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How Much Do Dog Breeders Make?

You’re a dog breeder?!

Border terrier breeder and blogger Tegan Whalan wrote an excellent post called The Sin of Breeding Dogs. It’s about people’s reactions when they find out she is, God forbid, a breeder!

“I’ve seen a number of faces go hard and critical when I make this declaration,” she wrote. “When did dog breeding become such a sin?”

I’d like to know the answer to that question as well.

In the dog world we like to talk about “responsible breeders.” I don’t know what I consider a responsible breeder vs. an irresponsible breeder, but I do not lump them all together (“greeders” is the term I hear most).

I’m very careful not to participate in any “adopt, don’t shop” conversations. There are plenty of acceptable ways to obtain a dog. Going to a shelter is one. Going to a breeder is another.

Tegan wrote how she is never quite sure how to respond to the critical comments she receives as a dog breeder.

“Occasionally, I blurt out something about showing my dogs, or that I am a registered breeder, but it’s never quite what I want to say,” she wrote. “I want to say: Yes, I’m a dog breeder. And by dog breeder I mean ethical and responsible dog breeder, concerned about the health of my breeding animals and the long term welfare of my puppies.”

You can read the full post here.

I thought it was good to hear a breeder’s perspective for once – a voice often lost in this angry “rescue world.”

And what about profit? Do dog breeders make money?

Tegan wrote how she is very much in the red as a dog breeder. In fact, she has never earned any money from dog breeding and doesn’t seem to intend to. She’s bred three litters and lost more than $5,000.

“I have beautiful dogs that I love in my house and life that I wouldn’t have without this breeding program,” she wrote.

And while she said there are a lot of reasons to breed a litter, “Money isn’t one of them.”

Read the full post here: I haven’t earned any money from breeding

How do you respond to people’s attitudes against all breeders?


Friday 23rd of June 2017

We've have two litters in 10 years. Each breeding was done because we wanted a pup from the bitches, because the bitch had the right stuff (good health, temperament, drive, biddability), and we had others who wanted pups out of the breedings for the same reasons we decided to breed. Clearances and genetic tests were done, MANY sires were considered, and we contacted knowledgeable people to go over the pedigrees. We lost money on both breedings but we knew that going in. The first breeding was good and I think the second is great.

Kim Wisdom

Monday 8th of August 2016

This is another example of the pendulum swinging too far in one direction. I think most people must think "puppy mill" when they hear "dog breeder", and it is such a shame for the reputable breeders. I bred Australian shepherds a long time ago. We owned the mom and the dad and had three beautiful litters of pups. The pups were delivered in our bathroom, which we had set up for that purpose. They were loved on by our daughter and our cats, introduced to the neighbors, given their first shots, wormed, and socialized as much as puppy that age can be. Once at the beach we saw one of the puppies, now a full grown dog, that we had adopted out. She was chasing a Frisbee thrown by her owner and we could tell she was well loved and well cared for. The owner thanked us for letting him have the privilege of owning such a wonderful dog. It's sad to think that people now denigrate breeders. We sold the puppies for enough money to cover shots and worm medicine. Talk about a losing proposition as far as money! We did it because we loved dogs and wanted to promote the Australian shepherd breed, which was not very well known back then. We stopped because three litters is more than enough for one dog, plus we kept one of the pups. The hard part is giving them up!


Monday 8th of July 2013

In a perfect world I would LOVE to see people always go the adoption route, but it's not always practical especially for breeds that aren't often in rescue. For example, I'm fostering a wheaten right now and there are currently 0 wheatens available for adoption in my province. The ones that DO come up are usually from a puppy mill, but not everyone is suitable for a mill dog and vice versa.

There aren't a lot of us in rescue, but I definitely support reputable breeders.

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 8th of July 2013

Great example about the wheaten.

Rachel @ My Two Pitties

Friday 28th of June 2013

You are right about shelter marketing, it only really works on people who want a hard luck story which is perhaps not the majority. I'm assuming most people get puppies from breeders so it's not like there are that many abused puppies in shelters being so young, I think? But for sure money spent does not equal a better dog!

Rachel @ My Two Pitties

Thursday 27th of June 2013

I think I have a contradictory stance on this. While I don't have anything against responsible breeders, I can never really understand why someone would choose to buy a dog over giving one a home that really needs it, whether they are from a shelter, rescue, Craigslist, etc. I suppose showing would be the only reason but on another note, I don't really understand the interest in that either. The argument "I want to get my puppy from a breeder so I know exactly where they came from and how they'll turn out" infuriates me.

My parents got their german shepherd from a reputable breeder and while she is beautiful, has little hip problems and is very loving towards people, she has major dog aggression which is a huge flaw in my book. Then again she is distributing traits of her breed...protective, alert, driven and needs a job or purpose to enjoy herself. I guess I just love my mutts!

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 28th of June 2013

I totally get where you're coming from, especially since I have a mutt as well.

All I can add to this is that each person deserves to obtain a dog in the way he or she feels is best. Personally, I just want a nice pet. So for me, it makes sense to go to a shelter or find the right dog through Craigslist. Even if I wanted a certain breed (I don't) I could hopefully find one through a shelter.

At some point, I might end up buying a working dog (and pet) that has come from a breeder. I'd like to buy a trained protection dog, and most of these dogs do not come from shelters because they come from specific lines bred for specific work/temperaments, etc.

As another example, my husband has also always liked Greater Swiss Mountain dogs. At some point, I feel he has the right to buy one of these dogs. They just don't end up in shelters too often. There are breed-specific rescues, but there is often a waiting list and a difficult adoption process.

For now, though, I really have no reason to go to a breeder, and I like the idea of saving a life. My next dog will most definitely be from a shelter or Craigslist. I think for a lot of people, obtaining a pet is not a moral issue like it is for me. It's not about saving a life, for some people. It's about finding the right pet.