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Breeding: So you want to breed your dog.......?

We do occasionally breed our dogs and if you are looking for a stud dog Rafferty has a Kennel Club Studbook Number and is available for stud services. Please contact us for more information.

If you are new to using a stud dog then the best general advice is available from the Kennel Club:



The following is general advice if you want to breed:


The first thing to acknowledge is that you love your dog and want to make sure you do everything in your power to ensure their welfare and good health. The Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) is an ancient breed and as a breeder, your priority should be to the improvement of the breed

Before you go any further you need to answer the following questions:

1. Do you love your dog?

2. Would you do everything for their welfare and good health?

3. Do you love the breed?

4. Do you want to ensure the on-going, good health, and welfare of this rare breed?

Well of course you do, and everything you do must be about the health and welfare of the bitch and her puppies as well as ensuring the on-going health of this rare breed. Over the years good breeders have worked incredibly hard to ensure a healthy breed with a strong and diverse genetic gene pool. All of this can be instantly undone by thoughtless breeding.

We often get calls from experienced breeders as well as inexperienced first time people and we are more than happy to help in any way we can as long as it is done in a thoughtful and healthy way.


We get calls from lots of lovely, well-informed people but we also get calls from people:

  • whose bitch has just come into season and they suddenly decide they want to breed and think it can be done there and then.

  • have a male dog and want to use it as a stud dog to one of our bitches.

  • who say "we think we have a Portuguese water dog" but they have no idea of its history or whether it is a pedigree PWD.

  • who want to make a quick buck and want to breed puppies just to make money.

If you want to breed then you must do it right. It is hard work, time-consuming, expensive, and stressful but it may be one of the most rewarding and fun things you ever do.

The Kennel Club and the Portuguese Water Dog Club Of GB have excellent advice which you must follow. Any good, reputable or Kennel Club Assured breeder will only consider using your dog or bitch if all of the following advice is adhered to:

The following essential points to consider before breeding, is based on the advice Wendy co-wrote for the Portuguese Water Dog Club. 

Why breed? Be very honest with yourself

  • For the experience of a one-off litter? that's fine, everyone has to start somewhere but do it right

  • For a puppy for yourself? that's fine but do it right

  • Are you breeding just to build your bank balance? (often known in the dog world as "Greeders" rather than breeders).

  • Improving the breeds bloodlines and health - that's best

An ethical and responsible breeder will always:


First steps

Make contact with the original breeder. of your dog / bitch Your dog may have been sold as a pet and there may have been a good reason why they were not selected for breeding. It may not have the right conformation (poor shape, size, proportions, physical deformity etc)  Your breeder may invite you both over so you can discuss your dog’s +/- points against the breed standard. They will advise whether the dog is suitable to breed from. What will you do if they suggest that your dog is unsuitable? Some people get very angry but those who care about their dog and the healthy continuation of this breed understand and will follow their advice.  

Also the Kennel Club states both the dog and bitch must be suitable and healthy to breed. Amongst other things, the bitch must be over 2 years old, not over 8 years of age, not had more than 4 litters in their life, at least one full season between their last litter and this mating and not have had a cesarian. 


Is it a registered pedigree dog?

Check if your dog is a pedigree and fully registered with the Kennel Club. If your dog is not registered or does not qualify for Kennel Club pedigree registration then a good breeder will never breed with you. It often means that the puppy was a result of a poor or improper mating or the bitch was too young or too old to have puppies, or no health tests were done on the parents, or one of the parents was affected by a hereditary disease, or it was mated with a close relative or even another breed. It may well have come from an irresponsible breeder or even a puppy farm.

  • Do you have your KC Pedigree certificate 

  • have you seen it for the dog you are mating with?

  • Do you have your 3 or 5 generation pedigree certificate - it really helps a good breeder to look up breedlines, health tests, and breed coefficients.

Kennel Club Endorsements

It is usual for puppies to be sold with a “not for breeding “ endorsement on the contract. This means any puppies which are bred from that dog cannot be Kennel Club registered.

