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How should stud fees be calculated?
February 2, 2006 8:37 AM   Subscribe

What started out as a question of dog stud fees has turned into an economical problem for me. Help me figure out how puppy sales should be distributed.

I've been contacted by a friend of a friend of a friend who wants to mate my dog with theirs. Setting aside all issues of dog health, proper breeding age, registration, etc. (we've confirmed these issues with vets), how should money from the sale of puppies be divided? A standard stud fee (from what I understand, I'm no pro) is the pick of the litter or the cost from the sale of one puppy.

Things to consider:
1. There may be a wide range in the number of puppies born.
2. There may be a wide price difference in the price that a puppy may garner, depending on color.
3. I would like some money guaranteed, regardless of results.
4. Average price for a puppy would be (for the sake of conversation) $500. Certain colors could get up to $750, others could only be sold for $350.

How should this be split fairly? I'm looking for something straight-forward so that I can explain it to the owner of the other dog without requiring a spreadsheet.
posted by jmevius to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
 
If "the standard stud fee is the pick of the litter or the cost from the sale of one puppy," can't you charge a flat-rate stud fee of the average cost of one puppy? Whether that means average across national sales or average for this litter would seem to be up to you, though average of the litter seems most fair (though I am not a dog breeder).
posted by occhiblu at 8:43 AM on February 2, 2006


If you're "no pro," the LAST thing you should be doing is breeding.
posted by sageleaf at 8:50 AM on February 2, 2006


Before studding your dog, you should have it evaluated for fitness and representation of the breed. Breeding a sub-standard dog is a huge no-no as it dilutes strength of the breed itself. Naturally, the same thing should be done with the bitch. If you've already taken this step, I apologize for the rant.

In my understanding, studding fees are based in part on the sire's lineage and how well he meets the breed guidelines. You could certainly charge a high percentage of what a puppy with his qualities would fetch.
posted by pmbuko at 8:54 AM on February 2, 2006


And for the reasons I stated in the first paragraph, I second sageleaf. Pros are the reason purebreds exist.
posted by pmbuko at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2006


Thanks for the concerns, everyone. The lineage of both dogs have been confirmed and the match is considered highly desirable by dog owners. For the purposes of the question, let's assume the match is ideal.

At this point, it's purely an economics problem to me. I'm no pro at economics either (hence the question).
posted by jmevius at 9:04 AM on February 2, 2006


I'm not sure I understand whether your question is 'given that the usual fee is the salesprice of one puppy, how do I calculate that in advance?' or 'I don't like the usual fee structure, help me design something else!'

Not that I can help with either since I know nothing about the subject at hand, but if I did, I feel like I'd want that clarified.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:20 AM on February 2, 2006


To clarify, I don't mind waiting until all the puppies are sold to collect money. So, if an average price is considered the price I should be paid, that is easily determined.

To me, it's closer to the second one, "help me design something else". I want a system that is fair for both parties, but at the same time financially rewarding.
posted by jmevius at 9:23 AM on February 2, 2006


"Pick of the litter or X amount of dollars" is standard for stud services as far as I know from my mother, who is breeding her Maltese.

So... do you want another dog for your family or do you want to sell a puppy outright on your own? If not, just figure out a price. If the high end is $750, and you think that's fair (since that would be the assumed price of the pick of the litter) then go with that and provide that as your reasoning.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:26 AM on February 2, 2006


What, exactly, is wrong with the conventional way of doing stud fees?

Your objection seems to be that there is risk and uncertainty involved, but it would seem that you, as the owner of the stud, already has the favorable position in that regard even though it sounds like the only thing you are really risking is your dog getting his rocks off.

Are you concerned that this arrangement is unfair to the owner of the bitch?

Is it that you don't actually want to take the pick of the litter and be responsible for selling it? If so, could that be solved by picking the dog and then taking the selling price of that dog, minus a consignment fee?
posted by Good Brain at 9:37 AM on February 2, 2006


I'd suggest a different rule of thumb:

Figure out how much it cost to get your dog's health clearances. This should be several hundred dollars, because you should have gotten your dog's hips, eyes, and heart examined for just about any breed, and then whatever additional checks or clearances are needed for your particular breed.

Then add to that the cost of showing the dog until it gets at least a UKC championship. This doesn't mean that your dog is anything special, only that people who aren't you, and who aren't the owner of the bitch, looked at the dog and thought it wasn't obviously not worth breeding -- that is, this is a very minimal standard. This will likely also be another couple-few hundred dollars.

Then add a small premium, say 5 or 10%, or round up to the next round-ish number.

If you haven't done all the health checks and showing, then you, sir, are contemplating being a backyard breeder in the most pejorative sense of the word and should not breed your dog. Ethical breeders, whether they own the dog or the bitch, don't breed a litter to make money but because they love the breed and need to cover some substantial costs.

If you've actually done all this, or if you must breed your dog unethically, then, well, a fair stud fee is anything that you can both agree on, so just negotiate fairly. Really, anything above covering your costs is just free money to you, so I don't imagine you'll be in a terribly strong bargaining position.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:59 AM on February 2, 2006


Second ROU_Xenophobe, who phrased it much better than I think I could have.
posted by Roger Dodger at 10:23 AM on February 2, 2006


How odd. My observations have been that stud fee is usually a fixed number (in my experience about 50% of a typical pet puppy, although it may approach 100% for popular sires or multi-titled dogs with proven prepotency, etc.). The sire's owner has no further truck with anything the breeder (by definition, the owner of the bitch) does with the resulting puppies. The price of puppies is generally known by the breeder before ever embarking on a breeding - it's not a financial 'cost of goods' calculation, it's typically some combination reflecting size of litters, rarity of breed, setting a barrier threshold to prevent casual and thoughtless acquisition of puppies, with a strong geographical component - that is, puppies in a locality tend to normalize around a usual cost, with drift upwards as the years go by.

The common "pick puppy" or "puppy back" or "price of a puppy" arrangements tend to be limited to cases where the stud owner has a fiscal or breeding interest in the bitch herself - for instance a co-owned dog. Or a breeder might place a show prospect for nothing or nominal price with the promise of a 'puppy back' at some later time.
posted by cairnish at 10:44 AM on February 2, 2006


Third ROU_Xenophobe. Please (re)think about it. There are zillions of homeless dogs on Petfinder and in shelters around the country, from the sounds of it, this is not an ethical breeding in which the dogs are being bred to better the breed and provide the breeders with future breeding stock and a few puppies to place carefully in good homes with a lifetime take-back/give-back guarantee and a proper, written code of ethics contract including limited registration or a non-breeding agreement. Basing price on things like colour is a huge warning flag of backyard breeding/puppy milling in most cases.

That said, in my experience, stud fees are normally the price of one puppy, so your average price of $500 sounds fair.
posted by biscotti at 3:51 PM on February 2, 2006


I'd say don't do it on matter of principle. There are way too many puppies dying every day in shelters.
posted by radioamy at 7:25 PM on February 2, 2006


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