If you are a dog fan, then you may have crossed paths with a dog breeder at least once in your life. You might think that breeding dogs look easy, but it doesn’t mean we know how easy or challenging their profession is.
Breeding Labradors is a potentially highly profitable market due to the high and constant demand across the world. But to truly make the most of such an endeavor, a breeder must be very thorough with their plans, particularly their budget.
In today’s article, we’ll cover various aspects that any potential breeder should keep in mind. But as a whole, we’ll cover various labrador topics, so even if you aren’t planning to breed your litters of labs, you will find something for you below.
Step One: Know Your Market
If we are going to answer whether is breeding labs profitable or not, we need to go over the key points of any business, and whenever you are selling anything, you need to ask yourself: “Who’s going to buy it?”
As such, the first thing we need to research is the popularity of the Labrador Retriever breed. Thankfully in this particular case, it’s very easy to answer that question, as Labs are kind of universally beloved everywhere.
The Labrador Retriever has traditionally been the most popular dog in the United States, a position it firmly defends whenever a new poll or study is published.
And, more often than not, these statistics are based on registration, which means every “vote” for Labs is an accurate purchase and registration.
However, even if you don’t live in the US, you should be relieved to know that the Labrador tends to be the number one dog everywhere.
Since registration numbers aren’t as accurate outside of America, it’s hard to know the real numerical values, but Labs remains one of the most registered and sought-after breeds worldwide. Bulldogs and German Shepherds, however, prove to be fierce competition in certain regions.
This means that there will always be a demand for Labrador Retrievers and a need for lab breeders. This means that while a specialty occupation, the demand nonetheless will be high in that specific niche.
Know that we have a grasp on the basic viability of breeding labs; it’s time to find your particular focus in this competitive world.
Step Two: Find Your Focus
While knowing that labradors are always in high demand, it’s a boon for any potential breeder or any other business-related to them; it nonetheless brings its own set of challenges.
Whenever a market is booming, you can expect no shortage of competition and alternatives to be available, and it’s up to each person to find out how they’ll stand out in this sea of possibilities.
The easiest way to explain this phenomenon it’s to compare it to a food court. Food is something that will always be in demand. After all, it is a basic necessity.
And nowhere is this offer and demand more apparent than a food court. If you start a new restaurant in a court, you will be surrounded by competition.
Every sale that happens in a court is a sale that doesn’t go to you, and to avoid this, you need to find the way you’ll focus your endeavors.
Bringing this back to the labrador market means that you need to ask yourself key questions to ensure breeding labs are profitable.
First and foremost, how vital will this new task be to your life? Do you plan to be a casual breeder? Is breeding meant to be your new full-time occupation? This question defines just how much is riding into your success.
You also need to ask yourself about the quality/price ratio you will handle. How do you plan to make an earning with labradors?
Do you want to focus on pedigree pups that each sells for a high value? Would you rather keep a constant supply that can sell at a lower cost? This not only puts into question your whole business model but also defines how you’ll need to raise each puppy.
Finding your focus is vital in any business. If you attempt to profit without a clear game plan, you’ll run into countless problems. It’s like trying to shop while all the prices are hidden from us.
Your angle and focus will determine how you need to manage every last expense and choice in your breeding business. So this is perhaps the most important step before you dive into the world of breeding.
Also, we’ve talked to no end on numbers and profitability. But keep in mind that labs are still at the end of the day living beings.
So that focus will make sure each puppy can find a good home; that’s something we all should keep in mind when it comes to dogs.
Step Three: Budgeting and Preparation
The hardest part of any business is balancing production costs against profits, and it’s not any different when it comes to dogs. And since dogs are living beings and as very complex.
You have a lot of calculations to make here. The easiest way to calculate the expenses that dog breeding incurs is to give values per litter; thankfully, this also makes it easy to compare the expenses with the cost.
Breeding a litter of labradors is. An incredibly thorough task, so be ready to see a lot of factors and costs get listed. We need to cover the food the mother or “dam” and the father of “sire” as well if you plan to keep a specific lineage or breed in your litters.
This is the most apparent expense by far, though thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that expensive. The yearly food expenses are roughly $200, with supplements and related licenses roughly adding another $100 to the mix.
You might not have expected the cost of licenses and won’t necessarily apply base on your scale. But any kennel with four or more dams for breeding needs a license, so that cost tends to be calculated alongside the dam expenses.
A sire, on average, should cost less as it does not require licenses, and its physical state isn’t as relevant to the litter number. That said, it’s still another dog to care for, so there are costs involved.
However, having your sire saves you the money that renting one would incur, and this can amount to up to $500 per year, so it’s possible to save money by raising your sire.
Now come the expenses directly tied to breeding itself, which mostly refer to the medical interventions and tests you need to run on the dam.
These include ultrasounds and standard tests for brucellosis and the like. All in all, these breeding expenses should amount to roughly $650, and that’s assuming you have your sire. If not, get ready to add the amount we mentioned above.
The cost of the litter itself is by far the most complex step in the calculations, as there are far too many variables at play.
A pup could need special attention, maybe one is too sick and need euthanasia, perhaps you need a new whelping box, maybe you would prefer a c-section to be safe?
Registration, assorted accessories, and general food expenses usually amount to $750. But if additional medical procedures are needed, they can add up to $1000.
On average, the cost of breeding dogs tends to amount to $3000 per year. And that’s without counting rent if you need a specialized building for your dogs. This means that those puppies need to make back a fair amount to make it worthwhile.
Female labradors tend to go into heat twice per year, at fairly regular six-month intervals. This means that each dam can offer two litters per year, which usually average at six puppies. If we consider the above costs for a single dam, each puppy would have to sell for $250 to break even.
However, the average price of a lab puppy is around $800, which means you’d be making $9600 on average. An amount that more than triples the original investment.
Of course, at the end of the day, we talked about averages and ideal circumstances. This does not consider the cost of acquiring new dogs if you don’t have any, the possibility of a smaller litter or unsold pups. But it gives us a framework to base our objectives around.
Are breeding labs profitable? It is if you can plan for it accordingly. However, it’s also a taxing and complex job that requires a lot of dedication and attention to detail.
Any self-made business requires that we put in extra effort, but there’s a market to take advantage of here. So consider these ideas, research further on your own, and find out if this is the path for you. If not, then you still learned a lot about what comes into breeding labs and why they cost as they do.