An endorsement can only be lifted by the breeder and in your contract of sale, it should list the requirements you will need to undertake before consideration to lifting them is granted. Often this only when the owner has confirmed with the breeder that the dog is physically suitable to breed; has completed all of the health tests to prove they are safe to breed from and that the breed coefficient of the

mating is at or below the breed average. 

  • Ask your breeder what the requirements are for lifting the endorsements - it should be clearly set out in your contract of sale (or at very least clearly and openly explained to you prior to purchase). A good breeder will have put it clearly in their contract and will help you.

  • Ask them if there is a fee or cost for lifting the endorsement. A good breeder will happily and freely lift them when the checks as described above have been done. Or will they expect a fee, or a puppy from the litter, or only agree if you breed with a sire they own (charging you a stud fee) or with a specific sire they want you to breed with?  All of which should have been openly shared with you or in the original contract. It would be unusual, but if they do, it will add to your overall costs. 

  • Has your original breeder lifter the endorsements and written to the Kennel Club to lift them?

  • Have you got evidence / checked on the KC website that the endorsement has been lifted?

Have you completed all of the pre-breeding health tests?

  • Hip & elbow test

  • Genetic tests -  see below or check the PWD club website or our health page.

    • Have you had them back before you breed?

    • Do you understand them enough to be able to explain to a potential owner?

    • Have you seen all the health tests for the other dog?

    • Is at least one of them clear?

  • The cost of the full bank of tests is around £700

    • Hip / elbow approx 

    • Full genetic screening MydogDNA approx 

    • If you work it out then for a litter of 10 puppies the cost per puppy is around £70 which out of £1500 is nothing (less than 5%) to ensure you are passing on a healthy puppy. You never have to do the test again for your bitch so if you have another litter of 10 puppies in the future is halves the overall cost to only £35 per puppy. 

  • Do you know what the inter-breeding coefficient is for the mating?

Breeding Mentor:

A good breeder will always have a mentor, someone who helps and advises them. A mentor will be knowledgable in the breed and offer guidance, support and understand what the outcome of any mating will be. If you contact your dog's breeder they will often freely and willingly help you through the entire process if you do everything correctly. Some will even encourage you to come to experience a mating or even the whelping and birth of one of their litters to help you gain invaluable experience. If they won't help you then it may tell you something about them as a breeder or they may be good breeders and the fact is that you are unwilling to follow all of this good advice. 

Other considerations

If you are breeding for a quick-buck then if you do everything right and put in all the time then you may well find you don't make money. Breeding is incredibly time-consuming, tiring, and can be worrying. You need to remember the following:


  • The cost of the mating “stud fee”  - usually the cost equivalent to one puppy.

  • The time and travel to get to the stud dog. It may take several occasions before they tie.

  • The cost of progesterone testing - a great way to see when your bitch is at their peak and is the best way of ensuring the best timing for successful mating. If you guess the best day you may find you travel and the bitch just isn't receptive. Sometimes people travel long distances four times until the bitch is receptive. If you test then it can make the process easier.

  • What if the bitch and dog do not get on and do not mate?  It will mean they wo't make this season. Experienced breeders will have another stud dog fully ready on stand-by which you have previously fully checked with their owner their pedigree, medical history, health checks, physical conformity, and temperament. Some experienced breeders will even have a fertility expert vets to undertake AI.

  • Are you fully prepared that the bitch won't conceive? If you are breeding for healthy puppies it really won't be an issue but you may want to find out why with vet health and fertility tests. But for those just breeding for money tend to get angry & blame the bitch, stud dog -anything or anyone else.

  • Cost of scanning for puppies - not essential but can be useful in knowing how many puppies and whether there are any potential issues.

  • Pre-pregnancy welfare. Vaccinations, worming, flea treatments, physical fitness of your bitch.

  • Veterinary Bills before during and after delivery. If it is the dog's first litter they may find it difficult and you may have to have Vet support to deliver the last puppies. Do not underestimate the cost of vet treatment.

  • Not all pregnancies and births go well (just as with humans) and the bitch may need vet treatment. The worst scenario is the death of your family pet and some or all of the puppies - the truth is even with god breeders it happens.

