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Discussion Starter #1
I'm wondering why it is so important to get your poodle neutered or spayed. Would it be a lot of work to breed one or two times.

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Breeding responsibly requires a great deal of expertise, money, time and the willingness to risk the wellbeing of your dog, and is not to be undertaken lightly. Breeding irresponsibly risks unhealthy pups, overpopulation and, of course, the health of the parents, especially the dam. there are arguments for and against neutering, but most people choose not to do so because they believe there are health advantages for their dog, not because they intend to breed.

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In short: Yes, it would be a ton of work to breed, and breeding risks the health of the female dog. An intact bitch not bred is at risk for developing pyometra, which necessitates a watchful eye of the owner as symptoms can be slight and results can be deadly.

In long: What "most people" do is highly dependent on country and culture. In America, most people opt to perform an ovariohysterectomy which removes the uterus and ovaries. This is best done after the dog has finished growing, which for toy breeds would be complete by 1 year of age. There is a small but growing number of vets offering OSS which is an ovary-sparing-spay which allows the dog to retain hormones while not being able to reproduce. In other countries, it may be more common to leave bitches intact, but owners must be well aware of the associated risks and are responsible for monitoring their dogs carefully.

An intact bitch will go into heat every 6ish months and it is a great deal of responsibility for the owner to keep her away from males. She will need to wear heat pants to prevent bleeding on furniture. She cannot be allowed with intact males (or likely even neutered males) at all during this 3 week period.

Breeding ethically means waiting for the dog to be mature (generally 2 years of age), completing breed-recommended health testing, and paying stud fees for a top quality sire. You also need to have a decent fund of money to pay for any medical complications which can easily rack up many thousands of dollars if there is a complication. It is also generally seen as unethical to breed a dog that has not been evaluated for structure and temperament, at a minimum by experts in the field. Ideally a dog is titled in conformation or companion events to demonstrate necessary qualities for breeding.

If one does plan to breed, it is also a huge time commitment. Young puppies are incredibly vulnerable and need to be monitored round the clock. Especially toy breeds.

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There are health consideration on desexing vs. leaving intact and they vary between bitches and dogs. My girl is spayed because I knew I would never breed her and I thought it was more to her benefits to do so. Our male dogs are intact (and Dianaleez) Javelin is around intact bitches and occasionally will be in a facility with bitches who seem attractive even though they are not fully in season). He does not show attraction to the point of distraction so I don't think he is frustrated.
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There are health consideration on desexing vs. leaving intact and they vary between bitches and dogs. My girl is spayed because I knew I would never breed her and I thought it was more to her benefits to do so. Our male dogs are intact (and Dianaleez) Javelin is around intact bitches and occasionally will be in a facility with bitches who seem attractive even though they are not fully in season). He does not show attraction to the point of distraction so I don't think he is frustrated.
Perhaps the vet was describing his own problem?

Premium Member
13,211 Posts
LOL. I think our own circumstances do colour how we view the decision - I know the miseries of the perimenopause and the aches and creaks and brain fog that came with dropping oestrogen levels made me very aware of the pervasive effects of hormones on every system in our bodies.

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For some reason I thought the original post was only asking about spaying, but I just wanted to say that I agree with lily cd re on the matter of neutering males. As it stands, health benefits for neutering males vs keeping intact are not understood enough to say with any definitive proof. More research is needed to understand specific disease risks and age-based effects. But many people choose to neuter because dealing with intact males requires more responsibility and training. I believe this should be considered on an individual basis. Some males may have hormone-based dog aggression, excessive humping, or excessive marking indoors that leads owners to neuter. Much of this can be mediated with training, but neutering may be preferred by the average pet owner. An intact male is always able to breed if he meets a bitch in season, so owners must be responsible for supervising their dogs.

Breeding, if you have a male, requires an owner of a female to want your dog to breed with theirs. Dogs desired as studs are fully health tested and typically are titled in conformation and companion events.

I used to think sexual frustration was a good reason to alter. Now I don't think it's really the case. It makes sense when you think about people, but dogs are different. A naïve male that has never bred doesn't understand what he's missing. My dog is intact (sterilized via vasectomy) and does not seem to understand the idea of breeding. He likes girls but doesn't seem to know why and isn't distressed when redirected from them even if they are in heat. The only dogs that really seem to experience frustration are those that are experienced breeding dogs and are kept in the same house as in season females, but are separated and cannot access them.

