444 – Stud Dog Contract Do’s and Don’ts

What to know before you sign

Stud Dog Contract Do’s and Don’ts

D’Arcy Downs-Vollbracht joins host Laura Reeves for a detailed conversation on stud dog contracts. She shares her expertise as an attorney to give useful tips, as well as some outlandish stories of contractual overreach.

“Any type of agreement for breeding with your dog should be in writing,” Downs-Vollbracht said. “As long as you have something in writing. You want to make sure you get some key fundamental facts and understandings written down.

“If you’re doing something with a friend you probably want to be sure you have a contract even more so. You really want to have a clear written road map of what you’re agreeing to.”

Downs-Vollbracht notes that when breeders go into a business relationship with someone, just like everything else, “this is a contract that could be governed by the courts and it is a sale of goods.”

“You want to have some things in there. The name of the stud dog, and by that I mean his registered name, his registration number. You’ll want to have the identification of the dog, the CHIC number … You also want the bitch’s information equally on the contract. Both of those dogs, you want them described. If you have their microchip numbers, I would put those in there as well.

“The next step would be what did you and your friend agree on. What is the fee going to be — and there are a lot of variations of that fee. It can range from a a flat amount to deposit and then a price per pup afterwards. It can be a puppy back, it can be two puppies back. It can be whatever you have agreed upon is the price for that exchange of semen, but you’re going to want this very clearly laid out.

“You have a lot of variations in this. Some people will want a puppy back and they’ll say I want to come pick it. Who ranks the litter? Who gets to decide the pick order of the puppies? This is a discussion you will want to have if you’re going to be taking a puppy back.

“… failed breedings, we look at a couple of different things. Either you wind up having a bitch who doesn’t take or you have a bitch that takes but doesn’t whelp out a litter, or you have one that whelps out a litter and the puppy only lives two to three days. All of those things aren’t successful breedings. You’ll want to talk in advance about how it would work, but you need to make sure that the bitch owner is communicating with you.

“You can do a breed back. Some people require that to be done on the next heat cycle some people will let it go two heat cycles, especially if the bitch owner’s trying to work on reproductive health. You can kind of vary that as much as you would like but one thing to pay attention to is what is a live birth. And how many constitute a litter. In some of your breeds, where you often have very small litters, one to three puppies is a great litter.

“It’s going to be fairly breed specific but usually, and (it) goes back to some of the old common law British ways, usually it’s ‘the litter bears fruit of two puppies that go on to live beyond three weeks.’ The reasoning for that in history was that the owner of the bitch would be able to keep one back for themselves and would be able to sell the other puppy and cover the cost of stud fees.

“One of the things that’s important, and I see this often overlooked, is let’s say you get a bitch in for breeding, let’s say they’re not going to be able to have a natural tie. Then you need to have that alternative plan in place as a bitch owner. Do you want to have an artificial? A lot of breeders are very capable and can do it side by side. Or do you want to have it done at a veterinarian? All of those things should sort of be talked about and then the cost of those things if they’re taking it to a vet, usually the bitch owner will call and put a credit card on file.

From swapping a car transmission for a breeding to wanting to patent a stud dog’s DNA, Downs-Vollbracht has witnessed some significantly bad plans and overreach on stud dog contracts or agreements. Listen in to today’s show for some laugh out loud moments and cautionary tales.


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