|Posted by bwanasrhodesianridgebacks on October 9, 2011 at 2:20 PM|
I was asked by an old friend about the kennel the other day. She had seen some puppies for sale in a tent on the side of the road near our big Outlet Mall. They had Daschunds and fluffy mixed pups. Not AKC , apparently they were one of the off shoot registries, UKC or SKC. The woman running the booth was asking $300.00 each of the pups. Apparently an extra $50.00 got you the papers. We discussed the ramifications of her set up for a while and ended up talking about our kennel as I explained the value of our pedigrees and dogs verses the road side puppy shop.
One of the many things we chatted about was the division of responsibilities in running a kennel. She asked about training and showing, that would be me about 95% of the time. Training is an every day thing. From puppy hood on I train the dogs. My goal is always that they be well enough behaved that our young Grandchildren can safely walk them on a leash. We have a dear friend who pitches in and handles for us when I am not up to moving the dog around the ring. Linda's skills at showing are superb, and frankly I enjoy watching our dogs and pups work on her leash, listening to comments ring side as people watch them move effortlessly. Crystal, our daughter, handles the feeding of the dogs in the AM as she is up to put children on the school bus. Tristan and Bobby, our grandsons, have the yard duty. Keeping our yard tidy and clean. The kids are wonderful in the way the pitch in and by doing so they earn money. Baths, nails and daily maintenance is managed as a group. I take care of whelping our rare litters. From the moment our breedings are confirmed it is up to me to deliver the pups and then train them until they join their Furever families around 10 weeks old.
My friend laughed saying Bob , my husband, Sure gets the best of the bargain. Devoted dogs to lounge with and none of the labor! I realized it may look that way but then explained he actually has the hardest part of Life with a Kennel. Bob is responsible for the expense of all of it. From the purchase decades ago of our first Ridgeback and any that we have bought since then to the daily and then not so routine expenses. Feeding a premium kibble is not inexpensive but it makes more sense than the medical bills that can ensue if you feed a bargain feed.
She asked if having a kennel made us money. When I stopped laughing , I said no. The on going joke about having a Show Kennel is being asked "If you can make money?" Bob always responds "If you start with a Large fortune you can make a Small fortune in dogs". Showing the dog to win a .25 cent ribbon costs you $28.00 to enter each show, with at least $5.00 in bait to work and train, your show clothes and equipment added to the cost of our 8 MPG RV and the Parking Fees. "Why would you show then?" she asked. I thought for a moment then told her that once a dog has earned it's Titles and Championship it increases in value for breeding.
"Ahh" she exclaimed "I get it you make a lot money from the puppies right?" Again I could not keep the ironic smile from my face. "Not exactly". It averages about $1500 to $2000.00 to finish a dog for simply the AKC CH Title. The other Titles that we love having on our dogs vary in cost . Some may only run $25 or $30 dollars per the Test , however tests like our ATT ( The American Temperament Test) are done at the Ridgeback Rodeo in Pennsylvania, about 2800 miles round trip. The value of knowing the dogs have been tested and passed and will bring to your breeding a program a dog of proven sound temperament is priceless. Then we must test each dog for a series of health checks to assure we are using dogs of a specific quality. Cardiac, Thyroid, Eyes, Hips, Knees and Elbows all important and vital for a dog who will be used in a breeding program. So on average we have invested $7000.00 in each dog in our program ( with out factoring the purchase price of a new pup!)
"Then you make money? ... right?" she almost hesitated to ask. "Oh we aren't done yet" I had to tell her. When you decide to breed a litter you may have Stud dog fees. They can run anywhere from $1000.00 up to $2500.00 for a decent pedigree. Lucky for us we own our own Stud. So we now have normal additional testing to run. Progesterone testing lets you know when the bitch is ovulating. The blood draw and test runs $80.00 each. On the average you can expect to test 3 to 6 times. Add to that the cost of a Surgical Implant for Caine at $450.00 . Thankfully it is a one time try. Dreamer is being bred via Artificial Insemination. The vet will charge us to collect Zion and then inseminate the bitch. $35.00 to collect, another $85.00 to inseminate each time, we will do this 3 times. for the hoped for litter. So it is not uncommon to spend another $500.00 to breed a litter. There are so many things that can be factored into having puppies .
"But if you just let them try on their own?" She asked. There are just too many things that can go wrong. A few years ago we ran into a lovely Champion who was known for his grace of movement. He was walking with a dreadful limp. I'd asked the owner what had happened and where he had gotten the dreadful scar down his side? Apparently when attempting a breeding with a bitch who was not ready, he had been terribly injured. He had mounted her and achieved a "tie", the supervising people had relaxed thinking they had done all that was needed. The female panic'ed and he was torn from stem to stern. They nearly lost him. He had to be altered and the surgery to save his life was very expensive. Breeding puts your beloved dogs at risk. If you do not do everything you can to minimize that risk then you must suffer with the potential loss of that precious dog.
Factor in Superior health care during the gestation is a requirement to produce healthy puppies. Being prepared to deal with an emergency Caesarian Section if something goes wrong. The After Care for the new Mother, removing the dewclaws on the pups, vetting the puppies as they learn to walk, giving them their shots, even the Health Certificate before they go to their new homes there is always something. We send out puppies home with a bag filled with the things they will need to begin the life of adventure, frankly it helps to ease the pain of parting with them.
After our chat she had a profound respect for "Bob of Bwana" and zero desire to consider finding, Jangles, their Jack Russell Terrier a boyfriend.