The issue of whether or not you should breed from your dog is inextricably linked to the issue of spaying and neutering your pet. It is good practice for all dog owners to have their pet neutered unless you are specifically intending to breed from them, advice that it would be hoped all dog owners follow- but how can you decide if you should consider breeding from your dog or not, and if this is the right decision both for you and your pet, and the general canine population as a whole? Read on for some advice on making the right choice.
There is never any shortage of dogs and puppies needing a home within the UK, and our dog homes and animal shelters are literally always full of unwanted and abandoned dogs with no one to care for them. In the UK at present, supply significantly exceeds demand. That being said, the demand for high quality pedigree dogs of various breeds still exists, and some people have their heart set on owning a particular breed or type of dog and for them, nothing else will do. So breeding a popular, in demand pedigree dog is unlikely to contribute to the problem of increasing numbers of unwanted dogs in shelters, or present problems in finding good forever homes for the puppies, providing you do your research first.
Received wisdom used to state that a bitch should be allowed to have at least one litter of puppies before neutering. This opinion has more than a touch of anthropomorphism about it, as the neutered bitch does not have the same instincts and desire for a litter that the un-neutered bitch does, and so this argument really does not hold water.Similarly, a popularly trotted out opinion is that it's nice to breed from your dog simply so that you can witness the miracle of life and birth first hand. While being at the birth and seeing new born puppies grow and develop is undeniably an amazing experience, this should not come at the expense of the welfare of the dog and puppies, nor be considered as 'the thing to do' or a given for any dog owner. If you are desperately keen to witness the miracle of birth, you should also consider taking a tour of a dog re-homing centre first, so that you can see first hand the result of unnecessary breeding, and the miracle of some of humanity's lack of regard for the animals which we are responsible for.Even if you have a pedigree dog, breeding may not be appropriate for you if your dog is not considered to be a particularly good example of the breed, and especially if your dog carries the genes for any of a number of hereditary faults or conditions such as hip dysplasia, corneal dystrophy, epilepsy and others. You may need to pay out a significant amount of money in order to test your dog for potential inherited conditions common to their breed, with no way of recouping your investment via sale of the puppies if a problem is highlighted.
If you own a good standard pedigree dog in good health and with no known genetic defects, breeding from them will go some way to raising the breed standard in general within the UK and raising the sustainability and quality of the gene pool of that specific breed- assuming of course that you mate them with an equivalent standard of dog or bitch.In occasional circumstances, if you own a high quality non pedigree dog with a proven track record as a working animal or reasonable degree of success in competition such as agility or fly ball, you may find that any puppies produced will be equally in demand and again, go some way to raising the general standard and health of dogs in your local area and across the UK over time. Researching and finding out for sure that you will be able to sell or home any puppies which you produce is also vital to consider before going ahead. You should start advertising your prospective puppies before they are born, and start taking a measure of potential demand and interest in them before you mate your dog. If there is not sufficient interest and demand for your future puppies, it would be extremely unwise to proceed at that point.
Even if you are certain that any offspring produced from your dog will have a positive effect on the canine community and you will be able to sell or re-home them easily, are you sure that you have the time, money and commitment to make your breeding endeavour a success? Check out this list.
If you're still happy to go ahead, remember to learn about all of the different aspects of breeding and whelping thoroughly before you start, and of course ensure that you will be able to home all of the potential puppies produced. If you can, try to arrange to have a vet or experienced breeder on hand and willing to advise you if you need them. Most importantly, consider the welfare of your dog or bitch at all times and ensure that your final decision on whether or not to breed is based on what is best for your particular dog.