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Steven_L
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PostSubject: Breeding Dogs: Questions to consider   Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:14 pm

Many dog owners have a dog they love and think she is exactly what they want in a new puppy. She has a great personality, is excellent with children, easily trained, may be a fabulous field dog, and has had few or no serious medical problems. If they are going to get another dog, they want it to be as much like the one they already have as possible.
They decide to breed their current pet, get a puppy from that litter, and sell the other puppies for a profit. In their minds this is the closest they can come to duplicating the dog they own. While this may seem logical, it would actually be better to repeat the breeding of their current dog's parents and take a puppy from that litter. Unfortunately, this is not always possible.

Before you decide that you are going to breed your pet, you should know that most first time breeders lose money, and there is a tremendous amount of time and work involved in breeding your pet. There are also ethical issues to consider, such as ensuring you are not passing on bad genetic/hereditary traits such as hip dysplasia or eye problems. The testing that should be done on all dogs to be bred can be expensive.

If you have the female dog, breeding a litter at home can be a great experience for the first time breeder or it can be a disaster. It is usually a lot of fun for the entire family to watch new puppies come into the world and grow, and enjoy and play with them for hours and hours. In the end, some profit may be shown when the remaining littermates go to their new homes at 7 to 8 weeks of age. However, some pregnancies, births, and new puppies may be accompanied by various medical problems or emergencies. Not all pregnancies result in a happy, healthy litter.

Whether you own the female or male, if you do it correctly there will be expenses even before the breeding occurs. We never recommend breeding dogs before they are 24 months of age. It takes at least that long to determine if the animal has any significant health or behavior problems. Regretfully some health problems do not show up until the animal is even older. The animals should be examined by a veterinarian to see if they are carrying any significant medical disorders that can be passed on to the future litter. Certain laboratory tests should be performed (this is discussed in more detail later). We are not just saying this because we are veterinarians trying to drive more business to our doors.

If you are going to breed a litter, it is your responsibility to insure to all the future owners that the puppy they pay for is and will be as healthy as possible. Think how you will feel when the owners and their children find out that their pet has a disease that will limit its life or may cost more than they could afford to treat or correct the condition. Please believe us, this frequently occurs.

To use a very, very common example, let us assume you mate two young dogs of the same breed. They seem healthy, have great personalities, and have been easy to train. The puppies are born, all goes well and at 7 weeks every pup goes to a new home. Unfortunately, in about 8 to 15 months the calls begin to come in from the new families that their pups have started showing a painful lameness in their hind quarters.

Through radiographs, their veterinarians have diagnosed hip dysplasia. Briefly, this is a genetically transmitted disease that usually results in severe and painful degenerative arthritis developing in the hip joints of dogs. Most cases can be treated through medical or surgical means, but the animals may never be able to act normally, do what they were purchased for, and should never be bred. Additionally, these treatments will probably be expensive and there is no guarantee they will work.

More information: http://peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2109&aid=840

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