Responsible Dog Breeding
Anyone who wants to be a dog breeder and who wishes to be regarded as a RESPONSIBLE breeder should consider a number of questions:
1. The first, and most important is: Am I prepared to accept responsibility for all the dogs that I breed for the rest of our lives if necessary?
That implies being willing and able to take back any dog if:
- a new home and/or owner turn out to be unsuitable for whatever reason or if the owner proves to be unable to cope with the dog;
- at some stage an owner is unable to keep the dog any longer due to death, illness, divorce or any other cause;
- some congenital or genetic condition manifests with which the owner is unable or unwilling to cope.
2. Am I financially able to be a responsible breeder, even in the case of unforeseen circumstances arising?
Most responsible breeders seldom make much, if any, money from breeding. Providing proper accommodation and high-quality food for the bitch (both when in whelp and while nursing) and the pups is essential but definitely not cheap. Puppies should not leave home until at least eight weeks old and pups of this age normally have very healthy appetites, eating substantial (and expensive) meals four times a day. Deworming, inoculations, microchips, registration, etc all cost money. In addition, all sorts of emergencies or mishaps may occur: miscarriage, caesarean section, still-born or malformed pups, illness of the dam or puppies, death of the dam, mastitis or other feeding problems. These are just a few.
3. Do I have the time?
Careful around the clock supervision is necessary. This might mean curtailment of recreational activities for two months or longer and weekends away are simply not possible. Cleaning up after a litter of puppies is also quite time consuming. Most important of all is the need to spend ample time handling and interacting with the pups, especially after three weeks of age, to ensure that they receive the early socialisation required to develop into balanced, steady and easy-to-live-with dogs.
4. Do I have suitable facilities?
The bitch should NOT be left to whelp on a piece of cardboard or an old sack in the corner of the garage or the outside loo! The whelping room/area must be hygienic and easy to clean, draft free, quiet and have a heat source such as under-floor heating, a panel heater or an infrared lamp. A suitable whelping box must be provided and the room should ideally have direct access to an outside run.
5. Am I sure that all the pups can be placed in suitable homes?
Preferably one should not breed without having a confirmed waiting list of at least 4-6 prospective owners. The breeder must be prepared to keep, feed and socialise any pups not sold by eight weeks of age. All breed clubs have experience of frantic members who thought of making a few bucks over Christmas, only to find that there are no prospective buyers at that time …..
Responsible Dog Breeding
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