Using your dog at stud

There are a number of reasons why people may think about offering their dog at stud.  The most important reason, above all else, is to improve the breed, and this should always be your main goal.

The Kennel Club does not currently keep a register of stud dogs and therefore if you wish to use your dog at stud you may wish to contact your local breed club for more information and advice.

Should you use your dog at stud?

You should ensure that your dog is:

  • Fertile (you may want to have their fertility tested if they are not already proven)
  • Has an appropriate temperament
  • Fully health tested
  • In good general health
  • Free of defects, i.e. overshot jaw, cryptorchidism  
  • Has proved themselves in show ring, working trials, agility etc.
  • Kennel Club registered
  • Does not carry any KC endorsements precluding the registration of any progeny.

If you have not mated your dog before, you may want to seek advice from experienced stud dog owners to find out what to expect before, during and after the mating has taken place.  It can be advantageous when first using your dog at stud, to try and mate him with an experienced bitch.

Health tests and screening schemes

Before breeding from a dog or bitch, the Kennel Club advises that breeders investigate whether there are any possible inherited conditions that may affect the breed.  A stud dog can father many puppies and so it is essential that they are healthy and fully health tested to ensure that there is a low risk of passing any health issues on to future generations.  Stud dog owners can check which health tests are applicable to their breed by looking at the health tab on the Breed Information Centre website, or by checking with their local breed club.  It is advisable to speak to your dog’s breeder prior to mating to see if there are any health concerns in your dog’s pedigree.

There are several health schemes currently in operation to assist in the prevention or control of some diseases. These tests include DNA tests which give a definitive answer on the status of each dog. Where these schemes exist, the Kennel Club strongly recommends that both sire and dam are tested. In the case of a DNA test, the Kennel Club recommends that at least one parent should have tested clear for the particular condition.  For further breeding advice on mating DNA tested dogs, please click here.

If you are considering purchasing a stud dog, then the Kennel Club’s Dog Health Test Search tool allows you to search for any health results for a dog which is registered on the Kennel Club’s Breed Register, either by its registered name or registration number (or stud book number).


Inbreeding, put simply, is the mating of related individuals – those individuals with common ancestors. High levels of inbreeding can impact the health of individual dogs, as it increases the chances of a dog being at risk for both known and unknown inherited disorders. It could also have an impact on the breed as a whole, for example, a reduction in litter size and fertility. 

The Kennel Club’s online resource, Mate Select, can also be used to predict the inbreeding coefficient of puppies produced from a hypothetical mating. By using Mate Select, a breeder can easily avoid mating two related individuals together.

The impact of your dog becoming a popular sire

Popular sires, or male dogs, that are used to produce large numbers of puppies, are one of the biggest contributors to a reduction in genetic diversity, an increase in inbreeding and elevated levels of genetic diseases within a breed.  These dogs are often chosen because they have good characteristics, such as traits associated with good health.  Breeders will use these dogs because they wish to improve the breed, but excessive use of any males can be detrimental to the overall population.  For more information on the impact of your dog becoming a popular sire, please click here,

Stud dog temperament

Dogs have different dispositions and different personalities and when choosing two dogs to mate together, both should both have a good temperament. The temperament of the potential parents will be a good guide to predicting the temperament of any potential puppies. If a dog shows any suspect temperament, such as aggression, then it should not be bred from. 

When should your dog be used at stud?

  • Your dog must be mature enough
  • They have had the appropriate health tests or been through the available screening schemes (some have age restrictions)
  • If it is believed that he will be of benefit to breed’s genepool
  • Once he has proved himself in the show ring, working trials, agility etc.

What will your role as owner be?

The owners of stud dogs will usually be required to be experienced and will often:

  • Provide a stud dog contract
  • Supervise the actual mating
  • Know how to handle the bitch to ensure mating
  • Ensure the dogs are safe after they tie and that neither dog is hurt or injured
  • Assist or advise if the bitch shows little interest in mating
  • Be available to give advice to the owner of the bitch on whelping or puppy care
  • Be willing to help with any problems with the puppies, i.e. health issues, rehoming etc.

Selecting a bitch

Using your dog on a bitch that is not well matched may have an impact on the puppies produced and your dog’s reputation.  It is your responsibility to ensure that a mating between the two dogs is justified and that a mating will be beneficial to the breed.  When assessing how well matched the bitch is to your dog you should ask yourself:

  • Is the bitch old enough to breed?
  • Has she got the appropriate health test and screening scheme results?
  • Is the bitch Kennel Club registered with no endorsements?
  • Have you checked how related the dogs are using the inbreeding coefficient calculators?
  • Has the bitch been bred from before, if so how many times and were there any complications?
  • Is she generally healthy?
  • Is there any history of health concerns in her pedigree?
  • How have previous matings gone?
  • Is the owner happy with your stud contract?


It is important that before the mating occurs that a detailed written stud dog contract is agreed upon and signed to prevent any future confusion.  Ensure that a copy of your signed contracts are filed away in a safe place.

The terms and conditions of a mating do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Kennel Club. It is therefore advisable that any breeding terms or stud fees should be arranged by mutual agreement in writing between the owner of the dog and the owner of the bitch before the mating takes place.

A general guide to creating a stud contract may be found under the Advice Sheet Template section of the Assured Breeder pages of the Kennel Club website.


As a general point, if a dog has not previously been used at stud, the owner might charge a nominal fee covering, at the very least, expenses etc. Once the dog has been proven (i.e. has produced puppies), the stud fee may be reviewed for any future matings according to the value of the dog as a proven sire, and the quality of his progeny.  

A guide to an appropriate stud fee may be obtained from studying online advertisements, as breeders may advertise their dogs for stud. Alternatively you can contact your nearest breed club, who may be able to give you advice on this and any other matters relating to your breed.

Kennel Club registration

In order to register your dog’s progeny with the Kennel Club, you will need to ensure that the dog is in your registered ownership. You will also need to ensure that your dog’s Kennel Club registration does not carry any breeding restrictions or endorsements. If there are any, you will need to discuss this further (before any mating occurs) with the person from whom you obtained the dog, as any breeding restrictions or endorsements will need to be removed before the registration of a litter can take place. In most cases it will be the breeder who has placed the restriction, and they will therefore be the person empowered to remove it.

Assured Breeder Scheme

Although the main responsibilities of the Assured Breeder Scheme relate to the dam owner, there are responsibilities such as permanent identification required for the stud dog. Assured Breeders are given a high profile through the Kennel Club and advertised on the Kennel Club website all year round. There are a variety of discounts and rewards available for members of the Scheme.


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