The decision to breed your dog is not one that should be made lightly. There are crucial questions you should answer before deciding whether your dog has the potential to be a great stud or dam. The idea is that each dog breeding should be done if it brings something on to the table.
Why Are You Breeding Your Dog?
Breeders generally breed their dog for two reasons. If they want a pup for themselves, or if they want to improve their bloodline or the overall breed by introducing a stud or bitch into their lineage that will bring several health, look and purpose-focused improvements.
So many times I’ve heard people say they’re breeding their dog because the pups would be “adorable” and this, in my opinion, is ridiculous. If you want another dog, go to a decent breeder or rescue one. Don’t put your bitch through pregnancy just because you think she’d have cute pups. It’s unfair and unethical.
If you are breeding your dog for money, don’t. Your dog is not a commodity to be used for you to line your pockets or your wallet. It is a living, breathing creature, not an object to be sold.
Do You Have The Knowledge To Breed Your Dog?
Dog breeding takes a lot of work, research and knowledge. Ethical and responsible breeders will have worked with a mentor who would have taught them about breeding dogs and helped them through breeding their first litter. They will have also done hours of research and known all the proper information needed before even deciding to mate their dog.
There are many good books about dog breeding and Facebook is a good place to get talking to responsible breeders who will point you in the right direction. We recommend starting with our bestselling ebook, The Dog Breeder’s Handbook, for a comprehensive source of information about all facets of dog breeding.
Is Your Dog Old Enough To Be Bred?
Most breeds of dog should not be bred until they are at least 2 years old. However there are some breeds where it is recommended to wait until the dog is 3 before breeding, letting your bitch have a couple of blank heat cycles. We’ve also written an article listing and explaining all the abnormal heat cycles, it is worth the read.
On the same line, you don’t want to breed your bitch to a male if she is too old. Pregnancy is extremely draining, a senior female dog might not be able to cope with it perfectly. It can increase the risk of medical complications, and the worst can then be expected.
Is Your Dog Fit To Be Bred?
It is all well and good saying that your dog is healthy following a basic health check at the vets. However, good, ethical and responsible breeders will health test their dogs to ensure that there are no genetic disorders that can be passed on to the pups.
You want to be sure that the pups you are breeding are healthy and will live a long, happy life. There are so many pups nowadays who spend most of their life at the vets because their breeder didn’t care enough to health test and was only interested in the money.
Hip scores, eye tests, heart checks, DNA tests and a lot of other ones are recommended for certain breeds of dog. You can find a list of the health tests required for your breed on the website of the breed club or through the Kennel Club website.
Can You Afford To Breed Your Dog?
So many people believe that breeding your dog is cheap and easy. That it’s just a case of mating the dogs, waiting 9 weeks and you then have a litter of cute pups to sell. What they do not realise is that complications can and do arise.
Your dog will need to see a vet throughout her pregnancy to ensure that she’s healthy and the pups are growing properly. This will include scans, checks and the bills will add up. You also need to have money set aside for complications during whelping. A c-section will set you back more than two thousand pounds. The last thing you want is for your bitch and the pups to suffer because you can’t afford the vet treatment.
Could You Take Each Puppy Back?
If something happened and one of the pups you bred had to be rehomed, could you take him back? Could you take most of them back?
Ethical breeders will do everything in their power to ensure that dogs they’ve bred don’t end up in a rescue centre. Should anything happen and the family cannot keep the pup, they will take it back and either keep him or find him a good home.
So many dogs are in rescue these days thanks to irresponsible breeders who are only after money and don’t care about the dogs they breed.
The bottom line is, breeding your dog is not something you should enter into lightly. It is a big responsibility and you want to make sure you are doing the best for your dog. Ensuring that you have all the right information is critical so make sure that when you are choosing your mentor, you are getting advice from someone who actually knows what they are doing.
If the answers to the questions above indicate that you shouldn’t breed your dog, just enjoy spending time with your dog and playing with him.