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24,021 Posts
Dianaleez, yes that may be the answer. Raindrops you explained the situation much more clearly than I did. BTW when Javelin was about a year old, Lily had a UTI and therefore must have smelled attractive to him. We were all on the bed and he went around behind and hovered over her to figure out what to do. When she realized what he was considering she gave him a big growly face and snapped at his nose. He jumped off the bed and has seemed to think that whole idea is just not something to do ever since (4years now).

Keeping intact males does require some extra training and management.

Premium Member
4,000 Posts

Would it be a lot of work to breed one or two times.
Yes it would and you're risking the life of the mother, any pups, and occasionally the stud. Why would you want to breed rather than desex? Even if you do the bare minimum of care, don't think "nature will take it's course" means everyone comes out alive.

The costs I'll be looking at are strictly related to care of the dam thru heat, pregnancy, birth, and puppies from the start of heat to the day the pups go to their new homes at 8 weeks (10 weeks for toys). This will not include the humans labor either.

BTW that total time is around 130 days, if my calculations are right.


First site

Pre-breeding health tests
OFA HIPS =$600
OFA thyroid Testing =$200
(repeated annually from 2-6 yrs of age)
OFA DNA DM testing. $75 for each parent =$150
Neonatal Encephalopathy =$235
von Willebrand Disease Testing =$235
Canine CERF Testing =$235

TOTAL =$1,655

Comment on cost of health testing: Because the prices may vary, tests may vary, and for the most part are a one time investment (CERF is annual for example), I'm not including them in per litter cost.They are valid and considered necessary by most breed clubs and breeders who are looking to the future, and have now trickled down to many buyers awareness.

Breeding Costs
Pre-breeding health check $75 for each parent. = $150
Optional CBC ( blood test ). $100 for each dog. =$200
Brucellosis Testing $75 for outside breedings =$75
Stud Fee. =$1500-2000
Ultrasound to confirm pregnancy. =$65
X-ray to get final head count. =$85

TOTAL =$2,075-2,575

Comment on breeding costs: The stud fee would apply if using an outside stud (a normal practice) so I'll leave that in at the low end.

My Total = $2075

Puppy Care Costs
(Per litter) *avg. 7 puppies per
Dewormer =$100
Goat Milk (not always used but always on hand). =$35
Vaccinations/Vet Checks. $50 per puppy. =$350
Microchips. $15 per puppy. =$105
(If taken to vet, $10 for implant and $15 for chip =$25)

Food (raw weaned)
Weeks 3 & 4 On average 3lbs per day x 14 days = 42lbs
Weeks 5 - 7. On average 6 lbs per day x 21 days = 126lbs
Week 8. On average 7 lbs per day x 7 days = 49lbs
217 lbs at $2.50lb =$542.50

Pet bedding ( litter box trained). $20 per week x 4 weeks =$80
Misc. toys per litter. =$50

Comment: total stands as above but is for litter of seven. Toy, mini typically smaller litters

Litter registration AKC. =$25
Individual Registrations CKC. $50 per puppy. =$350
Puppy Kit supplies =$320
(includes 3 weeks of prepackaged raw food, toys, puppy blanket,Leash and collar)
Paper work/contracts, vet booklets/ info. =$100

No comments, total stands as above

For a total of $5,787.5 to 6,287.50

My Total for the above minus OFA testing (7 puppies)
$2075 + $1262 + $795 = $4132

I'm also not including the costs below only because the next price list doesn't include it. Every one is valid when figuring total cost of a litter.

"This does not include any costs in keeping the dam/sire (housing, increased food during pregnancy/normal food through rest of year, routine vet care, training or competitions). It does not include shipping of the dam to the stud, progesterone testing if required or artificial insemination if required.
It does not include the building or purchasing of a whelping box, fuel to the vets office, unexpected complications such as c-sections ($1500) or mastitis ($1000-1500). It doesn't cover any advertising costs or annual website fees or updates. It also does not include washing detergent or electricity to do 2 loads of laundry per day or run the heater in their bedroom to keep their space at 73 degrees ferenheit.
This amount also does not include my TIME. Litters require around the clock 24 hr supervision especially until 5 weeks of age. I get maybe 2 hours of broken sleep per night for the first 3 weeks of life. Then it improves to about 5 hrs of broken sleep until 5 weeks of age. It isn't until 6 weeks of age until I can get 6-7 hrs of sleep per night.
How much do you think my time is worth? Let's just base it on a minimum wage job at 84hrs per week (that's 12 hr days and I do way more than that) Our minimum wage is $10
8 weeks at 84hrs per week is 672hrs x $10 = $6720"

From <COST OF RAISING A LITTER | Desjardins Kennel>


So you want to breed your female.