  • Does your pet insurance specifically cover pregnancy and delivery medical issues. Many do not and you will be liable for all costs.

  • Are you able to handle a birth - it is a fantastic experience but it can be stressful and even traumatic. They can go on for 24hrs. You will need support from family members and preferably someone there who has done it before. If it all goes well - all is OK, but when it goes wrong you need someone with experience to ensure the welfare of the bitch and puppies. This is where a good breeding mentor will be there with you.

  • Can you manage up to 15 puppies? Cute bundles of joy but by week 8 become a mass of nipping dogs.

  • Can you afford the time off work - the puppies are with you for 8 weeks and need someone there all the time. Local Authority breeding licenses insist on it.

  • Can you do without sleep? Many good breeders will have someone with the puppies 24/7 for the first 4 weeks. Yes, all day and sleep in the room at night.

  • Can you afford to feed them and the associated vet bills

  • Have you investigated best quality puppy food and have you got it all ready?

  • The cost of the 8-week vet health check and the cost of the legal requirement to microchip the dog

  • Do you have adequate space in the house to rear them and offer them nurturing and valuable socialisation? 

    • don't forget cost of the whelping pen (or borrow a good one from a friendly breeder), puppy pen, vet bedding, heat mat or lamp​

    • you will need a whelping delivery kit including puppy stim and emergency breathing tube, coloured collars etc

    • dog first aid kit

    • puppy milk and puppy bottle in case you need to emergency feed by hand

    • weighing scales

    • Disposal bags for placenta / dead puppies.

  • Do you have space outside to have direct access so puppies can go out into a secure pen for puppy play, stimulation, and socialisation?

  • Do you know how many nipples your bitch has?​ I bet you never thought about this! If she has 8 nipples and 10 puppies then you are going to have to ensure you monitor that they all get an equal amount of milk and you often have to move them on and off the nipples every two hours. Not so easy at 3am in the morning.

  • What if the birth goes wrong and you lose the mother. have you got the time to hand-rear the entire litter? You are committed to those puppies for weeks to come 24-7 and 2 hourly bottle feeds.

  • Can you deal with a stillbirth puppy or puppy that dies within the first 8 weeks? No matter how experienced you are it is hard. It may require a vet check to ensure there are no issues. 

  • Can you afford the time off whilst you rear the litter and support your bitch. Local Authority Licences require somebody to be there 24/7 while you have puppies.

  • Are you prepared to take the puppy back if the first family is not able to keep them? You bred them and you will have first responsibility to help the family and rehome the dog.

  • Have you considered breeding insurance? Most insurances do not cover this. You will need to find one which specifically covers the breeding bitch and puppies. Can you afford the vets bills without it?

  • What are you going to do about vaccinations? Will you do the first one before they leave you at 8 weeks? Or will you leave it to the new owners? Have you checked with your vet which one they use? Have you researched and discussed with your vet whether it will be a Lepto 2 or Lepto 4 vaccination? Have you told your prospective owners so they can speak to their vet to ensure the second jab is compatible?

Have you considered the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme?

You may need a license from your local council.

Many people believe it only applies to commercial breeders and does not apply to family or one-off litters. However many Local Authorities insist on one even if it is a one-off liter. The fines can be high so you should really find out with your Local Authority

How will you invite and screen potential owners?

  • The Kennel Club's advice to all prospective owners is to always visit the breeder and check them out, check their premises, knowledge & experience, welfare standards and of course the health test results. 

  • But how will you check prospective owners are suitable for your dogs?  If you wait to week 5 when people choose or even worse week 8 when people pick up the puppy it will be too late.

    • It is suggested you screen out prospective owners as early as possible to ensure they are suitable owners able to meet the needs and welfare standards of your puppy. You need to make sure you do everything reasonably possible to ensure the puppy goes to a good home and does not end up needing rehoming. How will you know?

    • Good breeders will insist that prospective owners must visit with the children & partners.

    • Some breeders will screen people with an initial phonecall others use a questionnaire - which works incredibly well.

