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How to Breed Dogs
So you have a great dog. You love puppies (and who doesn't). Why not have a bunch of puppies just like your dog? You start asking: Should I breed my dog?
The likely short answer: Absolutely not.
It may seem fun and sort of easy, and maybe you could even make some money off the pups, right? Wrong. Chances are, it will cost you a great deal in vet bills, and once the puppies arrive, it will completely consume your time.
The only reason to breed two dogs together is to "better the breed." This means that both parents are health tested to ensure they are not carriers of genetic diseases; that they are registered with a respectable kennel club and have championship titles; and that their breeders are active in a breed club, breed rescue, or a similar arena. And, believe it or not, homes should be secured before the pups are even conceived.
Disregarding these precautions can be dangerous to the dogs and ultimately very costly in time and money.
But I Love My Dog!
So do I! This is all the more reason not to breed. If you have a bitch, she will be in great danger during the pregnancy and labor. Some breeds of dogs always require a C-section to deliver, and it is traumatic for any dog to give birth. Do you want to unnecessarily traumatize your dog? Probably not.
And, if you love your dog, that means you have compassion for other living beings. So consider this. By breeding your dog, you are adding to the problem of pet overpopulation in the world. Do you have seven homes lined up for the puppies your dog will produce? Even if all your puppies find homes, you're just taking that many homes away from other dogs. Make sense?
Shocking Truth About Overpopulation
Questions to Ask
Still convinced that you need to breed your dog? Well, of course it's up to you, but there are a bunch of questions that you should ask yourself before you continue down this path. You always want to make sure that you're not getting in over your head, right?
Questions to ask about your dog:
- Does your dog hold championship titles (aka Best in Breed, etc) from the United, American, or Canadian Kennel Clubs?
- Is your dog active in breed-appropriate sports and activities such as herding, agility, water dog competitions, and retrieving?
- Has your dog been recently tested for diseases common in the breed so that s/he does not pass it on (and therefore have OFA Certification and whatnot)?
- Does your dog conform to breed standards (height, weight, brow slope, ear setting and size, depth of chest, and other pertinent standards)?
Questions to ask about yourself:
- Do you have homes for each of the potential pups? Did you carefully screen these homes to ensure that they are appropriate and safe? Did you have the families sign adoption contracts?
- Do you have enough money to pay for the vetting of the bitch while she is pregnant? To vet and vaccinate the puppies during the first 8-10 weeks of their lives? To cover any emergency surgeries or other expenses that could crop up during or after the pregnancy and birth?
- Do you know how to whelp and eventually wean puppies (and when to do so)?
- Do you have the ability to put in your adoption contract that if, for any reason, the puppies' families must give them up (for the rest of their lives), you will take the dog back and keep it or try to rehome it?
- Are you knowledgeable about the breed, including special training requirements and tips? A good breeder must become a valuable resource to the families to whom they adopt.
This is just the beginning of the complex list of questions that you will need to consider before responsibly breeding your dog. For an excellent website about breeding, check out LearntoBreed.com.
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Benefits of Spay/Neuter
If you still want to breed your dog and feel that you can do it in good conscience, then go ahead. At least you are informed.
If you've changed your mind or might change your mind, then your next step is to spay or neuter your dog. Fixing a dog is not just an easy way to prevent unwanted pregnancies; it has overwhelming health and behavioral benefits for the dog!
Male dogs become more bonded to their families when they have no concern with finding a mate (unfixed dogs can be worse than teenaged boys when it comes to thinking about girls!), and there's less chance that he will run away to find one. It also, of course, eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and drastically will reduce the incidents of unwanted humping and "marking of territory." Neutered dogs are also much less aggressive and more likely to get along with other dogs; they're therefore much less likely to get in a fight and become injured.
Female dogs who are spayed do not have to endure heats (the dog version of the menstrual cycle), and their owners don't either. They are also less likely to run away in search of a mate. Spayed females tend to be less aggressive and territorial than their unfixed counterparts. Then, of course, there's the avoidance of unwanted pregnancies and the drastically decreased risk of breast cancer and the eliminated risk of ovarian or uterine cancer. Additionally, pyometria can come on suddenly in unspayed females and will easily kill even an otherwise healthy dog.
For a more detailed outline of the benefits of fixing your dog, please look at this website. It's a safe, easy procedure that does not have to cost much at all and could save you a lot in the long-run. And with organizations like Spay USA and Friends of Animals, there are affordable spay/neuter programs for everyone!