Why You Should Think Twice Before Breeding Puppies

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However tempting it is to breed a litter of your own, here are some things you might not have considered.

Disclaimer: This article is not directed at reputable breeders, rather it is directed at “backyard breeders” and those with lacking experience.

Backyard breeding is irresponsible and negligent at best.

We don’t need more (unstable) dogs

Millions of dogs are killed annually in the US, either because nobody wants them or they are labeled “behavior problems”. And guess what, many of those behavior problems stem from exactly what you’re contemplating: having your own litter without the proper experience to handle it.

Yes, you might be inexperienced

I personally know people wanting to breed their very first dog. Simple math tells us that the probability of being ready for that kind of responsibility without having owned any prior dogs is very, very low. And even if you have owned many dogs, that doesn’t automatically qualify you as a breeder.

You know little or nothing about dog behavior

If your “go to” response in a behavioral situation is to say “that it’s probably dominance related”, you’re in trouble. People who tend to explain behavior with dominance usually show that they know little or nothing about current scientific findings of neither wolf nor dog behavior.

If this sounds like you, here’s some reading to get you up to speed.

Don’t believe without proof. Believing someone “just because they said so”, is not a good reason, not even if that person is widely popular.

Always ask questions. How do you know that? Can you back up that claim? Making an assertion without backing it up (or backing it up with outdated research) is a fallacy. And you shouldn’t let yourself be fooled into believing it.

No matter the source, never limit yourself to only one. Before something is accepted in science it must be peer-reviewed and verified by multiple, independent sources.

If you’re going to read, keep your main focus on newer stuff. Don’t stop after you’ve read an old book from the 70s. The likelihood of us having learned more since then is high.

Who will you give/sell the dogs to?

Finding suitable homes might not be as easy as you think, especially if the dog you’re breeding is of what some might characterize a more “intimidating” kind.

Rotties, Mastiffs and Pitt Bulls etc unfortunately tend to attract less desirable people, then if for example you were breeding Golden Retrievers. These people can be more interested in having a dog that looks “cool and intimidating”, rather than giving the dog proper care. That’s not to say that both can’t be done, but again using simple math, the probability is lower for these breeds.

A dog such as this of course also attracts caring, respectable people. And in the right hands, these dogs make excellent family members.

If this is your first dog (or one of your first), how aware are you of individual diversity?

Even if your own dog has been very easy going, there is still a chance some of the offspring will have bigger behavioral issues. And do you really want to be indirectly irresponsible for a) selling/giving a pup to the wrong person, and b) have that person dump the dog at a shelter when they can’t take it anymore?

Your ability to do the right things during the early stages of puppyhood both for the mother and offspring will have a grave impact on how things turn out later.

How much research have you done on this? And have you only gotten your research from one place, or have you taken the time to verify it elsewhere? We are after all talking about putting multiple lives in your hands, so you better get it right.

Consider the parents

Breeding unstable dogs is a recipe for disaster. In addition, it’s vital that both parents get a complete medical checkup to determine whether anything is wrong with them, and if it is, don’t breed them! It is also important to look at the lineage of each dog. Did their parents have any behavior or physical problems? What about their grandparents?

Simply breeding with your friends dog, or the dog next door, is highly irresponsible.

Do you have the time?

What about your job? How do you plan to care for the puppies? Are you prepared for the possibility that you might not be able to sell them all at 8 weeks? What if you end up getting stuck with some of them for months? What will you do then? Think about it.

Do you disagree with me? Or do you have anything to add? Leave a comment below.

Author: Stian Karlsen

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