So You Want Your Labrador To Be A Stud Dog?


Do you want your Labrador to be a stud dog? There are some important things to consider before choosing whether to let your Labrador become a Dad.

Are you wondering when he can start, how much you should charge or even whether it’s safe for him?

This article looks at what a stud dog actually is, how and when you can stud your dog, but perhaps more importantly, why and under what circumstances it is right to do so.

What Is A Stud Dog

A stud dog is a male dog that is mated to bitches belonging to other people.

This is carried out in exchange for money (or something of equivalent value such as a puppy).

There are no legal requirements governing the use of a stud dog in the UK at the time of writing, above and beyond those enshrined in our animal welfare laws.

The Kennel Club issues some brief guidelines in their online introduction to dog breeding, though they mostly apply to the owners of bitches.

Why Make Your Lab A Stud Dog?

Offering your labrador at studPeople think about offering their dog at stud for a number of reasons.

Motivations can differ widly from one person to the next, or be a combination of a few similar factors.

Sometimes they do it because they want to earn some pocket money.

Quite often, they do it because they very much want a ‘chip off the old block’.

A puppy just like their boy.

How Do You Become A Stud Dog?

There is more than just the practicalities of mating to be considered here (surely you just let them ‘get on with it’?) and what age the stud dog should be.

There is also the question of how to go about ‘getting established’ so that the owners of bitches can find you.

Do you place an advert, and if so where?  Should you join a breed club?

For a moment let’s look at this situation from the bitch owner’s point of view.

How To Choose A Stud Dog

The owners of bitches are fussy about the dog they mate their precious girl to.

2017 international dog name surveyAnd rightly so.

Breeding from a bitch is a huge responsibililty and a costly investment.  A bitch may only have two or three litters in a lifetime, and once health checks have been secured and the costs of caring for half a dozen puppies factored in,  there is very little profit.  (and that is if all goes smoothly.)

So bitch owners are fussy, and they want to sell their puppies for a reasonable price.  And guess who else is fussy?  (Or they should be)

That’s right: puppy buyers.

Nowadays puppy buyers are increasingly well informed.  They want quality puppies with a good chance of a long and healthy life.

What Stud Dog Qualities Does Your Labrador Have?

So there are a whole lot of people out there, that are really picky about the dog that fathers these little pups-to-be.

And this is what they are looking for

  • Health tests
  • Superb temperament
  • Success, success and more success

Health Testing Stud Dogs

Labradors are subject to a range of inherited diseases.  A stud dog can father a great many puppies and it is absolutely vital that he is checked for inherited conditions long before he ever goes near a bitch.

One of these tests, hip scoring, cannot be carried out until he is a year old, so that starts us off in answering the ‘when’ question.

Stud Dog Temperament

It goes without saying that a stud dog must have a perfect temperament.  If your Labrador is more ‘guard dog’ than ‘guide dog’ he is not up to the job.

He needs to love the whole world, not just the bitch in front of him.

He also needs to be fully mature, which means at least  18 months to two years old,  so this is another part of the ‘when question’

Stud Dog Achievements

We all like a winner.  Bitch owners, remember, want to sell great puppies, and puppy buyers are looking for something a bit special.

Female Labrador owners are often looking for either success in the show ring, or, success in the field.   This success proves that the father of their puppy is not just a pretty face.

For this and other reasons, many bitch owners will not mate their girl to a stud dog that has not at least won a few shows, or been placed in a few field trials of working tests.  At least.

This provides another answer to the ‘when’ question  – when he is successful, and has some achievements under his belt.

There is one more thing that many bitch owners are looking for, from the owner of their stud dog,  and that is support.

Your Breeding Experience

As the owner of the stud dog, your role is to supervise the mating.  And no, it isn’t just a case of letting them ‘get on with it’.

Because dogs ‘tie’ after mating, and because a dog has a ‘bone’ in his penis, there is scope for serious injury to the dog if mating is not properly supervised.

There are times when you need to intervene, both to ensure your dog does not get hurt and to ensure that the mating takes place at all.

  • Do you know how the bitch should be handled to ensure your dog is not injured?
  • Do you know how to turn the dog during the tie?
  • Do you know what to do if the bitch panics during the ‘tie’ and your dog is in pain?
  • Do you know how to lubricate the bitch before mating, and how to check for strictures?
  • Have you assisted at several matings, including difficult ones?

This is not something that you can easily learn from a book or the internet…   Which is why you won’t find the ‘how’ to mate your dog dealt with here.  Every mating is different.

Stud Dog Responsibilities

Your role as a stud dog owner goes further than ensuring an effective mating and the safety of your dog.

Many bitch owners will want to consult you during pregnancy and even during whelping.  They may be looking for advice and support afterwards too, when the puppies arrive.

Have you bred several litters yourself?  Or assisted someone else in doing so?

You need to consider if this kind of support is something you would be capable of supplying

When To Stud Your Dog

  1. When he has been fully health tested with excellent results and
  2. When he is fully mature and
  3. When he has achieved success in the show ring or field and
  4. When you have sufficient experience and last but not least:
  5. When you have considered the implications and ethics of breeding from your dog

The Implications of Breeding

Apart from the ethical considerations of adding to the general dog population, there is the responsibility you share with the bitch owner for the welfare of these puppies.

You are responsible for making sure that the two dogs are compatible, and supremely health.  Checking out the credentials of each bitch that your dog is mated to, is a part of this responsibility.  Making sure your dog is in great condition and that each mating goes smoothly and without injury, is another part.

You can find a lot more information about the pros and cons of breeding in this article: Labrador breeding

Don’t forget, if you simply want a puppy just like your boy, your best bet is to try and get a brother or sister, or a puppy from very similar lines.  It could be a whole lot less trouble.

More information on Labradors

labrador-jacket-800You can find out more about how to keep your Labrador as fit and healthy as possible in the Health section of our website.

If you’d like all of our best Labrador information together in one place, then get your copy of The Labrador Handbook today.

The Labrador Handbook looks at all aspects owning a Labrador, through daily care, to health and training at each stage of their life.

The Labrador Handbook is available worldwide.



  1. Hey Pippa! Loved your article. I have a Labrador that is 7 years old and don’t know how to sign him up for a breeding program. He is a pedigree yellow labador and is looking to mate. How do I start in order to find him a mate?

  2. I have just brought a chocolate lab puppy into my life. He is 12 weeks old .He has according to his pedigree papers 11 champion blood lines.
    I am learning the ropes on breeding / stud service and would like input from any experienced breeders. I only want, ( in the future ), is a male puppy.

  3. I’m looking for a stud dog Labrador Retriever purebred for my six year old purebred retriever. We’re in Kansas City would you have any recommendations?

    • Karen sorry to say your bitch has aged out. They should be bred from ages 2-5 then retire so that it’s not too hard on them. Don’t forget there dogs age is each year x 7. So your dog is 42 in human years.

  4. In the US, OFA would not certify hips and elbows until age 2. Also, a check for STDs in both stud and bitch. The last thing you want is for them to get an SD from a partner. You didn’t mention the cost of AI, either. Yes, it’s not casual sex. Sometimes one may not be cooperative.

  5. There is also the potential affect on temperament. I was told by my breeder it can change their character significantly. This doesn’t always happen but wasn’t something I was prepared to risk with my boy.

  6. Pippa great article, very imformative; I Think not only check hips etc, but also i think their genes should be checked. I had to have all my pedigree rams, geno checked, not expensive; so did not pass on inherited problems. If Kennel Club got any “balls”, they should make every stud dog, what ever their breed , have their genes checked. This should remove gentic problems from breeds.