So you think you want to breed...........
So you have a beautiful female and you are considering breeding her. PLEASE be advised that breeding is not just about "putting two dogs together" to create puppies. A good breeder does research, knows the faults in their females lines, and makes sure your female fits the Shih Tzu standard (i.e. appearance, personality, gait etc). If you are thinking you are going to make alot of money breeding and it is not a hard job, then breeding is NOT for you.  Here is an interesting article that we decided to add to our website. It is a realistic portrait of the costs of breeding. Please read the whole article, if you do not have the time to read the whole article, then you are not dedicated to breeding! Please don't get me wrong, breeding Shih Tzu's is amazing, and I wouldn't trade it for anything but it is alot of work. I just want people to understand that there is a lot of work involved, but if it is something you love doing as much as we do, nothing is more rewarding than raising these beautiful, innocent babies and seeing how much they are loved in their new homes.
If after reading the article and you can say "yes" to these questions, then maybe dog breeding is for you:
1.) Is your job flexible enough to take time off of work a few days before and after the pups are born?
2.) Are you willing to sleep on the floor or have sleepless nights and be there continously for you girl a few days before she is about to deliver? If she has pups during the middle of the night and you are not paying attention, a puppy can get stuck in the birth canal and the mother and puppies can die.
3.) Do you have $1500 set aside just in case you need an emergency c-section?
4.) Are you willing to take any of your pups back if the new owner can not keep him/her? Responsible breeders ALWAYS have their pups best interest in mind.
5.) Do you have a quiet, private place set aside for the mom and her babies? If you have other dogs, some moms become EXTREMELY protective of their pups and need their own space. We have not had a female yet that hasn't been protective of her pups. Thank god for our puppy room!
6.) Do you have a place where the pups can safely when weaned from mom? Several weeks of puppies running all through your home can destroy carpet quickly.
7.) Are you prepared to bottlefeed the whole litter of pups every two to three hours if something happens to your female or she can't produce milk?
8.) Do you know how to safely deliver a litter (or know someone who can help)? If the female is straining a long time, assistance from you might be necessary. Panicking or becoming queasy might not help you out! You must know how to remove the puppy from the sac and how to properly cut an umbilical cord. If you cut it too close, the pup CAN bleed to death (some females can cut the cord on their own, and others do not).
9.) After the puppies 5th week of life, they are solely  your responsiblilty. Do you have the time to make sure everyone is drinking, teach them how to eat solid foods and papertrain them? Believe me, the last few weeks the pups are with us, it feels like all we do is clean up puppy paper and wash puppy blankets.
Here's the article:

by Jane Johnson
Many people believe that by breeding their bitch they can make a bit of money. Let's say that you may have 8 puppies that you can sell for $500 each. Wow - that's $4000, and you haven't even had to do anything except own the bitch!
The objective of this page is to provide a sort of reality check on the cost associated with having a litter. The vast majority of breeders do not make money from breeding litters. And it's not because they are bad at managing money. It's because raising a good litter costs money, and raising a disastrous litter takes even more money.
These are some of the costs that you will have to budget for:
stud fee- which can range from $400 to $1200, depending on the stud

Whelping box, heat pads, heat lamps, thermometer, scissors, towels, baby scales, tweezers, hemostats, baby suction bulb, milk replacement formula and/or goats milk, baby bottles, tubes for tube feeding, sterilising solution, nail clippers

puppy wormer (2,4,6,& 8 weeks), puppy diarrhea medicine

food - a pregnant female may need up to four times what she normally eats, and a nursing female will also need a lot of food. Puppies also eat much more food than what you would think


eye certification - done at 7 weeks
Here are some of the hidden and not so hidden costs that you may not have thought about:
vet checks and health tests to make sure that the bitch is ok to be mated and whelp


lots of extra washing for bedding in whelping box

emergency vet trips (invariably late at night) for the emergency c-section
emergency vet trips to save a dying pup

time off from work that you need to take to help the bitch and to make sure that no puppies get squashed, etc - allow at least 5 days off work for this

vet visit and antibiotics for the bitch for such things as mastisis

advertising to sell puppies
lots of phone calls to and from interested and not so interested puppy buyers
So you've read all this and you figure, heck I don't need all that stuff, I can do this cheaper! Well, yes you can. You might buy a few of these things listed above and never use them. Bravo for you. Unfortunately Murphy's law seems to strike, and whatever you don't have, that's what you'll need in the middle of the night. Ok, you're still not convinced that there isn't some money to be made in this breeding caper. So let's do some sums.
Let's assume that you have a breed that averages 8 puppies per litter that sell for $500 each - ok, many smaller breeds never have this many puppies, but let's stick with this example.
Let's look at the costs:

stud fee - usually equivalent to the cost of one pup

neonatal deaths - average 25% per litter - ok so let's say you lose two pups here (this means that so far after the stud fee, we only really have 5 left that we can sell to make money from)

vaccinations, worming, eye certifications - that adds up to another pup (of course, you can save money by ignoring these important steps)

food - extra food for the bitch, and then food for puppies until the age of 8 weeks - that's half a pup
emergency vet vists to try and save the dying pup, or the emergency c-section on the mum - maybe both! - that's at least one pup, and more likely two. Let's say 1 and a half pups.

Health checks on the bitch prior to whelping - checks for hd, annual eye certifications, thyroid checks, etc - that's another pup (but if you want to cut corners and ignore these very important checks you can save money here)

Advertising the litter and answering numerous phone calls - that's half a pup

Time off taken from work to whelp litter - that's at least one pup, more likely two, and in some cases, equivalent to the total selling price of whole litter. Let's say one and a half pups.

Breeder support - for the life of the pup a good breeder will be there to take back those pups whose owners can no longer keep them. Also a good breeder will keep in regular contact with her puppy owners. Let's be really conservative here and say, that's the cost of just one pup.

And you want to keep one pup for yourself, so you can't sell that one.

Okay, now go back through the list and work out, realistically, how many pups you need to breed from a litter so that you just break even. 12 - maybe. And of course, for those of us that have bred litter with that many pups know exactly how much extra work that is, especially if the bitch is not a great mum, and only has 8 working tits.
Do you think I'm being pessismistic?
Well, this is the unfortunate reality of life. Breeding dogs is not a profit making venture for many breeders.
For those of you who think that you could breed a healthy litter of purebred pups, that come from champion parents, raised in a family environment in the house, provide life time breeder support, and still think you can make money out of this, please email me urgently - I need to know how you do it!
In all seriousness, raising the vast majority of litters is a labour of love. If you are about to breed your first litter I can guarantee you the following:

You will never make as much money out of it than you thought you would. Actually it is more than likely that you won't even break even. You will spend a large portion of the first couple of weeks of the puppies' lives awake, and you will not get much sleep. If you've never assisted in the whelping of a litter before - you will find it significantly harder than what you thought it was. Yes, when I bred my first litter I could see that I was going to make money from the venture. I now encourage you to read the story of Bliss and find out not only how many thousand dollars I lost, and how I lost all the puppies, but also how emotionally damaging it was to me.
Now, I know better. Please learn from my mistakes, and the mistakes of many other breeders out there. Don't enter into the dog breeding business to make money. It is truly a labour of love, and it should never be seen as being a "hobby". 

Page Updated: Tuesday April 6th, 2010
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