So you want to breed your dog?
There’s a lot more to consider when breeding a dog. What is the reason you want to breed? Responsible breeders carefully study bloodlines, health, temperament and working ability and then only breed to contribute positively to their chosen breed of dog. This means they are producing pups that will add positively to the breed as a whole, and be a good example of what that breed should be. This is the reason that dogs have a pedigree with papers – to keep track of the bloodlines and know exactly what to expect when a mating is done, based on the breeding of each dog.
Have a purebred dog? How do you know? Can you prove it? If your dog doesn’t have papers then I’m sorry, I’m afraid you can’t guarantee it. And even if it is, without papers to show it, you don’t know what other dogs are in the lines, what their temperament is like, what their health is like. Puppies don’t just inherit traits from the mother and father, but from any number of dogs from along the line of the mother and father.
You may have a lovely dog with a great nature, and you want another one just like it. Is breeding the way to go? As mentioned, you don’t know what other traits your pups could inherit, some not showing up until later in life. And don’t forget, you won’t just get one puppy out of a mating, but several. You might be giving one a home, what about the six or so others?
Maybe you want your kids or yourself to experience the miracle of birth? You could also be setting them up to experience the bitche’s painful death, deformed puppies, aggression from the mother, her screaming, stillborn puppies. Or they could miss it all together because it could happen at 3 am. Or she could need an emergency caesarean and need to be cut open on the vet’s table.
Do you have a suitable place for the whelping? It needs to be safe and warm and dry, and away from other dogs. They can’t be left outside to fend for themselves. There will be a lot of mess and a lot of cleaning to do from birth and for the following 8 weeks minimum.
Maybe you have heaps of neighbours and friends that would love a puppy from your dog. So you are sure they will all find homes, right? You’d be surprised how many of these people suddenly change their minds when the puppies come. What will you do with them if you can’t find homes for them all? What if someone buys a puppy from you and then that puppy gets an inherited disease? What if they can’t keep the dog anymore, a responsible breeder would take the adult dog back and responsibly rehome it, however long it took – would you?
Maybe you want to breed to make money. You might have seen some dogs sell for hundreds of dollars. How much do you think it costs to raise one? You need to consider the cost of vet checks for the mother, a whelping box, health tests, vaccinations, worming, food, microchipping. And then there are the unexpected costs which come up more often than you might think – emergency caesareans (thousands of dollars, do you have that spare?), feeding the puppies every two hours if the mother can’t and buying their special formula. Then there is the cost of your time. Be prepared to miss work and be up late nights. You may not realise that the costs of breeding usually outweigh the profit and most responsible breeders are not making a profit at all but are breeding as a hobby, barely covering their costs.
Where will your puppies end up? You are responsible for the lives you bring into the world. How would you feel if you found out that these puppies were abused, dumped, or destroyed at the pound? How would you feel to be adding to the hundreds of thousands of dogs euthanized every year because they don’t have homes, because too many people are carelessly and thoughtlessly breeding?
What about health? A vet check does not screen for hereditary conditions. There are joint conditions that need expensive x-rays to see. This needs to be done with the mother and the father. Then each breed has its own hereditary problems to check for. Each costing a considerable amount of money. Some are very painful or fatal to affected offspring. The parents can carry these diseases without showing signs, and then affect the puppies. Again, you are responsible for this.
Cross breeding does not avoid these problems. Contrary to popular belief, cross breeds are not healthier than purebreds and can inherit many of the same conditions that purebreds do. The thing about purebreds are, breeders know the diseases that affect their breed and health tests have been developed to help eliminate the problem.
Socialisation. A puppy has a critical period of development from 3 to 14 weeks of age. That means that socialisation needs to start at the home of the breeder. Do you have a couple of hours a day to make sure your puppies are cared for and socialised? This is critical. Many people think they have adopted a dog or puppy that is fearful because if has been beaten or abused. In actual fact, most of these dogs are fearful because they have missed out on proper socialisation. They are scared all the time. How would you feel if you sent a dog into the world who is fearful of everything? Again, you are responsible for their lives.
If you want another dog, why not adopt from a shelter or rescue group where many great dogs are waiting for homes. If you want a puppy and are after something in particular, please leave breeding to the experts who have the necessary resources and wisdom needed to breed properly. When choosing a breeder, choose someone who is experienced, ethical, reputable and registered.
Poor breeding affects negatively on behaviour, health and temperament. There really is a lot more to it than putting a male and female together. Anyone can do that. Please leave breeding to responsible ethical breeders. There are too many poorly bred dogs in the world from people who bred for the wrong reasons. I realise you have good intentions only, but please for the sake of your dog and many others, think about the reasons not to breed and do the responsible thing.
Preventing a mating can be a challenge. The easiest prevention is to have your pets desexed.
Breeding is NOT as easy as it looks. Lack of experience can risk the life of your dog. Be prepared for anything that could happen; ask yourself: "How can I handle things if they go wrong? Is it worth it?" Most breeders do not simply follow textbook instructions when whelping a litter because whelping correctly requires experience. There is no money to be found in breeding the right way; it is a hobby and usually costs money rather than makes money. Breeding is not a careless affair, it is so much more than bringing bitch and stud together during a heat cycle. Please think it over carefully as if you breed you are more then most likely adding to the already overpopulation of unwanted dogs in shelters and pounds who die every year.
Why You Should Not Breed You Dog