
A note on Artificial Insemination: If you plan on using Artificial Insemination you need to start progesterone hormone level tests on the bitch shortly prior to her anticipated time of accepting the male. Your local veterinarian can do this. These blood tests often cost a minimum of $30.00 per test and may need to be run every other day until she shows what is called a surge… which means she is ovulating. Once established that she is ovulating, there will be a window of 2-3 days in which to collect the semen and ship it either cooled or frozen and have it implanted. Surgical emplacement of the semen directly into the body of the uterus carries a much higher rate of success than non-surgical deposition of semen into the upper vagina. If you are the male and are collecting and shipping the semen you will need to contact a collection lab. I use ICG- International Canine Genetics or CLONE is another one. You need to arrange to have a collection and shipping box specially made for this procedure sent to you so that you can properly collect the semen. This will run about $200.00 including the collection and shipping costs. Wow, I bet you didn’t know it could be so costly, and you don’t even have puppies yet! Hopefully around 64 days later you will. You can bring the bitch in to your veterinarian about 30 days after breeding for an ultrasound to assess the success of your efforts. Once you have a confirmed breeding the real work begins! But that’s another article!”
One of the three vital considerations needing to be assessed, and arguably even THE most important, is the quality of the dogs’ temperament. Nothing is worse for a pet loving family than to be continuously in fear that their dog may bite them or someone else. And these situations are seen daily in every animal hospital all across the country. Temperament IS strongly associated with genetics. A fearful, ambivalent, or aggressive dog is much more likely to produce offspring that share those characteristics than to produce mellow, self-confident and biddable offspring. Again, let’s listen to Ginger’s good advice:”Before you begin to breed, you need to question yourself if you have a breedable dog. The goal of breeding is to improve the breed. Just because your dog is AKC registered doesn’t mean it should be bred. To me temperament is the first; to ignore that attribute is to do a grave injustice to the entire breed. The dog’s personality should be true to breed, for instance a Great Dane, the Apollo of dogs, should be gentle, with a calm and noble stature, never fearful or aggressive. Temperament is such an important aspect of breeding I can’t express it strongly enough. Please be conscious of this and if you are unsure, just don’t breed this dog!!! Too many dogs are being euthanized every day because of intractable personality and temperament disorders. This dog breeding business IS serious stuff.”
Establishing a kennel, watching it and the “family” grow, and seeing your goals gradually attai
ned through careful, consistent planning can have rewards far beyond simply monetary benefits. Take a lot of pictures, too. Years down the road you won’t believe how fast the time flew and the photos will bring all those happy days back again.
It seems that many people are eager to get into the dog breeding business, but don’t know where to start. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this blog, you can successfully breed dogs and reap the benefits of this booming industry. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
Frequently Asked Questions
How profitable is dog breeding?
The amount of money a dog breeding business can make is determined by the quality of its dogs and the number of litters it breeds each year. A high-end breeder may only have four litters per year, but their dogs sell for $2,500 each. If each litter had six dogs, the company’s annual revenue would be $60,000.
How do you name a dog breeding business?
There are a few things that you will need to consider when naming your dog breeding business. First and foremost, you will need to decide on a business name that is both catchy and descriptive. This will help potential customers to understand what you do and how it can benefit them. You will also need to consider the trademark laws in your area, as some terms that are trademarked may not be suitable for use in your business name.