Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cost of producing a Litter of Mastiffs

"Breeders just do it for the money."  When most  of  the breeders  I know hear this statement we are tempted to laugh out loud. In my experience, maybe 1 out of 5 litters will show a profit, but it most certainly does not cover the costs of the other previous litters that did not show a profit.  Tina Clements of Devincourt  Mastiffs originally came up with the following outline--I have added my own thoughts on this subject.
 Cost of producing a litter of Mastiff puppies:
*Show dog at AKC events to ascertain quality (avg. championship may cost thousands of dollars to achieve--average cost for me using a handler--> $2000.00 to 2500.00.). Often I am told by prospect puppy buyers they don't "care" about AKC championships or titles. "Championship titles" are achieved through the evaluation of "breeding stock"; thus a puppy bred from "champion" parents is more likely to meet the breed standard.
*Health testing (NOT the same as a vet check. OFA hips, elbows, patellas, cardiac, thyroid, cystinuria, PRA, etc for dam (and stud if also owned by breeder): Around $1000 to $1500 based on the degree one does their testing. If you own both dogs--double it.
*4-7 Progesterone tests to pinpoint accuracy of timing to breed: $50-$100 each
*Brucellous test and health check for bitch: $200
*Non-refundable stud fee deposit to stud owner: $200-$500--unless you use frozen semen and then you may be required to pay the entire stud fee up front($2000.00 to 3500.00), plus the costs of moving said semen from storage location to the vet who will do the breeding for you (an additional $500.00 to 1500.00)
*Semen collection and shipping: $400-$600
*Surgical implant: $1500-2500.00
*Two Trans cervical insemination:s $700-$1200
*Time off work and gas money for all of the above vet visits: $$$$$
Ultrasound to see if breeding took: $150+
(No puppies yet, the above are preliminary out of pocket costs whether the breeding took or not. This doesn't include the two (or more) times that previous breedings didn't take, which was a huge out of pocket loss each time.  The breeder eats these costs each time there are no puppies produced.)
*Accumulate needed birthing supplies (clamps, heat lamp, heat mat, siphon bulb, replacement milk, etc.) assuming already have some things from previous litters: $250+
*Begin feeding special food in anticipation of pregnancy: $100.00
*Prenatal vitamins for bitch: $50.00
*X-ray to confirm pregnancy: $200.00 to $350.00
*Miss work to deliver puppies (sick time or lost wages): $$$$$
*Birth Expenses - C-section: $1500 to $2500.00      Or
               *C-section with complications (emergency c-section because you wanted to save money and let your bitch whelp naturally): $5000-$7000.  Plus, you may possibly loose some or most of your puppies
*Emergency vet visit (weekend, after hours or fading puppy vet visit): $200-$500
If the puppies make it:
*AKC litter registration $25 + $2 per puppy
*More special food for nursing mom and puppies (once weaned): $300-600 for 4-5 weeks
*Nursing mom refuses eat, demands steak and cottage cheese instead: $300+
*Vet emergency that always happens (mastitis in mom, another fading puppy, etc): $300-$500.00
*First shots and wormer: $100 per puppy
*Microchips: $25.00 to 40.00/puppy
*New and replacement puppy toys, towels, baby gates, other misc. necessities: $150+
*Home Destruction (replace chewed woodwork, cords, repair furniture and rugs etc.) Grrr! $$$$$$
*Balance of stud fee due: $1500-$2000
*Time off work to care for pups around the clock the first few weeks: $$$$$
*Lost sleep , stress of care, and personal sacrifices: priceless
*Socializing toys, items, CD, trips: $150+
*Puppy "going home" info packets: (copying, food samples, etc.) $200

Total cost to raise a litter of Mastiff puppies? More than most buyers realize. Buyers desire quality; in order for breeders to produce quality puppies, money, time, and personal sacrifice is invested long before the first dollar is received as a puppy deposit. 
I tell buyers," pay up front or pay later".  Sure, you can go out and buy a less expensive puppy, but are you buying a quality puppy?  Paying the "extra" cost of buying a well-bred puppy from a breeder from  health tested parents may prevent a lifetime of heart ache, health/behavioral issues, or  vet costs for you and your family.   JMO.

Cathy C. Arney
KioKee Mastiffs
Hickory, NC