    • Many good breeders will insist people visit when there are no puppies so people can see what a fully grown dog is really like. We find a visit can take between 2 and 3 hours. They can see their full size, energy, and high maintenance coat.  When people visit cute fluffy puppies they will fall in love but have no idea what they are in-for with a fully grown dog.

    • How do you know they are genuine? There are many people who are "fishing" and simply want to know if you have puppies so they can steal them. It does happen. In the last month (July 2020) there have been 12 successful dog and puppy kidnappings within a 20 mile radius of us - most of them involving violence. 

    • What steps will you take before people come to ensure they are safe to visit your house? How do you know where they live? The local authority here suggests you ask people for proof of address before they come,  ID when they arrive, photograph the car number plate, install CCTV. Genuine people will understand.

    • Due to thefts good breeders never advertise or post on facebook their intention to breed or announce the birth of their litter. It again opens you up to attempted theft. Good breeders already have homes for all their puppies to go to and have no need to advertise and will only post once the puppies have all gone. 

    • Is the dog for them or a gift to an unsuspecting parent as a retirement gift. Or a 10-year-old as a birthday or Christmas present? Good breeders will only deal with the eventual owners. All too often these dogs have an increased likelihood of rehoming. 

    • Many people phone or email and just ask "have you got any puppies? how much?" they want one now. Others will email or phone and tell you about themselves, why they are after a PWD and politely ask about you as a breeder, the welfare and health tests, and ask for your help to ensure that the breed is right for them. 

    • Do they live in the UK? Exporting is a minefield and best avoided for inexperienced breeders. 

    • Are they experienced dog owners? or is it their first dog? It makes a huge difference which puppy they should have. 

    • Is it their first puppy? Have they any idea about how to deal with and socialise a puppy?

    • Are they allergic to dogs and want a hypoallergenic dog? Do you understand and can you explain that there is no such thing as a no-allergen dog (see our hypoallergenic page). What will you do if someone visits and loves the dogs but it is clear that they are having a severe allergic reaction? It does happen.

    • At 5 weeks how will you arrange visits? 10 sets of people in only a few days.

    • How will you arrange the choice of puppies? Some will want to come first to get the first choice.

    • How will you operate your waiting list? If it is first-come first-choice and an inexperienced dog owner chooses the alpha male or female what will you do? (See our puppy page for what we do)

    • Do they work full time? Most rehoming charities will not place dogs with full-time workers for obvious reasons - what will you do?

    • What if they are 80 years old? a PWD is an active and long lived breed at 14 years. What will you do?

    • Do they live in a house big enough for an energetic working breed? Everyone says that have space but what do you consider to be suitable? How will you know?

    • What will you do if they live in a 1st floor flat or higher with no outside space? Rehoming charities will not consider this - will you? Many people know this and will hide this fact - how will you know?

    • Do you know and have you explained about the environmental impact on hip dysplasia and the need to avoid stairs for around 12 months? (impossible if you live in a flat and you don't want to be carrying a 15kg dog up and down flights of stairs)

    • Is their garden big enough? How big is big enough? How will you know or check?

    • Do they have young children? Some PWD breeders will not give a puppy to a family with young children - will you? How will you ensure the parents and children are suitable for one of your dogs? What if the family turns up and it becomes clear that the family / children behave badly or inappropriately with your dogs / puppies?

    • What if the prospective owner is clearly afraid of dogs or really doesn't listen to anything you are saying?  What will you do?

    • Are they choosing a PWD simply from google searches and looking at pretty pictures? Have they met the breed and fully understand that they are definitely not suitable for all people: they are a high energy, active working breed with a high maintenance coat. 

    • Do  you understand the breeding endorsements? Have you openly shared them so prospective owners they understand the breed endorsements placed on the contract / pedigree?

    • You must be clear about the life-long support you will give your puppy owners and how you will support / deal with any behaviour or rehoming issues.

    • Good breeders will never charge people to be on their waiting list and only charge people a deposit when you and they have both agreed on the specific puppy at the 5 week visit. Again the potential owner can change their mind right up until they collect their dog at pick-up at eight weeks and should be able to expect a full refund.  Your contract must be clear and it must be fair and balanced to both parties. That's why being a KC Assured breeder is useful as you can base your contract on their exemplar.


