I'm working on a GoFundMe to raise starting and operating capital to actually make this venture go from a guy with a good idea to a fully fledged organization that will serve the disabled veteran/wounded warrior/military and first responder community. (Well, we already started, and have donated two pups, but I bore the total costs for that, and folks, it ain't cheap.)
I'll provide a breakdown of everything that goes into breeding *good* dogs for you, just to give you an idea.
First, you need a bitch. Not just any girl in heat will do, either. What you need is a dog with a great lineage, so you know what kind of genes you're dealing with.
Then you need to make sure she's healthy. That means more than a trip to the vet to ensure she's able to bear pups without killing her.
You need to ensure she has good hips and elbows, so that you aren't passing on dysplasia.
Then you need her annual eye exam, to ensure there's no signs of eye problems because you don't want to pass that along.
You're going to require these things of the sire, too. (If you're using your own or from someone else's dog.)
So now you're in for about $1000.
But wait! There's more!
You've set up the deal for fresh chilled semen to be shipped to you because the breeder is 1500 miles away, and an amorous rendezvous isn't in the cards for your dog. Even if your stud is right next door, and you're trying natural, you're not saving much beyond shipping costs and insemination costs.
About selecting a breeder--you're looking for an AKC registered/certified Breeder of merit. These are breeders who ENSURE they are not damaging the breed, not passing along bad DNA, and raise healthy dogs. I'm not one--yet. It takes a minimum of five years of breeding right before you can become one.
And naturally, you need his and her DNA test done, because you're going to make sure there's nothing hiding in the woodpile that'll get passed on (or that the likelihood is very small.) Here's what labs should be tested for:
- Achromatopsia type 2
- Centronuclear Myopathy *
- Exercise Induced Collapse *
- Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis *
- Hyperuricosuria *
- Inherited Retinal Dysplasia/OSD
- Skeletal Dysplasia Type 2
- Degenerative Myelopathy *
- Canine Cystinuria *
- Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency *
- * Items are grouped into a single, $200 panel, other tests can range from $40-150 each.
So now you're looking at being in for about $1500. And your dog isn't even pregnant!
You got your tests all did. You had your results checked, registered, and verified. You've balanced the DNA profile of your sire and dam. Now you just have to get her knocked up!
Hang on to your hats, folks, Chilled fresh semen costs about $1500. (NOT including shipping--another $120)
Then it's get the dog in the right place, at the right time, for insemination. So you can't just guess, you have to KNOW when she's ready. This is done with progesterone tests, a blood draw that checks her hormone levels to make sure she's in the zone and actually ovulating. These are $50 a pop, and you need (usually) three to get a baseline and best time narrowed down. Add $200 for these.
We've arrived at the vet. All tests are done, our Mom to be is ready to go, the FedEx guy just showed up, and the vet is ready. Total costs to get us here: $1800
But wait, there's more!
Now you have a choice to make: regular "squirt it in and hope for the best" insemination, or TransCervical Insemination. (TCI) Since we're not much into spray and pray, we go for TCI. it's only $150...
Now we wait. It's going to take a month to see if your girl has buns in the oven, and that means an ultrasound, to the tune of $75
To this point, you've spent over $2000. And, if you're as lucky as I am, the first time you tried it, you came up snake eyes. No dice, try again player 1. Halia didn't have any puppies.
There's some good news though. Breeders will usually allow you to rebreed at the next cycle if you have less than 2 viable pups in a litter. So you aren't going to have to pay for the sample again, or the DNA profile again. You will have to pay for an annual eye exam, and normal vet care, and another round of progesterone tests, TCI, ultrasounds, and (if she does get pregnant, x-rays to ensure there is good orientation, size, and get a headcount. That usually works out to about $700.
So... I figure just to get the litter we had in August, it cost about $3000. This litter produced three viable pups, and of those pups, two are now in service dog programs.
I now need to wait a year for Halia to be ready, and I need to get Nani and Pete's DNA tested to ensure they are healthy and simpatico to make puppies, and they'll be ready in 2018.