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The first thing to ask yourself when you consider breeding your dog is, “What are my motives and goals?”

These are some of the common reasons:

1. It is a purebred (even better, with champion bloodlines!) and I want to make some money.

Don’t hold your breath on this one. Very often the cost far outweighs the profit in dog breeding. Let’s consider the costs involved.

1. Clearances. First, if you breed responsibly you will have the expense of getting your dog’s clearances (hips, elbows and eyes, at a minimum). This means taking the dog for hip and elbow x-rays and having those sent of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for evaluation. This cannot be skipped because the only way to rule out dysplasia is by doing the x-rays (even if your dog shows no signs of dysplasia). To get the eye clearances you have to take the dog to a certified veterinary ophthalmologist for evaluation. If you are not sure your dog is a non-carrier of Progressive Retinol Dysplasia (PRA) then you’ll need to have that tested for. The cost of the clearances will run anywhere from $400 to $750 and you hold your breath until you get everything cleared because if something doesn’t pass then you have spent the money on a dog that cannot be bred.

2. Stud Fee. The stud fees can range but for a dog with his clearances and a nice pedigree (and why wouldn’t you demand clearances after all you’ve put into getting your own dog tested) is $800 – $900.

3. Additional Expenses. If you are fortunate to find a stud nearby then you will save yourself some of these expenses but if you allow the stud to tie your bitch there are several issues you’ll want to consider, the chance of contracting disease being a big one. For artificial insemination you will pay for progesterone testing on your bitch, shipping of semen, boxes and extender and for the insemination. These costs can range from $250 to $500.

4. Vet Expenses. If you have a c-section this will cost anywhere from $400 to $900. Then once the puppies arrive you’ll be paying for de-worming, vaccinations and a well-puppy check so the vet can examine each puppy for any potential problems. Cost of puppy care will range from $45 to $95 per puppy.

This may not sound like a great deal of money when you are counting on ten or twelve puppies. But what if your dog only has one puppy or gives birth to twelve still-born puppies? Or, what if your dog gets pregnant with one or two puppies and requires a c-section? This is a change you have to be willing to take.

2. I want my children to learn the facts of life.

Most dogs give birth during the calm periods in a house. This means middle of the night and nine times out of ten, the children will never see the actual birth. Of course, newborn puppies are cute and wonderful but once that stage is over someone will have to socialize the puppies, feed them, clean after them and keep them under a watchful eye. This is a lot of work and time consuming. Then, the puppies are ready to go home and you get to tell your child(ren) that it is time for those puppies they’ve grown to love are leaving.

3. It is a purebred.

There are millions of purebred dogs in the world. Thousands of them end up in animal shelters across the nation every week. Every purebred dog should not be bred. Breeding should occur between the best quality animals for the betterment of the breed.

4. I love my dog so much that I want another one just like him/her.

This is simple. If you love your dog that much then go back to his/her breeder and buy another one. You don’t have to try to become an overnight breeder just to get another dog.

These are just a few things a breeder has to consider when thinking of breeding. It has been said that breeding is not “for the faint of heart” for many reasons – some are things you cannot even imagine until you have faced it.

So before you jump into starting a breeding program please stop and think!