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  • Writer's pictureElli

So you want to be a dog breeder...

I'm sure you've done the math on what your dog breeder must be making a year and it seems like such a "easy" way to make an extra buck. Let me tell you though, there is no such thing as easy money.

For us, the idea to start breeding dogs came out of necessity. Austin was a full-time student, I was a part-time teacher, we had one little baby boy, and our income wasn't paying the bills. I was searching for any opportunity to make a little extra money while working from home during the hours that weren't spent teaching or caring for our baby.

My time was already spread thin and I needed something that I could do from home during the time when I wasn't teaching or chasing our little toddler around that would help our already tight situation. We already had Luna and she had been the most amazing canine companion for me. She was the dog that got me outside for some vitamin D, was gentle with the baby, and an all around great companion to out little family.

So logically, I talked Austin into the idea of purchasing another dog and to start our dog breeding business. Looking back, I don't know how I got him to agree to it but we jumped in with both feet and used our tax return of the that year to buy Brin, an adult tri-colred bernedoodle, have her health testing done, and pay the stud fee to have her bred. We picked up Brin the day I graduated college and we were on our way to becoming dog breeders. It turned out to be the biggest disaster.

After having Brin in our home for a month, something spooked Brin, and being still new on the farm, she bolted. She was lost for 10 days. Through what can only be called a miracle, we were able to bring her safely back into our home. After the stressful 10 days, her pregnancy was lost and our financial situation was worse than before.

But we were all in. We had to two dogs, their health testing was complete, and because of my stubborn streak we kept going. I attended an online breeder class, taught by Jeanette Forrey of 4e Kennels, and later attended her in-person breeder's seminar a few months later. We still hadn't had a litter of puppies and there had been no return on any investment.

Learning from an experienced breeder was a game changer! We decided to purchase our own stud, Duke, and to keep going. Finally in February of 2020 we had our first litter of bernedoodle puppies. All of the puppies were meticulously raised on the BadAss Breeder Program and one of the puppies selected to go into a training program in Arizona to become a PTSD Service dog. (This puppy has since graduated and is working as a service dog!) After selling that litter we had finally earned a return on our investment two years after purchasing our first dog.

And here we are, finally in the "green" after three years of starting our our journey as dog breeders still working, learning, and spending more money on the dogs than we do our family most months.

Even though our business is now making us a return on investment it still means lots of money spent at the vet, on dog food, for a dog trainer, on new dogs, on education for myself as well as lots of puppy poop, laundry, dog walking, dog grooming, emails, time on social media, early morning, and late nights.

Dog breeding isn't easy money, but it is a business we love

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