A dog stud service is the agreement and act of lending or using a specific stud dog so it can mate and breed a female dog. In exchange for the stud dog’s semen will be received a cash sum, the first pick of the litter, or anything agreed between both breeders. Dog stud service contracts are often used to clearly state the terms and conditions of such breeding.
In the dog breeding world, a “stud” is a male dog whose owner(s) agree is suitable to breed with another female dog. The female dog in this instance is described as a “dam” and she will need to be equally suitable for breeding. Suitability is usually determined after a full health screen with a vet — a suitable dog will be in good physical shape and free from any illnesses or faulty genes. Both mating partners must be selected for their conformation to the breeder’s breeding program.
What is Stud Service?
The mating process between a stud and dam (with the aim of breeding) is known as a stud service. The owner(s) of the stud will act as advocate for their sire (by using advertisements, networking at performance events, etc), allowing dam owners to come forward and express an interest in the stud.
Both parties will have expectations about what they wish to gain from the experience. The owner of the dam will usually be concerned with the health, aesthetics and genes of a stud with the aim of producing puppies with desired qualities. The stud owner will also be concerned with selecting the most complementary dam for his stud. In exchange for servicing, the stud owner will receive a “stud fee” and will usually be guaranteed first pick of the litter if breeding is successful.
The service also extends beyond just purely allowing a dam to mate with a stud. If you are a stud owner, you will be involved in the inner workings of the process from beginning to end. For example, you will be expected to guarantee a certain number of puppies, assist the dogs in the mating process (if required) and care for the female throughout.
How to Select the Right Stud
Dam owners will generally have a specific outline of the kind of stud they wish to breed with their dam. Certain desired traits will remain the same across the board, for example, good health and good pedigree. Every stud should also have been tested for Brucellosis, a common sexually transmitted disease in dogs — and should have written evidence of a negative test result.
Features such as breed type and aesthetics will also be important. An owner will usually identify flaws in their dam whilst seeking a stud that holds these missing characteristics, so that together they can make the perfect puppies. It’s difficult to find a stud that possesses every single weakness the dam has, so it is best to prioritize which ones are most important to you.
As a dam owner you should also be clued up on your dog’s own genetic profile to deduce whether certain traits carry dominant or recessive alleles. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee a stud can correct your dam’s unfavourable trait if its caused by a single dominant allele — be sure to do your research ahead of time to avoid disappointment!
Dam owners find it useful to see a stud’s existing offspring in person, so they can get a rough idea about what to expect from a resulting litter. As a stud owner, you may want to pick the most handsome “son of” a popular and expensive stud to take to the podium at dog shows. Or, you may wish to showcase a pup of a lesser known stud and make bank if you can get it on the podium, gather interest and increase his popularity.
Dog Stud Service Contract
A stud service contract is provided by the stud owner — its a written agreement signed between the stud and dam owner(s). The contract guarantees successful breeding and ensures both parties who enter into the agreement uphold their end of the bargain whilst protecting the health and welfare of the stud, dam and offspring. The contract must be signed by each owner and clearly details their service rights.
In exchange for allowing a dam to mate with their stud, a stud owner will receive a certain level of compensation to be detailed in the stud service contract. The “stud fee” is usually one of the first matters to be discussed by stud and dam owners, appearing early in the contract as a major point to be agreed on. Ideally, an amount should be established verbally long before the contract is due to be signed. The fee is paid to by the owner of the female to the owner of the male; it pays for the dam owner’s right to breed with the stud.
Included in the right to breed are several conditions that must be met by the stud owner. For example, the stud must have the appropriate veterinary certificates to prove the stud is in excellent physical condition, has received a negative Brucellosis test and is vaccinated up to date. The owner must also be able to provide a three-generation pedigree chart, which gives the dam owner information about the stud’s family history.
Furthermore, although the dam owner is paying to receive a service, they must still fulfil requirements to ensure the process runs smoothly. They too must ensure their dam is healthy, vaccinated and free from Brucellosis — she must also be in season! It is also common practice for the stud fee to be paid prior to servicing and for the stud owner to refuse commencement of servicing until said fee is paid. Dam owners must also stick to the agreed notice period regarding a non-pregnancy if they require a return service.
Failures & Attempts to Breed
The owners should also agree upon a length of time that the two dogs will stay in one another’s company and how many mating attempts can be undertaken during this time. It usually the stud owner’s responsibility to look after the welfare of the dam throughout stud service. The dam owner should also receive concrete reassurance about what will happen in the event of a non-pregnancy and whether the stud will be available for a second or even third attempt.
If the dam owner notifies the stud owner of a non-pregnancy within the correct notice period and the stud is no longer available, the dam owner should receive a return service from another suitable stud. Notice periods are usually placed from 65 to 70 days. Failure to provide notice in writing will result in the stud owner refusing a return service and the dam owner having to seek out a new stud.
If breeding fails following servicing, the dam will not be charged any additional costs for a return service in her next season. The stud owner will determine how many return services will be covered by the initial stud fee. It is common practice for a stud owner to allow two or three return services for no extra charge after which the contract will be terminated. The dam may then be required to enter a new service agreement with an entirely different stud — conditions are variable, so ensure you have read and clearly understand the service contract before signing.
In the event of a successful pregnancy and birth, the contract should detail that it is the obligation of the stud owner to fill out and return the relevant registration papers to the dam’s owner. The paperwork should confirm when and where the mating took place and that the stud is the father of the litter of puppies.
Logistics and Organisation
The service contract need not only contain information about the service exchange, it should also include detailed information about the logistics and organisation of the entire service such as addresses, dates, times, durations, contact details, emergency vet number(s), and so on.
