Veazie Veterinary Clinic
1522 State Street, Veazie, ME
(207) 941-8840

Responsible Breeding

responsible breedingResponsible breeding of dogs can take a lot of time and effort. The reason to breed is to advance the breed by passing along a dog’s excellent qualities compared to the standard. The parent dogs should be healthy and have a good disposition.

Preparing for Breeding

The decision to breed your dog starts when you first obtain the dog as a puppy.  Since there are some advantages to spaying or neutering during the first year of life, it is important to consider your options as early as possible. Start your discussion with your veterinarian during the puppy visits.

Responsible Breeding

The motto of responsible breeders of purebred dogs is “breed to improve”.

  • Study the breed standard and go to dog shows.
  • Meet with other breeders so that you have a good understanding of what features to look for.
  • Breed standards are not just about achieving a certain “look”.
  • For most breeds the “look” is derived from features found in healthy dogs.
  • For example, the gait is very important in many breeds.  If a dog has hip dysplasia, the gait may be altered, so having a good gait is one indicator of healthy hips.

When you know what to look for, examine your dog with a critical eye. 

  • Ask other breeders to help you, since it can be hard to find faults in your own beloved dog!
  • Be honest about the dog’s temperament.  A dog that is shy or fearful with strangers may not be worth breeding, even if it is the best dog in the world at home.
  • This information will help you to decide not only whether to breed, but also which dog to breed to if you do move forward.
  • You will want to choose a mate that has strengths where your dog has weaknesses in order to “breed to improve”.

Making the Commitment

Responsible breeding requires a commitment to pre-breeding testing, care of the pregnant mom, dealing with possible complications during birth, and an intensive, eight-week period of puppy care.  While it might seem that nothing is more natural than allowing dogs to breed, in fact there are many ways in which complications may arise.  Many breeds have reproductive problems, such as infertility or an inability to deliver puppies naturally.  Breeders need to be emotionally and financially prepared to deal with these issues should they arise.

After whelping, most breeders have a person awake with the new mother and her pups around the clock for at least the first several days.  Even once everyone is settled in, there is enough clean-up and monitoring to make it a full-time job!  As the puppies grow, they need socialization and training to give them a good start.

And when it comes time for them to go to their new homes, a responsible breeder spends considerable time interviewing and selecting the new families with care.  Most breeders prepare a contract with the buyers, including a clause stating that if the new owner cannot care for the dog, the dog is to be returned to the breeder for placement.  In the end, breeding dogs is full of rewards, but rarely results in financial gain.

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