You need to ensure all of this well in advance and before you commit to letting someone even get on your list to have a puppy. You can not do these checks at the 5 week visit or at week 8 when they arrive to pick up the puppy.

In theory, you have permission to breed if…..


You have completed a health testing profile, this will consist of genetic tests and hip/elbow x-rays


Do you know what these diseases are? Do you know what the results mean and how to consider them with breeding?


The PWD breed-specific genetic tests, none of these are mandatory, some are recommended but all are for the health and welfare of the dogs, puppies, and breed. This is a working breed and should be fit for purpose, form, and function.

A good breeder will invest in ALL the health tests available, Why? To enhance the health, knowledge, and information held on the breed going forward. To breed healthy, happy well-balanced puppies. 

More importantly than that, if you don't do the tests how will you know that the puppies you are giving to new families are healthy and not affected by a hereditary disease you could have stopped with good breeding. If the puppy is affected by some genetic diseases they are highly likely to die at 6 months old.  A good breeder will consider it morally wrong to do this.

DNA tests will confirm if your dog is genetically clear/carrier or affected

  • Prcd-PRA


  • GM1

  • Improper coat IC13

  • JDCM

  • MOS

  • The colour and coat type can also be predicted and is now offered in greater detail from My dog DNA .

BVA health schemes

  • Hips

  • Elbows

  • Yearly eye exam

Other inherited disorders

  • Addison’s Disease

  • Follicular Dysplasia

Please go to the health pages for fuller explanations of these tests and diseases.

Do you understand and can explain to prospective owners:

  • The dog's pedigree and pedigree line, health tests of previous generations etc

  • Breed coefficient of this mating and possibly previous generations.

  • Linebreeding - some common ancestors to achieve a type

  • Out crosses - no common ancestry - will give you a diverse type

  • Inbreeding - closely related not ethical or healthy

  • Pedigree endorsements (and are they clearly written in to your contract)

Choosing a stud dog

  • Finding the right stud dog to suit your dog is really important just knowing someone who owns one isn’t the best reason. This is where your breeder’s expertise can help and guide you.

  • The stud dog needs to have the same tests as the bitch .

  • At least one of the dogs needs to be genetically clear and neither of them must be affected.

  • Have you met the stud dog? what is it physically like and does it have a suitable temperament? Or are you just taking someone else's word for it?

  • Check the coefficient of the suggested pair on the Kennel Club website. The current breed average in 9.1%. The Kennel Club recommends only breeding at or below the breed average. 

  • You will need to see and agree a stud fee and contract. Agree on what constitutes a litter and what if the litter is lost. Fees for a successful mating resultiare usually equivalent to the cost of 1 puppy or the 1st choice of a puppy from the litter.



Having completed everything for both dogs what next?

  • Optimize the health of the bitch before her next season, worming, flea treatments, vaccination, weight, diet, exercise. Clip coat etc

  • Consider reading around the subject and upskill yourself on what a mating involves. Especially in what can go wrong and how to rectify. Try to attend at least one other mating.

  • Try to attend at least one other whelping / birth -well in advance of your own, even of another breed with an experienced breeder -  it really is invaluable  and will prepare you

  • Timing with the bitch, progesterone blood tests, if you are using, will be a good guide.

  • Plan how to feed your bitch in pregnancy - they can be very fussy

  • Consider an ultrasound scan to confirm pregnancy and estimate numbers. Usually around day 28-32

  • Work out the due date

  • Prepare the whelping area and somewhere for you to sleep.

  • Book time off ( if needed) before the due date to be with your bitch.

  • Notify your vet in case a caesarian is required. Cost is worked out by the number of puppies born, length of anesthetic, how many vet nurses needed, time is taken, additional medication and equipment.

  • Be vigilant for early labor signs - this is where a good whelping book is essential.

  • Have your experienced breeding buddy there if you can or at leat on speed dial.

