Written by: Tracy Ferrick


So, you want to breed your bitch. Why? What is your goal? Do you want to breed to increase the quality of the breed, or do you just want money?

Most breeders of purebred dogs will agree that if you do your homework and research, start with the best quality bitch and pick the best stud dog for this bitch, you will NOT make money. After purchasing, raising, and showing the bitch for 2 years, making sure her hips are OFA certified, or at least a preliminary X-ray if she is under 2 years of age, clean bloodwork, progesterone testing, vaginal smears, the stud fee costs (or pick of litter), artificial insemination costs, and better than 50% chance of a c-section to deliver the puppies, you are already in the red by at least $5,000. Then add a minimum expense of $1,500.00 for raising the litter to 8 weeks of age. This includes shots, worming, feeding, before and after care of the mother, and the vet check at 8 weeks of age. We highly recommend microchipping all pups before they go to their new homes, this adds an additional $300.00 or more. All of our stock is microchipped with Home Again Animal Recovery System, and all of the pups we sell are microchipped. This is a small price to pay to protect the safety of each puppy you have brought into this world.

These are estimates for raising a litter of 8 and may be higher or lower, depending on the health of the pups. If they are sickly, costs will escalate.

You as the owner of the bitch, have a very strong responsibility to the dam and her whelps. By AKC regulations, you must keep accurate records of the disposition of each pup. If any of those pups end up in an animal shelter, YOU as the breeder, are responsible for those dogs.

Should you use a contract? Most breeders use some type of purchase contracts stating whether the animal is a show/breed prospect or a pet quality animal. If the animal is pet quality, utilize the AKC’s LIMITED REGISTRATION and PLEASE have requirements for neutering or spaying that animal. There are already plenty of poor specimens out there, why add to it. Most show/breed prospect contracts will specify the animal be shown to its AKC championship (if in the United States). Some breeders charge a fee for the puppy and also take one or two picks back from a first or second litter. These specimens are sold on AKC FULL REGISTRATION. Sometimes the breeder will retain co-ownerships of a dog/bitch until all requirements of a contract have been fulfilled. It is best to use a contract for every purchase, even between friends and mentors.

Are you prepared for a c-section? Some bitches will whelp easily, but the majority do not. If a c-section is needed, an experienced veterinarian is your only hope. As the pregnancy progresses to the final week, contact your veterinarian (if you are not comfortable with him/her, seek help elsewhere). They will want to examine the bitch and do an X-ray to get a head count, but remember there may be an additional one or two hiding. Discuss the vets technique. Is he/she comfortable performing this delicate surgery? Will you be allowed to assist? If not, look elsewhere. What anesthesia do they use? Will they have enough experienced staff on duty to assist with the surgery? Can you reach him/her at any time of the day/night, or holidays?

Most Animal Emergency Clinics are not set up to handle a c-section, so make arrangements and have a back up surgeon ahead of time. Your vet should be willing to discuss all of these concerns.

Are you prepared to give up your way of life for the next 8 – 12 weeks? If not, you should NOT consider breeding. Bullmastiffs are notorious for being poor mothers. This includes not feeding the whelps, and not performing latrine duties. Most pups will have to be supplemented. Do you have a good recipe for a formula? NEVER use raw eggs in formulas as the bacteria levels are too high for a puppy. Will you be able to perform latrine duties? Yes, this means making the puppy go potty! If you can’t handle this, don’t breed!

If you are a first time breeder, never hesitate to ask questions. Even if the questions seem silly or dumb, ASK, ASK, ASK! Make friends with other breeders. Most are willing to lend a helping hand.

Most breeders network with each other, providing prospective buyers for each other. Some breeders even pay finders fees to other breeders for these leads that become actual buyers.

Responsible dog breeding starts with responsible dog ownership and this responsibility should be carried forth to the future owners of all puppies produced. So unless you are prepared to follow the guidelines that a breeder sets for you, buy a pet quality animal and PLEASE, spay or neuter that animal.

I hope this has given you something to think about before breeding ANY dog!



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