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  How to get started as a dog breeder

 

Are you looking for a stud for your female? Or a female for your male? Maybe you are just looking to breed your dog once. Or perhaps you are considering making a hobby or even a business of it? It doesn't really matter because the first steps will be exactly the same.

The first step is to decide what kind of breeder you want to be. A breeder can make the decision to exercise every effort to produce healthy dogs and protect them from ever being abandoned in shelters. A breeder might decide that dogs are just a form of livestock to be bred for the greatest income. A breeder might decide to just let nature take its course and learn lessons by experience. A breeder might not decide anything because they never get enough information to actually make a decision. Once you have decided what kind of breeder you want to be (I hope it is a responsible caring breeder) then you can work on what it takes to achieve that goal.

Do you have enough information to be the kind of breeder you want to be? Knowing the answers will help you avoid making some heartbreaking errors, ones that can kill your dog or the puppies. That the dog you know is wonderful is great, but it is not enough. Half of your dog's genetic material is hidden from you. And the dog you will be pairing with has a hidden half too. The way that good breeders deal with those hidden halfs is by having lots of information. To do a good job of breeding you need to understand why it is that your perfectly healthy, wonderful dog can produce crippled puppies, or those with surprisingly bad temperaments. To make sure the puppies you produce live long and healthy lives you need to understand why so many placements fail (65%) and what it is that you can do to improve the odds for your puppies.

Let's say, for example, that you are a dog lover and what you want is to make sure that nothing you do hurts dogs. Let us suppose that your goal is that the puppies that are produced have the best possible chance of being healthy and free of serious genetic problems, and that will live long, healthy, happy lives. Let us suppose that in a contest between making money and making a decision for the benefit of dogs you will choose to benefit dogs. Let us suppose that above all else you want people to come away impressed with how obvious it is that you truly care about dogs because of all the effort you used to do things right. Now how do you attain that heady goal?

Here are a couple books to get you started:
"Successful Dog Breeding " by Walkowicz and Wilcox
"Canine Reproduction: A Breeder's Guide " by Phyllis Holst, DVM.
"Dogs and How to Breed Them" by Hilary Hamar

If you don't understand genetics you can't make good decisions. You need knowledge to make good decisions. Try these two books:
"Genetics for Dog Breeders" by Malcolm Willis
Control Of Canine Genetic Diseases by George Padgett

Whoa! I can hear you thinking. I'm not trying to breed fancy schmancy show dogs! Nope, just healthy ones, right? And ones that will meet the expectations of whoever takes the puppy home? After all being unprepared to meet the needs of the pup is one of the top reasons they land in the pound - too barky, too much grooming, too active, not active enough, nippy, ruled by its nose etc etc - all perfectly normal good dogs that landed in a home that wasn't prepared for what they got. Make sure you really know how to predict the qualities of puppies so they can keep their homes. Those books will tell you how to produce healthy pups with predictable qualities.

Do you have the knowledge, ability and willingness to provide guidence and support to those who take the puppies home? That is very likely to be the difference between life and death for those puppies. They need active caring and assistance from the breeder in getting through the rough spots. Without it more young dogs are abandoned in shelters and die there.

Before breeding learn what you need to so you can become the kind of breeder you want. Here is my web page where you can explore the qualities of the responsible breeder. http://www.dogplay.com/Breeding/ethics.html. Loving a dog, and loving a breed, is reflected in what you do to benefit and protect the dog and the breed.

    

Additional Resources:
Articles on dog breeding issues and related topics.
Books and videos on breeding and genetics from Dogwise.

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Copyright © 2000-2003, Diane Blackman    Created: January 18, 2000    Updated November 12, 2007

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