  • Unlimited time is spent with a new mum making sure you detect early signs of problems with the mother, eclampsia, mastitis, womb infection, any failure to thrive puppies. Ensuring she doesn’t lay on them and is keeping an adequate diet and hydration.

  • Do you have a sheet (spreadsheet) to record and monitor the weight of your puppies over the 8 weeks along with worming treetments.

  • Plan finding homes for the puppies. This can be very stressful. Many hours can be spent talking on phone, answering emails, arranging visits. Finding the right home first time is essential. How do you manage expectations and weed out inappropriate owners.

  • How will you arrange puppy visits? remember this should not happen before week 5.

    • How will you ensure a reduction in the risk of infection? How will you know if they have visited puppies that day before visiting you and bring in deadly infections? Hand sanitiser? Shoes & coats off at door?

  • Make a contract of sale and make sure it covers everything - get your breeding mentor, to check it for you. The Kennel Club have a good one if you are an Assured Breeder. Your Local Authority will often give you an example when you apply for your breeding licence.

    • Does it set out clearly costs, payment, deposits etc

    • Does it clearly set out the endorsements and how they will be lifted?

    • Prospective owners need to see the contract at or before the week 5 visit when they pay their deposit. Bad breeders only show the contract at week 8 when the people pick up the puppy and have not time to read the contract and sign with a time pressure which could become an issue if there are problems further down the line.​

  • Make a puppy pack full of information of first days at home, how to look after your puppy, behaviour training, food, crate training, socialisation schedule and advice, vaccinations etc.

  • Arrange with an insurance company 4/5 weeks of free insurance for the new puppy owners.

  • Arrange with a pet food company who will often provide you with packs of food for the new puppy owners. Just make sure it is good quality food - too much food is awful so check it out on

  • Go online and prepare the Kennel Club registration of the puppies and pay the fee.

  • Prepare the initial vet check and legal chip placement with the vets at week 8 just before they go to new owners. Ensure chip registration and payment.

  • Arrange how you will arrange pick-up at week 8 for 10 families in a calm and timely manner so they have the time to ask questions and get the support they need.

  • How will you make sure that the new owners legally transport their new puppy home in their car (crate, harness and not a cardboard box and not in the footwell being blasted by the heater or airconditioning).


LASTLY - how much should I charge for my puppies?

This is often the first thing some people ask when others ask about healthy breeding. 

Over the last 20 years PWD breeders have worked incredibly hard to ensure the continuing health & welfare of this rare breed and by doing so, built up a long-term trust with prospective owners that they are doing all they can for the welfare of the breed and not doing it to make a fast buck. In 2019/20 the going rate was between £1200 from an unproven breeding bitch or inexperienced breeder to a maximum £1500 from a good reputable / KC Assured breeder who does all of the tests. It is generally accepted that this is a fair price that reflects the time and experience of a good breeder. The price rises a little each year and so may well rise to £1800 in 2021.

Some breeders sometimes want to charge more for a bitch or a dog with 4 white paws or a "therapy" dog. It is suggested people always pay the national going amount as paying more does not get you a healthier, better-adjusted dog. 

As a breeder can I charge more?

(Or is the real question how can I justify charging more than the national norm?)

Of course, you can charge as much as you like and as much as the market will let you get away with. It is simply the law of supply and demand.  It is said that in a free market the price of things is a balance determined by how much someone can get away with charging (seller's degree of greed) and this is equally counterbalanced by how much someone is willing to pay (or the customer's degree of gullibility, naivety or stupidity) 

What is it that you are actually chargng extra for? Is it because you want to make money? Some in the covid crisis doubled their prices to £3000 just because demand was so high and people were willing to pay inflated prices. One person said I will charge £3000 because that is what my friend charged. I was even told by several people that they had been offered puppies for £4000 and they all went too. 

The current rate reflects a fair amount for good breeding and the continued health & welfare of this rare breed. Compared to some dogs it is cheep with pugs costing £2000-£3000 and even the Labradoodle or cockerpoos costing £2500 for non-pedigree dogs with immense health issues. So PWD breeders could easily charge the same amount for a healthy PWD. But they don't.

