To breed or not to breed?
Important considerations when deciding to breed your dog
Breeding your dog can be an exciting and wonderful experience, and there is nothing quite like raising and playing with gorgeous, healthy puppies! But before you start, we want to help make sure that breeding is right for you. There are many considerations that are often unexpected by those wishing to breed their dogs. The following questions are meant to help kick off a reflection of why you want to breed and what may be involved in the process from start to finish.
- What is your goal for breeding?
o Business – Are you familiar with the public demand for the chosen breed of dog? Is it increasing, decreasing, or constantly changing? This will determine how easy or hard it is to sell the puppies
o Experience the cycle of life – breeding can be a long and stressful process from start to finish; much more is involved than just the birth and getting the puppies at the end
o Have a new pet – have you looked at buying or adopting an already living dog?
- What is your financial situation?
o Costs may likely include
§ registering with kennel clubs
§ searching for an appropriate mate
§ increased food intake (and buying the correct type of food) for mum during pregnancy and milk-feeding, and puppy food for the pups as they are weaned off their mum
§ vaccination, worming and flea control for mum and pups
§ living quarters – whelping box, space for the puppies, bedding, heating, cleaning
§ veterinary examinations may include – regular health checks, hip and/or elbow scoring (using X-Rays), investigating problems conceiving, pregnancy confirmation, artificial insemination, managing complications (medical or surgical, see below)
§ extended care for puppies (food, vaccinations, microchipping, obedience training) if homes are not found in expected time frames
- What is your level of experience?
o Have you been involved in breeding before?
o Have you researched information about breeding dogs, or spoken to your veterinarian?
o Have you cared for newborn puppies before? They can be very vulnerable and a lot of work
- How familiar are you with the dog birth process?
o It is messy and stressful; often it will occur at night
o Do you know what is normal? Are you able to identify when there may be a problem and if veterinary assistance may be required?
- Are you prepared for managing complications (and associated costs)
o During pregnancy –infection of the uterus, embryo death, abortion
o During birth – dystocia (difficult birth) requires emergency veterinary intervention and possibly c-section
o After the birth – infection of the breasts or uterus
- What is your plan for the puppies?
o Selling them, keeping some, continued breeding program?
o There is an overpopulation of dogs – there are more dogs than there are homes for them; millions are euthanised in shelters every year
o Are you prepared to continue to care for the puppies if homes are not found in expected time frames?
- Are you familiar with specific issues for the breed?
o Genetic diseases
o Common problematic conditions
o Choosing the right parents will be very important