By Tracy Ferrick


The practice of co-owning dogs is widely practiced by breeders of all types of dogs.

The most common co-ownership, for a bitch, consists of a purchase price and a return of one or two pick puppies from said bitch’s first or second litter. All details are spelled out in a contract, including when the bitch may be bred, whom she may be bred to, and the selection(s) of the pick(s) of litter. The contract should also state that if the bitch proves to be of inferior quality, upon reaching maturity, she will not be bred, and instead be spayed. This helps protect the soundness of the breed and assures the breeder of said bitch that only quality pups will be produced. Most breeders will also specify that the bitch be shown until the completion of her AKC championship and that her hips are screened and OFA certified before breeding (depending upon age at time of breeding).

When a male pup is placed in a co-ownership agreement, it is quite different. A purchase price will be paid and along with this, a guarantee of AKC championship must be met and a stated number of return stud services to the breeder of said pup. The breeder may also state that one half of all stud fees collected, be returned to the pups breeder and said breeder may maintain who the stud dog may or may not be bred to.

This contract should also state that if this dog proves to be of inferior quality, upon maturity, he will not be bred and instead neutered.

In a co-ownership agreement, the person(s) with whom the dog/bitch resides, assumes all financial responsibilities for the complete care of the animal. This includes all medical expenses, feed costs, licensing, shots, grooming, show handling ,entry fees, and show photos, kennel set0ups and kennel runs, and all costs pertaining to any and all breedings, including (for the bitch):vaginal smears, progesterone testing (performed by fertility specialists or veterinarians, to show the optimum breeding dates), thyroid testing, brucellosis testing, stud fees, collection of semen from the stud dog and artificial insemination into said bitch, ultrasounds or sonograms during pregnancy, x-rays during last week of pregnancy to show approximate number of pups, possible c-section, and the care and raising of all puppies produced by said bitch; (for the dog):thyroid testing, semen evaluation and sperm count, brucellosis testing and transportation to the vet for these evaluations. The breeder would then specify when he/she would take the pick(s) due them.

Co-Ownerships are to protect a breeder’s interest in a certain specimen. If that specimen turns out to be of poor quality, it is a breeder’s wise decision to spay/neuter the animal or to withhold the blue slip (AKC registration certificate), or to place an animal on a limited registration with requirements to spay or neuter if that animal doesn’t turn out to be of good quality. This will prevent the animal from producing pups that are below the breed standard set by the AKC. The idea of breeding is to always "breed-up", which means to increase the quality of the get, not to produce inferior pups. If a persons idea is to make money, then they are entering the wrong business. Breeding any dog or bitch should NOT be done until extreme thought and research has gone into the procedure. This includes hip screenings, blood tests, studying pedigrees and movement, and the overall health of the future breeding pair. When no homework is done, before the breeding, you end up with mediocre animals. This is ignorance, possible puppy milling, or just not caring about the quality of the pups produced, which leads to not caring where these pups end up, be it a puppy mill, pet shop, or the animal shelter!

If you can’t follow the co-ownership agreement, do not enter into a co-ownership agreement.



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