Deciding to breed your Australian Shepherd is a big decision- much bigger than what you probably thought of when you decided "I'll just have one litter." You see, Aussies are not like other breeds. You *cannot* simply place two Aussies together and get a litter of healthy puppies.
In our breed we have the merle gene- a lovely gene that creates beautiful and desirable markings, but will also ruin the lives of the puppies you bring into this world that happen to catch two of this same gene. It can run the gamut of deafness, blindness, BOTH, and even puppies being born without eyeballs. No kidding.. "Well, I would never do that. I know not to breed merle to merle!" Excellent!
Do you also know that a puppy with two copies of the PRA-PRCD gene will go blind before it turns two years old? A puppy with two copies of MDR1 can DIE if given ONE tiny dose of ivermectin or a related product? Or that a puppy with even ONE copy of HSF4 will likely develop recurrent cataracts requiring surgery after surgery for the entire life of the dog? What about DM? A crippling and debilitating disease we barely know anything about yet. And there are a lot more than these. Please have your dogs genetically tested so you know that the puppies produced will be healthy! [This will be an investment- estimate $350 per dog for a panel of genetic tests] If not, you may be legally liable- and in some states, that will equal the puppy's purchase price, all vet expenses, and more.
"I only own the stud and he's tested."
That's a good place to start. Do you have your contract ready? Has he had a recent brucellosis test? Do you have your dedicated place to keep intact females while they visit your place? Insurance in case she gets out or gets bred by the wrong dog? Vet on standby in case she attacks your dog, or he attacks her? What if she damages him while struggling during the tie? What if he damages her? Several days off work to take the time to be HANDS ON with another person's dog while breeding? What if she doesn't take? Are you prepared to refund the fee you collected? The list goes on!
"I only own the female and she's tested."
Another good place to start! Has she had a recent brucellosis test or is she maiden? If she's maiden, has she been checked for any strictures? Have you found a quality male nearby for the breeding? Are you prepared to pay the stud fee? [Stud fees range widely- usually the price of one puppy $500-$1500 or pick of the litter] If doing pick of the litter, what if she doesn't produce but one puppy? What if she escapes the stud owner and disappears? What if she injures the stud (liability) or he injures her and she can't produce puppies? Do you have a stash of cash or line of credit for the emergency c-section? The tail dockings, dew claw removal, and vaccinations? Are you prepared to nurse the litter by hand, every hour or so, for the next several weeks if the mother dies during delivery? These are just the normal situations..
Before deciding- ask yourself these questions.
Am I willing to pay the full value of a female (including litters lost) if she runs away on my property or is injured while in my care? (Estimate $1500 for the female at lowball $3k for each litter lost, so $7500 easily)
Am I willing to euthanize my dog if the dog I breed them with “unknowingly” carries brucellosis and gives it to my dog?
Am I willing to let my dog die so I can have a puppy (That might also die)?
Am I willing to go into thousands of dollars in debt to save the mother/puppies that might not live (but the debt remains!)?
Am I willing to guarantee that these puppies will have forever homes and be responsible for them for their LIFE to ensure they don't end up in shelters or worse?
Am I willing to refund part or ALL of the puppy's price down the road because they developed a disorder that was directly related to their breeding (which is all my fault)?
If you cannot confidently answer YES to each of those questions, please fix your pet.
Our breed is becoming wildly popular and everyone wants a litter of their own, either to start breeding or to make some "easy cash." If you are looking into starting a legitimate breeding program, please pm me and I would be glad to help. If you are simply wanting a litter to "make your money back" then please reconsider. There are plenty of Aussies out there needing rescue as is because of "breeders" who didn't take the time (or care) to do it right.
If you are still interested in breeding and want to do it right, feel free to message me. I love helping new breeders (with the right mindset) get started with a quality program!
Renegade Mini Aussies