If you plan to breed your bitch, it's helpful to learn more about dog stud service. The actual stud service itself is the act of the male dog mating with the female that is in heat. Unless you happen to own your own breeding male, you'll likely need to use an outside stud on your bitch. However, many first time breeders don't know what to expect from this experience. Here is a breakdown of the way many professional breeders handle the situation.
Selecting a Stud
Selecting the right stud for your bitch is the first order of business. You'll want to choose a dog that is a great representative of his breed and also free of genetic faults and illnesses. Even more importantly, you'll want to select a stud dog that has a wonderful temperament because he'll be more likely to produce pups that also have a sound temperament. Always choose the best dog in order to produce the best progeny.
- So, how do you find the perfect stud? National breed clubs are usually your best bet for connecting with a top notch breeder. The easiest way to find one of these clubs is by visiting AKC.org and checking the breed page for your chosen breed. Once you contact the club, you'll be referred to one or more stud owners whose dogs you can check out.
- Scouting for a stud is best done well in advance of your bitch's heat cycle so that you have plenty of time to look at different stud dogs as well as some of their progeny.
- Looking at the stud's pedigree will also show you how many champions are in his family. While this is not a certain guarantee of quality, it can help guide you to a superior bloodline.
The Stud Contract
Some stud dog owners actually use a written contract that lays out the terms under which the breeding will be conducted. It is up to the bitch's owner to read through the terms and sign the contract if they are agreeable. Both parties retain a copy of the agreement, and the bitch's owner should also receive a copy of the stud's pedigree. Here are some of the common points usually included in most stud contracts.
Items that are standard in stud contracts include:
- The contract specifies the exact stud to be used as well as his registration number, and the bitch's name and registration number are added to the document as well.
- A set fee is paid to the stud owner by the bitch's owner. The fee is paid in consideration of the stud dog's work, and does not in itself guarantee that the bitch will conceive. The amount of the fee is determined by the stud dog owner and listed in the contract. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250.00 to $1,000.00 depending on how many champions a particular stud has produced. Some breeders charge a stud fee that is equal to the asking price for one puppy.
- In return for the fee, the stud will be used on the bitch for one, two or possibly three breedings during the current heat cycle. The contract may even specify whether the breedings are to be conducted naturally or by artificial insemination.
- Some contracts also have space to record the actual breeding date(s) so the bitch's owner can calculate the possible due date(s).
Additional terms that may apply include:
- Some stud owners are willing to guarantee one or two live puppies at the time of birth. If so, they offer one repeat service at no extra charge if the original breeding doesn't take.
- If the prospective stud has never been used before, some breeders will agree to waive the fee in order to get the stud "proven." This means proving he can produce a litter. Another variation is that the stud fee is paid after it has been determined that the bitch is indeed pregnant.
- In some cases, the stud owner may agree to take the pick puppy of the litter in lieu of a cash payment.
Sometimes both parties simply come to a verbal agreement on the terms, but it is usually better to draft a written agreement signed by both parties. This eliminates any confusion about the agreement and allows you to easily can refer back to the terms at a later date.
If the dogs are to be bred naturally, both dogs should be examined by a vet and certified free of canine brucellosis. Brucellosis is a bacterial infection spread through sexual contact, among other means, that can cause spontaneous abortion of the pups and also cause sterility in the dog and bitch. This term is usually agreed upon and verified without specifically being mentioned in the contract.
What Else to Expect
In most cases, the bitch is brought to the stud dog's location, and she may actually remain at the stud dog owner's house during the breeding period in some cases. The stud owner may or may not charge an additional boarding fee. This is another item that should be specified beforehand so both parties understand what is expected. In the opposite situation, an unproven stud dog may actually go to stay with an experienced breeder who will break him in on a proven brood bitch.
Some breeders will encourage you to stay and witness the breeding, especially if your bitch has never been bred before. Your presence may help her relax more in what could seem an intimidating situation. However, some stud dogs don't perform well with strangers around, so you may need to leave and pick up your bitch later.
Those are the basics of any dog stud service. There can be a lot of variables to this scenario, but the most important thing is that both parties discuss everything beforehand to make sure they have the same understanding of the terms of the breeding. What starts out as a business arrangement can blossom into a great breeding partnership when everyone is on the same page.