You know what to expect if everything goes right. Your little girl will present you with tiny bundles of joy. She will lovingly nurse them and care for them until they are old enough to be weaned. You and your family will find great joy in watching and playing with these little dolls, and then when the time is right they will all (or maybe you keep just one) go off to special homes to live out their lives as cherished companions.

But have you given consideration to what if something goes wrong? I have listed here a few of the problems that I myself have personal knowledge of. Everything listed has happened either to me or someone I know. These are not isolated incidents. I'm sure other breeders could add miles to my list. Learn by others mistakes! Let the breeding up to those who know what they are doing, have the experience, know what to expect.


  1. The stud dog you have chosen is carrying a venereal disease and gives it to your female. She not only doesn't conceive but you have to pay the vet bills to get her infection cleared up and she is now sterile.
  2. The stud dog you decided to breed your darling to is not experienced. Once the two dogs are joined tightly in a tie, he decides to chase the neighbors cat out of his yard. He bolts for the cat ripping his penis loose and causing your bitch to hemorrhage from within.
  3. Your modest girl decides she doesn't want the attentions of this gigolo mutt chosen for her without her consent. She snaps at him catching her tooth on his loose cheek and rips it open sending blood flying everywhere. He retaliates by sinking his teeth into her left eye.
  4. You leave your dog with the stud owner because the breeding is not going very swiftly. In fact , it's been three hours and nothing is happening. The stud owners leave the two dogs alone in the back yard. The dogs get out through a tiny hole in the fence and a truck hits your female.
  5. You pay the $250-$1000 stud fee up front figuring you will make that and more back when the pups sell. The breeder guarantees the stud service to work or you can come back again. After 2 months you discover it didn't work and now must wait another 4 months to try again. Of course it doesn't work again, so in another 4 months you take your dog to another male and risk loosing another stud fee.
  6. You get her bred. Bring her home. She bothers you so you let her out she is still in heat and still receptive to males. You hear a commotion outside there is your girl tied up with the neighborhood mutt. When she whelps there will need to be DNA tests done on the pups.
  7. You get her bred. Bring her home and let her out. (She is still in heat and receptive to other males) but you do not see the neighborhood mutt breed her. The pups are born but look odd. You call the stud owner he suggests DNA testing (At your expense). You have a litter of mutts! What do you do about the ones you have already sold?
  8. Or knowing she tied with the neighborhood mutt you decide to terminate the pregnancy and try again being more careful next time. But a few weeks later your female is very sick because you had her given a miss-mate shot creating a hormonal imbalance causing a uterine infection and now she has Pyometra and needs a complete hysterectomy. All plans of getting a litter is gone and your female's life is now in danger if she does not have the operation.


  1. The puppies are too large for the female. She never goes into labor, the puppies die and she becomes infected by the decaying bodies.
  2. The puppies are coming breech and they drown in their own sacks before they can be born.
  3. The first puppy is large and breech. When it starts coming your female starts screaming, and before you can stop her she reaches around, grabs the puppy in her teeth and yanks it out killing it instantly.
  4. A puppy gets stuck. Neither your female nor you can get it out. You have to race her to the vet. The vet can't get it out either. She has to have an emergency Caesarean section of course it is 3:00 am Christmas day.
  5. A puppy is coming out breech and dry (the water sack that protects them has burst). It gets stuck. Mom tries to help it out by clamping her teeth over one of the back legs. The head and shoulders are firmly caught. Mom pulls on the leg, hard, peeling the flesh from the leg and leaving a wiggling stump of bone.
  6. A dead puppy gets stuck in the birth canal, but your female is well into hard labor. She contracts so hard trying to give birth that her uterus ruptures and she bleeds to death on the way to the vet.


  1. The mother has no idea what to do with a puppy and she drops them out and walks away, leaving them in the sack to drown.
  2. The mother takes one look at the puppies, decides they are disgusting droppings and tries to smother them in anything she can find to bury them in.
  3. The mother gets too enthusiastic in her removal of the placenta and umbilical cord, and rips the cord out leaving a gushing hole pulsing blood all over you as you try in vain to stop the bleeding.
  4. Or, she pulls on the cords so hard she disembowels the puppies as they are born and you have a box full of tiny, kicking babies with a tangle of guts the size of a walnut hanging from their stomachs. Of course all the babies must be put to sleep.
  5. What if because of some Hormone deficiency she turns vicious allowing no one near her or the babies, who she refuses to nurse, or you have to interfere with.
  6. You notice something protruding from her vagina when you let her out to pee. You take her to the vet to discover a prolapsed uterus, which needs to be removed.


