If you’re thinking about trying to breed puppies, you might be wondering if it’s worth it. How much money can you really make from a litter of puppies? Well, it depends. But I’ll give you a great cost breakdown and then you can decide for yourself if it’s worth it.
So, I’m not a professional breeder. My husband and I just decided to try breeding our dark red golden retriever. Overall, it was such a fun experience. My kids loved playing with the puppies, we learned a lot and yes, we earned a little bit of play money. Here’s a breakdown of all the costs that we incurred along the way.
Expenses to breed puppies
Here’s what we spent in order to breed and sell a litter of golden retriever puppies:
- Female Purebred Golden Retriever (with breeding rights): $1500
- AKC registration for mom: $75
- Stud for breeding: $750
- Digital scale (to weigh each puppy): $20.35
- Deworming medicine: $25.49
- Puppy chow (6, 20-lb bags for mom and puppies): $108
- Dew claw trimmer: $13
- AKC online litter application: $118
- Vet health check, vaccines, dewormer: $350
- Puppy collars: $10.49
- Marketing to sell the puppies: $60
- Dog sitter while we were out of town: $150
TOTAL EXPENSES: $3,180
Additional purchases for puppy litters
There were a few items that we didn’t need to purchase because we borrowed them or they were given to us. But these items were nonetheless, very helpful:
- Dog crate (for transporting puppies to the vet): $55
- Puppy play pen (to contain puppies in one area): $40
- OFA hips, shoulder, eyes exam for mom: $200-$500
- Whelping/birthing box (for mom and puppies): $70
- Whelping box liner: $12
- Puppy warming mat (to keep puppies warm after birth): $23
A whelping box is a must. Your puppies with spend the first four weeks in your whelping box. My sister-in-law made her own and let us borrow hers. It was a life-saver. Or you can just buy your own whelping box on Amazon. I found a puppy play pen at a yard sale and it was really helpful to have after four weeks when the puppies are getting bigger and running around.
Grand total from our puppy litter
We originally started to breed puppies, we thought that our dark red golden retrievers would be worth $2,000 each. But after no phone calls for a couple weeks, we slowly had to drop the price of our puppies. Because the mom and dad didn’t have an OFA score for hips, shoulders and eyes, we couldn’t charge top dollar for our puppies. Instead, we settled charging the following for our puppies:
- Girls: $1,100
- Boys: $1,000
- Breeding rights: Additional $300
After all of our puppies were sold, six people bought breeding rights for the girls. We also had to provide a $100 discount for four of the puppies because we didn’t cut their dew claws deep enough and they grew back. Here’s how much money we ended up earning once all of the puppies were sold:
- Puppy expenses: $3,180
- Puppy income: $10,800
GRAND TOTAL: $7,620
What I would do differently
Overall, I feel like the effort to breed puppies was definitely worth it. We pocketed more than $7,000 and it was a fun experience for the whole family. However, there’s a few things I would do differently the next time:
1. Let the vet remove the dew claws
Okay, you’re basically clipping off a toe on each paw of these tiny puppies. They cry and I feel like crying too. Plus, we didn’t even cut deep enough and four of the dew claws grew back. It was a mess. It costs $12-15 per puppy to have the vet do it and I feel like that is well worth the money.
2. Get an OFA hip, shoulder and eye exam
This exam is kind of pricey, but people who are buying puppies want to make sure they won’t have bad hips, shoulders or eyes. However, you can do this until your dog is 2 years old. Our dog was one month shy of being two years old when she had her litter and that’s why we didn’t do it. But we are planning on it. Then you can sell your puppies for more money as well.
3. Market our puppies nationwide
Puppies in some states, like Utah where we live, don’t sell for as much. But we were new at breeding so we only advertised locally. If you want to make more money, advertise your pups on the AKC Marketplace or Good Dog. You’ll get more money for each puppy
Overall we were really happy with how everything turned out. We learned a lot and I think we will probably try to get another litter or two out of our cute Ruby. Hopefully this blog post helped give you a good idea whether or not breeding will be worth it to you.
Check out this cute video of our puppies playing for five minutes straight!
Do you have any other suggestions on breeding dogs? Leave your comments below.
Related link: How to raise a puppy without going crazy