PWD should never become elitist dogs, which get priced out of normal family ownership and become an accessory for the rich. It shouldn't be the case that if you can afford it you can simply go out and buy one without considering or sometimes not caring about the quality of the breeding or the health and welfare of the bitch and the puppies. These dogs should go to owners who care, just as much as good breeders, about the health and welfare of the bitch and puppies and the continued long-term health of this rare breed. This care about health & welfare is not proved by what you charge or are able to pay but by your actions which demonstrate and evidence what you believe in.

If you charge more you really have to demonstrate what you are changing for - and many people will be accused of profiteering or as it is known by some "Greeding". Those who charge exorbitant amounts just because they can maybe those who don't understand or don't care about health- and if you find that is the case, I would always advise that you walk away from such breeders.  Some good breeders do understand all these things and they may charge a little more but will be able to justify it with their experience or added value. 


Charge a fair rate for you PWD which truly reflects your knowledge, experience and commitment to the health of the breed, whilst still allowing PWD ownership to be experienced by good dog owners and not just those who can afford exorbitant prices. Lets spread the message of responsible breeding hand-in-hand with responsible ownership. 

You have to ask yourself what are you offering for the extra amount you are charging?

  • What expertise do you have? Are you an experienced breeder?

  • What is your knowledge about strengthening the health and genetic diversity of the breed?

  • Do you really know the breed and share the challenges of a working breed to new owners. The cute dogs / puppies easily sell themselves but honesty is key from a good breeder. 

  • Have you achieved Kennel Club Assured Breeder status?

  • Have your dogs won achievements such as a show winner, Crufts winner, British, Irish or International Champion? Are your breed lines in demand?

  • Were you fully aware of the health tests and had you previously done all of the tests or did someone else have to explain it to you?

  • Do you know what to do when things go wrong when whelping?

  • Do you have the skills to really offer the help needed to new owners for a lifetime?

  • Do you have the experience and capacity to rehome one of your puppies from a potentially difficult situation?

Good breeders do it for so much more than the money, let's be honest £1500 is a fair amount of money for somebody to afford to pay, but  in reality, it covers many costs: 

  • Stud fees,

  • Lifting the KC endorsements if the original breeder charges you (see above)

  • traveling to stud for mating 

  • vets fees,

  • progesterone tests,

  • scanning for puppies

  • pre-breeding health checks & hip tests

  • puppy pedigree registration

  • micro-chip implant costs at vet and  registration,

  • final vet check 

  • Initial vaccinations (most breeders do & pay for the first one)

  • pet insurance - specifically for a breeding bitch

  • worming and flea treatments

  • Food for bitch

  • food for puppies

  • Don't forget any other potential vets costs if the delivery goes wrong or puppies become ill.

  • The cost of setting up a good whelping environment, whelping pen, heat mat etc. and safe outside area.


Then on top of that you have to consider the time taken by a good breeder to ensure good potential owners.  

  • Time to screen people, phone calls, questionnaires

  • Visits for all prospective owners (average 2 to 3 hrs each)

  • visits at 5 weeks to choose the puppy

  • visit at 8 weeks to collect the puppy

  • The time you dedicate to supporting new owners, answering their questions - and this should be for the life of the puppy.

And that is before you even consider your time:

  • At minimum wage, for 24 hours a day for eight weeks your hourly rate for 1 person would already take up over £11,000.  and we often have two of us looking after the puppies!

There is really no cost that would adequately repay the time, knowledge, and experience of a very good breeder. It is often said that when you pay a £100 bill to have something repaired by an expert it costs £2 for the parts, £8 hor the time involved and £90 for the time and dedication it took over many years to acquire the craft to do such a skilled job. 

So charge a fair rate for you PWD which truly reflects your knowledge, experience and long-term commitment to the breed, whilst still allowing PWD ownership to be experienced by good dog owners and not just those who can afford exorbitant prices. Lets spread the message of responsible breeding hand-in-hand with responsible ownership. 

Remember there is never enough you can do for your bitch, the puppies and the breed.

If you want to know more just ring us up for a chat.

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