Anyone who has a beautiful, healthy pedigree dog of any type has no doubt thought at some point about the idea of breeding from their dog, or the abstract idea of setting up as a small-scale professional breeder. However, this is not a decision to be entered into lightly or on a whim, because breeding dogs of any type has wide-ranging implications, not only for the dogs that you actually breed, but for the welfare of dogs in the UK in general.
Before you can even make an informed decision on whether or not becoming a dog breeder is the right choice for you and whether or not your own dogs are of a good enough quality to breed from, you should also think about the potential ease or difficulty of selling your eventual puppies, whether or not there will be demand for them, and whether or not the country really needs more dogs competing for homes!
If you have started doing your research and everything looks good so far, something else that you will need to look at carefully is whether or not you can actually afford to become a dog breeder-while the plan is of course to make some money from the eventual sale of your puppies, dog breeding when done properly is an expensive business, and few responsible small-scale breeders can actually make a profit from what they do, in some cases, just finding breaking even a challenge!
With this in mind, this article will cover some of the varied and numerous costs and expenses involved in breeding dogs responsibly, in order to help you to make informed plans and an eventual decision. Read on to learn more.
First of all, in order to produce healthy, good quality puppies, you need to start with a healthy, good quality dog! Buying a pedigree dog of any breed is not cheap, and the costs rise considerably when you are looking for a show-quality dog or one that is otherwise a good pick for breeding. Additionally, some breeders and sellers also charge a premium if you intend to breed from the dog that you buy, and will not be having them spayed or neutered.
Once you have the right bitch to breed from, you either need to double down on your expenditure for a stud dog of your own, or pay stud fees for the perfect father to your litter! Stud fees can prove costly, particularly if you need to make more than one trip back and forth, and also, working out when your bitch will be most fertile and receptive to breeding can take up a lot of your time!
It is important to factor in the cost of caring for the bitch and if applicable, sire as part of your calculations, and this means everything from food to vaccinations to insurance and all of the other costs involved in keeping a dog too! Obviously, a lot of these costs would still exist even if you were only keeping the dog as a pet, but when it comes to breeding, you still need to account for the lifelong care of the parent dogs.
There are very few pedigree dog breeds that do not have at least one hereditary health condition with some degree of severity prevalent within the breed pool, and for many pedigree breeds, this means that the parent dogs will need to have some pre-breeding health tests performed, in order to ensure that they are good candidates for breeding-and this can cost a couple of hundred pounds to perform.
Dogs have been mating without human assistance for millennia, but it is important to factor in the cost of any issues that may arise with either part of the process too! Certain breeds of dog with particularly large heads like the English bulldog require delivery by caesarean section in over 80% of cases, while French bulldogs cannot usually even mate without assistance, as their hips are so narrow.
The cost of assistance with mating and delivery, particularly if it occurs outside of normal clinic hours, can be very high.
While your puppies will be ready to go off to their new homes by the age of twelve weeks old, don’t forget that a large, hungry litter can also cost a lot to feed! Additionally, you will need to be able to spend plenty of time with them, getting them used to being handled, monitoring them, and generally taking care of all of their needs.
It is compulsory from April 2016 onwards for all dogs in the UK to be microchipped, and it is the responsibility of the breeder to ensure that the puppies are all chipped before they go on to their new homes. Microchipping can cost anything from £10-£25 per dog, and so can soon work out costly!
Your puppies will also need to have the first of their vaccinations before you sell them on, which again, can add a significant amount of expense to each pup!
You should also plan for problems, anomalies or other issues that may mean that one of your dogs or puppies will need a non-routine veterinary appointment, and the potential costs of treatment and ongoing care, particularly if this means that you cannot sell the puppy.
Registering your pups with The Kennel Club is important in order to verify their pedigree status, reassure buyers, and justify their value. The administration cost of doing this should be factored into your calculations.
Depending on how many dogs you own, how many litters you wish to breed and what the rules are in your local area, you may have to register yourself as a breeder with your local council, which also attracts a fee.
Once more depending on the size and scale of your endeavour and the local regulations, you may also have to apply to the council for a Change of Usage Permit for your home, to reflect the fact that you are running a business as a breeder from it.
Additionally, you will need to declare your income from breeding alongside of your other or regular income, which incurs costs such as tax and national insurance, and potentially other expenses such as accountancy fees.
Selling your puppies involves letting people know that they are for sale-so don’t forget about the price of advertising and marketing!
If you are unable to sell all of your puppies, if one if sick or has a health problem, or if a puppy is returned to you after sale, you will also need to account for the care and welfare costs of that animal for the rest of its life.
Selling a puppy, hiring stud services and various other things relating to breeding are all legal transactions, and you should ensure that you have the appropriate paperwork in place to protect both parties. Factor in the cost of administrative work and if necessary, legal advice in order to make sure that you are covered.
Finally, one potential additional cost to consider if you wish to become a dog breeder may be showing your dog, in order to build their reputation and the demand for their puppies. While this is not essential, it is something that you may wish to bear in mind.