Articles Index/Breeding
Revised 01/30/99


We love our dogs and it is human nature to consider breeding them. Unfortunately, it is also human nature to think that it would be "fun" to produce a litter, or that a bitch should have at least one litter before being spayed. Or, that the kids will benefit from the experience. Or, worse yet, that they can breed and sell the puppies for some $$$. And, this is typically with little thought to the welfare of the puppies, to doing the homework necessary for a properly planned breeding, to evaluating and testing the bitch, to raising the puppies, to screening potential buyers. And, sadly the process repeats itself. One badly bred litter can have disastrous effects on the breed; while a carefully bred litter can improve the breed for years to come.

Only those who have done their homework should attempt to breed. They will be sure they have a suitable bitch, have studied the pedigree and know all the dogs represented therein, have determined and arranged for an appropriate stud dog for their bitch (even if this means shipping great distance), have become knowledgeable about the breed's genetic tendencies and performed appropriate testing, have the time and money for the inevitable problems in whelping and raising a litter. Knowing a good vet is not the sole answer in this enormous undertaking. Vets are not there to deliver puppies; that is the breeder's job. You might end up at the vet's office for a C section but that presumes you know when one is needed before it is too late and the puppies, bitch, or both, die. It happens!

It is not the point here to say no one should breed. Rather, it is to call attention to the considerations involved. Also, realize that you do have a chance of losing your bitch during a pregnancy.

Such loss is devastating; and you may be faced with caring for up to six or seven puppies. This means feeding every two hours around the clock. Also, since newborns do not go "potty" by themselves, you will have to stimulate them to do that and then clean up after them. Caring for a motherless litter could be the most stressful, tiring time of your life!

Raising a litter is not just sitting around playing with fat, happy little fur balls, who leave home at two to four months, leaving you with a happy mother and no cause for stress. When all goes well, it is wonderful and rewarding, but it can also be a hard, and potentially gut-wrenching, experience from start to finish. When problems occur, it takes a special emotional makeup to survive and ever want to do it again.

If you decide to breed, do it right! Do your homework. You may even decide that your present bitch is not right to breed. Rarely is your first dog or bitch great breeding quality. (Getting the great dog depends a lot on paying your dues and making breeder contacts. A most promising puppy is seldom available to a stranger.) The future may find you showing a new dog or dogs -- perhaps so good that newcomers come to you for advice. We all have to start as novices and only a few are lucky enough to achieve great success in breeding and showing. There are three choices: Do it right, do it wrong, or don't do it at all. Make the correct choice for you and the breed.

ANTIC, December, 1998
Ed Plummer


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