• Intact females are at risk for life threatening infections of the uterus (pyometra.)
  • Bitches that have gone through multiple heat cycles have a higher risk of developing
    mammary cancer later in their life.
  • Intact males are more prone to prostate problems.
  • Intact males are at a higher risk of being hit by a car due to their desire to roam.
  • Intact males have higher aggressive tendencies and more behavioral problems.
To Breed or Not to Breed ?
So, you're considering  breeding your dog.  Are you sure you are prepared and have
what it takes to be a responsible breeder?  Consider the following questions.
  • Do you have a copy of the written breed standard and thoroughly understand it?
  • Do you know what genetic problems are prevalent within this breed?
  • Have both dogs been tested clear of the breed specific genetic disorders (hips, elbows,
    eyes, heart, thyroid, bleeding disorders)?  These tests will vary between breeds.
  • Has your dog been evaluated by a "breed expert"?  This would be a judge or someone who
    has bred and shown multiple dogs to their championship.  This would NOT be the owner
    or breeder of the dog (who would have biased opinions) or someone who has just owned or
    bred several dogs.  Has your dog been able to obtain it's championship and other working
    titles pertinent to the breed?
  • Do you know your dog's strengths and weaknesses? Do you know the strengths and
    weaknesses of the potential mate?
  • Does the mate compliment your dog (having strengths where your dog is weak)?
Are you financially prepared for the veterinary expenses for this endeavor?
  • Have both dogs been tested for Brucellosis?  This is an infection that causes abortion,
    reproductive infections, and sterility.
  • Has a breeding soundness exam been done on both dogs?  It's best to have this done
    by a reproductive specialist.  Strictures in either the male or female will cause severe
    pain if breeding is attempted or inability to deliver.
  • An emergency caesarian can run up to or over $1000 and the bitch and/or puppies
    can still be lost.
  • Plan also in case the bitch or puppies become sick.  Mastitis in the dam, and herpes
    infections of newborns, are not uncommon.  You may need to take 3 weeks off work
    to care for the dam and/or the litter.
  • Both the new mother and puppies should have a wellness examination soon after
    birth.  Puppies with congenital disorders (cleft palates, hernias, etc.) will need to be
    treated or euthanized.
  • At around 7 weeks, the puppies should have their first set of vaccines, a health
    check, an intestinal parasite exam, de-worming, and microchipping before they go to
    their new homes.
  • Do you expect to profit from breeding?  In the long run, you will likely be spending
    more money then you make from breeding and selling puppies responsibly.
Do you have plenty of time and resources available?
  • Some breeds (such as Bullmastiffs) can not be trusted to be alone with their
    puppies for the first three weeks, as they are likely to lay on and crush them.  This
    means they have to be attended to every 2-3 hours for nursing and will require very
    specific external heat sources.
  • Some dams do not produce milk or puppies can be too weak to nurse.  Are you able
    to tube feed puppies if needed?
  • Some dams to not have the natural instinct to clean their puppies.  Newborns need
    physical stimulation to eliminate.  This needs to be done after every feeding (every 2-
    3 hours).
  • Do you have a whelping room that has it's own heat source?  A whelping box?
  • Are all family members trained and responsible (old enough) to safely handle
  • A responsible breeder will spend time beginning the puppy's socialization and crate
  • It takes time and connections to find and screen potential new homes that will take
    good care of your puppies.
  • Are you prepared to educate the new owners on the specific needs of this breed
    (grooming, training, nutrition, etc.)?
  • Are you prepared to take back any of the puppies, at any time in their life, if things
    don't work out in their new home?  You (both the bitch and stud dog owner)
    brought these dogs into this world; you should be accountable that they don't end up
    in a shelter.
Have you also considered the risks to your dog, by not having it
spayed or neutered?
Will this breeding help or hinder the future of your particular breed?
Sandra Statter, DVM
Showdown Kennels