A surprising number of the guests we have in our dog training facility discuss keeping their dogs intact (not spaying or neutering) for the possibility of breeding them in the future.
I’d like to hopefully help everyone understand why so many people think that they should breed their pet dogs as well as why the reasons are flawed and why breeding your pet dog can be more detrimental than you would think.
Why do so many pet dog owners want to breed their dogs?
“He’s just the cutest!” - While everyone thinks that their dog is the cutest dog in the world and none of them are wrong, this is still not a good reason to breed your dog. Even though your dog may be a good looking animal, it doesn’t mean that your dog has the best qualities in other areas of health, temperament, and genetics. Behavior should play a major role in a decision to breed a dog, not just looks.
“I’ve heard its good for females to have at least one litter before they are spayed” - This is a complete myth! There is no physical or mental health benefit for female dogs to have a litter of puppies before they are spayed.
“I want to have a puppy just like her!” - First of all, there is no guarantee that any of the puppies will be just like either of the parents because they get traits from both parents. Additionally, while you may only want one of the puppies, what happens to the rest of the puppies?
“I want to become a breeder, gotta start somewhere.” - If you want to become a professional breeder, that’s great! However, breeding dogs should not be learned through trial and error. The best way to learn and get involved in professionally breeding dogs is to work with a reputable breeder in your area and learn everything that goes into a high quality breeding program.
Here would be some good reasons to breed your dog:
Breeding rights contract - A breeding rights contract is usually something that the breeder from which you purchased your dog where they maintain the right to use your dog in their breeding program once the dog is old enough. However, this contract almost always excludes you from using this dog for breeding outside of your breeder’s program without explicit permission from the originating breeder.
Exemplifies the beed standard, temperament, and health - High quality and reputable breeding programs have the sole purpose of improving the overall quality of the breed to include health, temperament, mental stability and balance, and genetics. The reason why puppies from quality breeders are so expensive is because breeders should be ensuring that all breeding pairs are health and genetically tested to ensure health and long living off-spring.
Purpose-Bred Dogs - Purpose-bred dogs are bred with a very specific intended purpose. Breeding pairs are selected based on health, structure, and temperament to perform certain tasks or jobs such as service dog work, police and military working dogs, sport dogs, herding dogs, ratting dogs, hunting dogs, and countless others. Quality breeders develop dogs specifically for a purpose.
What is so bad about breeding my pet dog?
If you decided that you want your dog to have puppies, let’s look at what happens next. Now you are looking at dealing with whelping, caring for, and developing an average of six to ten puppies for the next eight weeks.
Raising puppies includes keeping their whelping area clean and lined with fresh linens. It also means keeping the puppies and momma clean. Meanwhile you have to make sure that the mom is getting all of the correct nutrients and vitamins to be keeping herself and her puppies healthy.
If the mom dies during delivery or decides to reject the puppies, it is now your responsibility to bottle feed the puppies every couple hours and keep them warm and clean for at least eight weeks.
You also will be responsible for taking the puppies for their initial veterinary check up, puppy vaccination series (three veterinary visits), and deworming. If the breeding pair are registered purebreds of the same breed, you will need to register the puppies with AKC.
Puppies also need to have specific exposure to the world at certain points in their puppy development. Taking them out into the world too earlier can have detrimental effects on their mental and physical health, but sheltering them from the world for too long into their puppy development can also have adverse effects, both of which can persist through the rest of the dog’s life.
Now you also need to find new homes for these puppies. You may decide to keep one, and that may even be the reason you wanted puppies in the first place, but now you may have nine or ten puppies to contend with. That means finding, meeting, and coordinating with enough people to find quality homes for the other puppies that you aren’t deciding to keep. You will likely ask for a rehoming fee for the puppies to cover the costs of their vaccinations and deworming, but you'll find that a rehoming fee for the puppies will barely cover the costs and hours of labor that goes into properly raising puppies.
So, if you still think that you want your pet dog to have puppies, I urge you to talk with a reputable breeder about what it actually takes to breed and raise healthy, happy, and quality puppies.
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