For many breeders, breeding dogs is a labor of love and not a way to make money, but they still find themselves balancing the decisions they make in their breeding program with their bank account. Below are some tips to help the responsible hobby breeder save a few dollars without sacrificing their commitment to being a responsible breeder!
Pick a Breed That Is Generally Healthy and Doesn’t Typically Need a C-Section
It’s well known that some breeds have more health challenges than others. Before you pick your breed, browse what kind of health testing you would need to do by checking the lists at OFA.org or GoodDog.com. The more tests, the more expensive it will be to responsibly breed those dogs. Additionally, make sure you know if the breed you select is one that can typically “free whelp” or if they often need a c-section. C-sections are an expensive part of dog breeding, so if you can avoid one it will go a long way to help with your cashflow. That being said, I ALWAYS recommend that anyone who’s going to have a pregnant dog MUST have $2000-$4000 saved up for a c-section (depending on your area) – just in case.
Find A Mentor Who Can Coach You
When you’ve been around the block a few times, you learn tricks, tips, secrets, and shortcuts. Make sure you pick a mentor that practices the ideals you aspire to, and soak up everything they have to share.
Put All Your Preventative Care Ducks in a Row
Preventative Care is a LOT less expensive than reactive care. Before you breed, make sure that routine preventative care is up-to-date. Both parents should be on an appropriate diet, up-to-date on their vaccines, have reached sexual maturity (usually 2 years old in most breeds), but not be too old. Both parents should be VERY healthy and excellent examples of their breed.
Choose to Breed Via Live Cover or with Fresh-Chilled Semen
IF you have a great genetic match for your bitch/dog within driving distance, consider yourself very lucky! Allowing nature to guide when she’s ready is definitely the most cost-effective way to get a pregnancy. Granted, this doesn’t always work, particularly with young and/or inexperienced partners, so I always recommend having a backup plan, such as the ability to do side-by-side AI (which you can also learn to do). If live cover isn’t an option, the next-most cost effective option is electing for vaginal insemination of fresh-chilled semen, which, again, you can learn to do.
Learn to Do What You Can Yourself
Puppies need to be dewormed at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of life. Dewormers are available over the counter and there’s no reason you can’t do this on your own. Many breeders learn to give vaccines themselves, which can save you lots of money – just make sure you’re following responsible vaccine-handling protocols and sourcing them from a reliable provider like Revival Animal Health. Consider options such as building a whelping box yourself rather than purchasing a premade one. There’s an abundance of DIY guidance out there when it comes to dog breeding, so make sure you look into these options!
Be Ready for an Emergency
Make sure you know what’s “normal” so you can intervene QUICKLY when “abnormal” rolls in. This is most critical during whelping, because delays in action can result in dead puppies. Check out this flowchart for a starting point.
I certainly can’t promise that you’ll make money breeding dogs, and, in fact, it’s very rare that you would if you’re checking all the responsible boxes. But I hope these tips help you to maintain your standards as a responsible breeder while ALSO not breaking the bank.