A Few Thoughts On Breeding

*We do sell breeding animals to select individuals. A breeding dog from us is $3,000.00.

Here at Evenstar Hounds we encourage any breeder who is truly dedicated to treating animals well, perfecting a breed, or educating the public about animals to keep up the hard work. Breeding is very time consuming work. It is also incredibly expensive and emotionally taxing, which is why I wholeheartedly believe that it is not meant for everyone, not even the people with the best of  intentions. Evenstar has been breeding, training, and showing dogs on a professional level for over 20 years. With this amount of experience the difficulty of this business is all the more apparent.

Before any dogs can breed; they have to be at least two years old, they have to be vet checked, as well as eating a high end dog food. Any female dog will eat double when she is expecting a litter. They also need to have a very high level of trust in you or they will not let you handle them or the puppies. During the months that your dog is expecting she will need to see the vet three times or more, with these vet visits costing $90.00 to $175.00 [1]. With multiple visits costing so much it is safe to say that prenatal care is quite the expense. A mother dog will also need a whelping box in which to have her puppies and it must be located inside. The whelping box can not be too warm or too cold and you will need a UV heat lamp. Your job is to keep her box clean and you will have to wash her bedding many times a day when she has puppies. If  you have a male that you are going to use as a stud please understand that males, which are not neutered, and are used to breed rather than being neutered are; more likely to be aggressive with other intact male dogs, more likely to run away trying to find a female in heat, and more likely to mark in the house. Your sweet male family pet could soon turn into a terror. Once a dog has started to make these personality changes they are not easy to correct.

Once your litter of puppies are due you can expect a lot of expense and worry. Healthy adult dogs can need things like c-sections, with a c-section costing from $600.00 to $1,500.00 [2]. C-sections will be more expensive if they are not planned for in advance. The average litter for a Coonhound female could include as many as 14 puppies, which is virtually impossible for a dog to care for all by herself. This means bottle feeding every puppy once every two hours, twenty four hours a day, for about six weeks. The cost of bottle feeding a litter of 14 is about $12.00 a day [3].  A mother dog may want you to take on more tasks than simply bottle feeding, perhaps  helping stimulate her puppies so they will poop and pee. That is something that needs to happen every few hours with every puppy. Mother dogs can also die during or very shortly after having a litter of puppies, happening more than you would think. It is always heartbreaking to deal with the death of a pet, but it would feel worse if the death was so needless.

As your new puppies get bigger they will need to see the vet three times for shots, checkups, and worming. These vet visits will cost you $60.00-$120.00 per puppy, per visit [4]. You will also have to slowly switch them from milk to a mix of milk and soft dog food, costing you about $17.00 a day for the litter [5].  The cost is going to jump up even more when it is time to start adding hard food into the mix.

 Assuming that you now have had 12 to 14 puppies and none are sick, or needed special care, you have spent no less than $1,750.00, an amount that we have always exceeded when raising puppies. More than likely you would be spending closer to $2,450.00 or more, with that amount of money being what you will spend in vet care, puppy food, and soft food.  The aforementioned $2,450 does not include a whelping box, UV heat lamp, cleaning products, or other miscellaneous expenses.

 After considering expenses you will need to worry about getting your puppies well rounded! Teaching puppies how to play well with other animals of all breeds and sizes, as well as people of all ages, is a must. You also need to get them ready for the real world by taking them places to let them hear and smell all kinds of different things, taking them for rides in the car, working on potty training, and working on kennel training. Puppies that are not taught these things early end up shy, confused, and fearful. Seeing that the puppies are growing up healthy, sound, and happy is a full time job of its own. Dogs that do not get this treatment as young puppies are more likely to end up in shelters and more than likely put to sleep. It sounds silly, but it is true and very sad.

When the puppies are eight weeks old they will be ready to go into new homes. Are you going to register the litter? Registration is an additional cost, but it also means the AKC recognizes your family home as a kennel. Please note that the AKC has the legal right to pop in for visits, which often they do. UKC more than likely wont stop by, but you never have any real way to know who is going to knock on the door and ask to take a look around. This can happen when you have the puppies in your home, however it might even be weeks to months after the puppies are gone.

After all these considerations you might think that you are ready to sell? You may be sad to see them go, but I would bet you a coke you will just be excited to have your family home back. Puppies are loud, messy, and they really don’t smell the best most of the time. Living with them for eight weeks will make you look and feel like a nonstop cleaning lady. Keeping a clean home will be an additional concern to think of. The amount of money you spend on cleaning products will also go up. Additionally, if you look online you will see that no matter what you are selling, other people are selling it too. Some people are giving puppies away for free. So how are you going to sell the litter, let alone find good homes? If you try to sell your puppies on online posting sites or in the paper you will not get them sold right away. The older a puppy becomes the harder it is to sell, along with increasing costs to care for that puppy. If you are busy with the puppies you probably will not have the time to market them.  Here at Evenstar we work with a webmaster that we pay to do all of our updates, online ads, and social media. The cost of this service is high, but we would never have the time to do everything.

Established breeders all too often see and hear about people who think that having a litter of puppies would be fun, or be a good way to make extra money, when really it is not. Sometimes even the best breeders are not lucky enough to break even on a litter. If you are not completely dedicated to the mission of contributing to the breed and caring for animals please do not breed!

This is something that can be found on the website of the Animal Humane Society.

Over half of the animals that are brought to the Animal Humane Society are humanely euthanized.

Over 33% (1/3) of the dogs and cats that come in to the shelter are purebreds. The more popular the breed, the more we see of them. However, we do remind clients that purebreds are not always the best choice. Many of these animals show genetic and behavioral defects because of improper breeding practices. Mixed breed dogs can be healthier and live longer lives with fewer health complications.

[1]/[2]/[4] I got those numbers by calling two vets in all fifty states and averaging out the lowest and highest price quotes.

[3]/[5] I got those numbers by calling two pet supply stores in all fifty states and averaging out the price quotes.

By.Elizabeth Thompson on behalf of Evenstar Hounds.

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