Really want to breed your dog?
BY Scotty Valadao – Canine Behaviour Consultant – TTouch Prac
I really cannot count the amount of times that I have heard the phrase ‘Oh, but I want her to just have one litter before we sterilize her”!
If you breed even one litter, by definition you are a breeder. BUT, what kind of breeder are you going to be?
Breeding is a profession, not a part time occupation to make a quick buck. Not to follow the rules, the breed standards etc, will only result in even more pups that are unwanted or that have physical, genetic and temperament problems – why bother – we cannot home all of them as is, and to add to the amount of dogs that end up in shelters is in my mind a criminal act! Sorry, but this an area I do feel very strongly about.
When I refer to breeders, I mean those that have only the dog’s and the breeds best interests at heart, have done all the necessary studying and research and are breeding for the love of the breed:- in other words a totally caring, ethical and responsible breeder whose first concern is the welfare of his/her dogs.
A bitch should never be bred until at least two years of age in the smaller breeds and between 3 to 3.5 years in the bigger breeds. Even then, a responsible breeder will only breed with the very best and rule out any dogs for breeding that have the potential for physical, genetic and temperament concerns. It is only as the dog reaches maturity that it can be fully established that the dog is of the quality to be bred from.
Another factor that really gets to me is that many owners want to breed at the very first time the dog comes into season. Not only is the dog both physically and emotionally not ready for a litter, to do so would be a bit like letting your teenager have a baby after her first menstrual cycle!
Breeding can also be a very expensive business and I do not believe there are many reputable breeders that make much of a profit, it is the back yard and puppy farmers that are totally ‘milking’ money away from the public with false promises and advertise their pups via the internet, deliver them to people’s home and place them in pet shops.
If you really do want to breed your dog – educate yourself. Speak to professional breeders, find out if your own dog is of a high enough quality and has all the necessary attributes and must be KUSA registered as well as the father. Speak to your vet and find out exactly what is involved :- the care of the mother, the whelping, the tests (with proof of same) to ensure the mother is free from all genetic disease etc.
In my professional capacity as a canine behaviourist, the dogs that keep me in business are those that are purchased from either backyard breeders, commercial breeders, pups sold a less than 8 weeks of age, pups where the temperament has not been taken into account etc. Not to be in business due to all breeders being responsible, would be an absolute pleasure!
I received the notes below many years ago while still studying and although they were put together in the USA, the same principles are applicable here in SA. Unfortunately I was never given the source, so please forgive me for this. If anybody does know where the notes below originated from, please let me know and I will gladly supply a link.
Information for People Who Want to Breed Dogs
Factors to Consider:
Will your dog contribute excellent health, temperament, working ability and conformity to the breed standard?
Do you understand that spaying and neutering will prevent some health problems (such as cancer) that you risk by keeping your dog intact?
Do you realize that a dog that has not been sterilized is more likely to have behaviour related concerns such as marking, wandering and aggression, to name just a few?
Are you aware of any and all health and temperament problems in your dog’s pedigree?
Are you willing to search for the best dog to breed your dog to, even if you have to travel out-of-state?
Do you have carefully screened buyers and deposits on all the puppies you produce?
Do you have money set aside in case the dam or puppies need emergency care?
Can you or another responsible adult be present 24 hours a day for the first 3 weeks in case hand feeding is needed?
Have you read about what to prepare and expect for canine pregnancy, whelping
and puppy rearing?
Are you willing to keep and properly socialize all of the puppies until good
homes are found?
Are you prepared to pay a professional to be puppy testing to ensure you match the pup to the correct home?
The puppy should not leave the dam until 8 weeks of age. Are you prepared to look after
The pups for this long?
Are you willing to take back any puppies in the event they are no longer wanted
By their new owners or there are problems?
Are you willing to serve as a lifetime resource for the buyers of your puppies and check up on their progress at least annually?
Are you prepared to ensure that the dam is completely free from all genetic problems relating to the breed and provide proof of same to potential buyers?
If you cannot answer YES to all the above, forget it, what we need is responsible breeders, not more backyard or puppy farm breeders. Either leave the job of breeding to the truly responsible breeders, or, if you are determined to become a breeder – do all the studying and investigating of the breed. Become an expert on your chosen breed – in other words – anything worth doing is only worthwhile if done properly!
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