  1. One or more of the puppies inhaled fluid during birth, pneumonia develops and death occurs within 36 hours.
  2. What if the mother's milk goes bad. You lose three of your four puppies before you discover what is wrong. You end up bottle feeding the remaining pup every two hours, day and night. After three days the puppy fades from infection and dies.
  3. The puppies develop fading puppy syndrome you lose two. You bottle-feeding or tube feeding the last remaining baby. It begins to choke and despite your efforts to clear the airway, the pup stiffens and dies in your hands.
  4. Your female develops mastitis and her breast ruptures.
  5. Your female develops a uterine infection from a retained placenta. Her temperature soars to 105. You race her to the vet, he determines she must be spayed. He does the spay in an attempt to save her life, you pay the hundreds of dollars bill. The infection has gone into her blood stream. The infected milk kills all the puppies and the bitch succumbs a day later.
  6. All the puppies are fine but following the birth the female develops a hormone imbalance. She becomes a fear biter and anytime anyone tries to touch her she viciously attacks them.
  7. Mom and pups seem fine, the puppies are four weeks old and are at their cutest. However, one day one of the puppies disappears. You search everywhere but you can't find it. A few days later another puppy is gone. And another. You can't figure how on earth the puppies are getting out of their safe 4' x 4' puppy pen. Finally there is only one puppy left. The next morning you find the mother chomping contentedly on what is left of the last murdered puppy.


  1. You give a puppy to a friend. Their fence blows down so they tie the puppy outside while they go to work. A roving dog comes along and kills the puppy. Your friend calls you up to tell you about the poor little puppy and asks when you are having more puppies.
  2. You sell a puppy to an acquaintance. The next time you see them you ask how the puppy is doing. They tell you that it soiled their new carpet so they took it to the pound.
  3. You sell a puppy to a friend (you give them a good price and payments). They make a couple of tiny payments. Six months later they move to an apartment. They ask you to take it back. You take it back and of course the payments stop. The dog they returned is so shy, and ill mannered from lack of socialization and training it takes you a year of work providing socializing and training to be able to give it away.
  4. You sell a puppy to a wonderful home. They love her like one of the family. At a vet check done by their vet it is determined that the puppy has a heart murmur. (Your vet found nothing when he checked the puppy before it was sold.) They love their puppy and want the best for her. They have an expensive surgery done and the puppy is fine. They sue you for the medical costs. They win, because you did not have a contract stipulating conditions of guarantee and so as breeder you are responsible for the puppy's genetic health.
  5. You give a puppy to your mother. She is thrilled. Two years later the puppy starts developing problems. It begins to develop odd symptoms and is suffering. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of tests later it is finally discovered that the dog is suffering from a terminal condition that was inherited, possibly from your female since you know nothing about her family lines.
  6. One loving home decides your puppy is untrainable, destructive and wants to return the pup and get a full refund, which you have spent on your vet bills.
  7. One loving couple calls you and is very upset because their pup has crippling hip dysplasia and want to know what you are going to do about it. You have spayed your female so a replacement is out of the question, looks like another refund.


  1. You put your ad in the local paper for your pups at the usual price and get only 2 responses and no sales. You cut the pup's price in half and broaden your advertising to 3 other newspapers in which the advertising totals $120.00 a week.
  2. You get a few more puppy inquiries from people who ask all about health testing you did before breeding and if the pups are registered. You tell them your dogs are healthy and it was enough and that you could get the papers. The callers politely thank you and hang up.
  3. The pups are now 4 months old and getting bigger, eating alot and their barking is really beginning to annoy the neighbors who call the police who inform you of the $150.00 noise by-law.
  4. Your neighbors also call the humane society who comes out to inspect the care of your dogs. You pass inspection but end up feeling stressed and harassed.
  5. You finally decide to give the rest of the litter away but still have to pay the $1200.00 advertising bill and the $600.00 vet bill.

So you gotta ask yourself: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, "breeder?"

Re-posted with permission by Laura Turner
Written over 20 year ago
Link to article:
Bijou Standard Poodles
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