Dams and studs may be local to one another, meaning the dam can be dropped off and picked up hours later. Other dam owners will travel miles to drop their dog off, leaving them with the stud owner for several days or a week to allow adequate time for natural mating to occur. The dog stud service contract sets out details about how the stud owner should care for the dam during her stay, for example, make sure she is fed and kept warm and comfortable. The stud owner should also agree to assist the dogs with mating if required, supervising them round the clock to avoid injury.
If natural servicing cannot be achieved, stud owners can also provide the option of artificial insemination by a licensed veterinarian. The contract will set out of the terms of this arrangement including the name of the veterinarian to carry out the procedure and any additional costs incurred. For example, the dam may have to pay for the stud’s semen to be collected, frozen and shipped to the relevant location.
Any additional clauses in the stud service contract will also vary but should be read and understood before any servicing takes place. This includes restrictions on future breedings of the litter, for example, the dam owner must agree not to sell puppies on to commercial retailers who will use the puppies solely for repeated breeding. It should also be clear to the dam owner that the stud will father other litters with other dams in future.
Additionally, dams should no longer used for breeding after approximately 8 years of age and should have no more than 2 or 3 litters a year. Stud owners should request information about a dam’s breeding history if they wish to avoid producing pup(s) that cannot be formally registered by the Kennel Club.
Further common clauses also include details about what constitutes a “litter” — usually this at least one puppy (dead or alive). If a dam produces a single puppy, a return service is usually offered. Also, details of when the stud owner will take the pick of the litter; usually at 7 weeks old before they have left the dam owner’s residence.
Marketing a Stud
As a stud owner, you must strike a balance between marketing and servicing. You cannot possibly say yes to every dam owner who shows an interest in your dog stud services, as the quality of the service will suffer (and you will have one very exhausted dog!). On the other hand, you cannot be too conservative, or requests will diminish. Before you even consider studding your dog, he must have an immaculate health record as not to allow servicing to be at the detriment of himself, the dam and future puppies.
Show Your Studs (And Win!)
The top way to grab the attention of dam owners is to showcase your stud at performance or dog show events, ensuring that he grabs the number one spot on the podium. Dam owners on the look-out for a stud will be certain to favour a champion, rather than a runner up. The more attention your stud receives, the more you can afford to have your pick of the dams to make the most complementary match!
You should always ensure your dog is well groomed and in top physical condition — make certain that he trains and/or exercises regularly, eats well and has regular health checks. For him to be considered a true champion he must always be on top form. Identify his strong points and market them as much as possible — don’t be afraid to promote your stud if he can live up to expectation. Never deceive dam owners about stud traits or qualities, as the lives of future puppies are on the line.
Bet on your Popular Studs
If you suddenly find yourself inundated with offers from dam owners, then don’t be shy! There’s nothing wrong with raising your prices — if dam owners are serious about breeding their dam with your stud, they will usually pay more. Popularity may be instantaneous, or it may occur gradually over time (often once dam owners can see that your stud has produced a strong line up of puppies). Alter your price accordingly but be smart; being too ambitious too early may result in a loss of stud service requests.
There is also no harm in insisting on having first pick of the litter. By continually picking the strongest pup in the bunch, you are building an impressive pack of dogs who will promote and enhance your dog’s stud role. Think of your stud’s puppies as a sort of canine CV — they help to provide dam owners with information about what they should come to expect if they select your stud. The better the lineage, the better the CV, the more job interviews and offers!
Pick Promising Studs in Litters
As great as your stud may be, he is also likely to have flaws. Rather than dwelling on these, be proactive. Yes, dam owners will want to vet your stud to find the perfect mating partner for their dam, but you too should also be on the look-out for dams who will fill the gaps in your canine’s genetic profile.
Always aim to create an even stronger, healthier, more beautiful dog than your stud is himself. Then, when you insist on having first pick of the litter, you can pick the best male in a litter who seems to be a promising stud for the future. Be sure to not go for the runt of the litter, though! With very popular studs, your job of finding a complementary dam is made easier because you will have greater choice — you can afford to narrow down requests by picking the best dams in the bunch to be serviced.
Before your stud services any dam, you must always confirm that she has a clean health record and does not have any inheritable traits that may cause unhealthy puppies. As the stud owner, it is your responsibility to protect the health of your stud and his offspring, so regardless of how much money is involved, never put your stud at risk of harm.
Dog Studs Can Breed Often
When it comes to frequency of breeding, balance is key! The more popular your stud is, the more regularly he will mate and breed. Popularity is great for your bank balance but over time it can affect the quality of the sperm your stud can produce. For this reason, it is recommended that stud dogs are sperm tested every few months to ensure any alterations to sperm are detected early on. Any detectable changes should be followed up with a complete investigation to determine the cause of the change and decide whether the male dog is still fit to be studded.
It is recommended that sperm be collected from less frequently bred dogs 2-4 days before mating. This procedure clears dead sperm from the ejaculatory tract to improve the quality of future ejaculations. Males can mate or have their sperm collected daily for 3-5 consecutive days before sperm stores are depleted. They will then need a rest day for stores to increase again. It is better to give your dog regular rest days before complete depletion, so sperm will never reach exceptionally low levels and negate pregnancy outcomes.
Furthermore, breeding your stud too often will put an excess of your dog’s sperm out in the world — known as the popular sire syndrome. The reason studding draws in so much revenue is because it is generally quite hard to find dogs that are the “perfect” pedigree. If a stud’s genes are everywhere, he will no longer be considered rare and beautiful, and your revenue will decrease. However, not enough breeding and your revenue will also decrease. You may wish to base decisions on whether to breed your stud on factors such as dam breed and location to help you strike a breeding balance.