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So, you want to be a breeder?
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So, you want to be a breeder? The best route to go is to research the subject as thoroughly as possible for at least two years, and to get yourself a good mentor who has been breeding for at least 10 years.
What to research? Breeding in general, the ethics involved, the breed you will be breeding (you will need to know the breed standard, the breed history, etc), etc. You can learn from books, internet sites, and your mentor. A mentor can answer questions, and you can gain some much needed experience by helping them out too. The best way to find a mentor is through your breed's parent club. Please be sure to pick a reputable one. Just because the breeder is registered with the breed club does not necessarily make them reputable.
 
The reason I push research so much is that it is very important. By breeding without the necessary knowledge, you are only increasing the risk involved in breeding to the bitch and her pups. Risk? Yes, it is not uncommon for the bitch to die during pregnancy or labor, due to genetic disease, illness, and complications such as the puppies being too large to whelp. The puppies often die too, and from pretty much the same causes listed above. Even the stud is at some risk during the mating.
 
Wrong reasons include breeding for money, "my dog will make a fantastic mother", "I want to raise adorable puppies", "my friends/relatives want a dog, so I'll breed mine for them".
1. Actually, when you follow all of the ethics, you don't make money. In fact, you'd be lucky to break even.
2. Your dog may make a "good mommy", but is she breeding quality? Have you had all of the necessary genetic health tests (OFA (and/or PennHip), CERF, thyroid, cardiac, others others that may be breed-specific, etc) and has she passed them all? Does she fit the breed standard exceptionally well? Can she do what the breed was originally bred for and do it well? If not, please don't breed her.
3. If you want to raise puppies, why not foster a pregnant shelter/rescue dog? That way, not only would you be helping out a dog in need, you would not be adding to genetic problems in your breed by breeding your dog.
 
4. Would it not be cheaper and much easier to simply refer your friends/relatives to a shelter, rescue group, or an actual reputable breeder rather than breeding them some pups yourself? Besides, what if they change their mind, you have more puppies than people wanting them, or the puppies all die?
 
This is why the one and only good reason to breed your dog is because you think that it can bear a paw in improving the health, working ability of their breed, in addition to trying to keep it to standard. (Although, there is much debate on breeding according to the standard. Some feel that the standard is simply no more than having the dog look pretty. Others feel that the standard helps the breed have the right structure for perfor ming it's original purpose (ie, working). Another reason why research is important. You need to know your stuff so that you can decide whether it's best to breed according to standard or not.)
 
Good breeders also do not mix breeds. The only exception would be if their breed needed another breed mixed in to try to help rid of health problems. And I'm not even completely sure of that exception yet. It's basically a myth that mutts are healthier than purebreds, according to my research. I've come to the opinion that health problems in the breeds are due to ignorant breeders not health testing, rather than the gene pool being too small or dog shows or inbreeding.
 
"What could breeding a mixed breed hurt," you say, "so long as I do all of the health testing and stuff?" First of all, what's the purpose in breeding a mixed breed? There are only a few cases in which there is a tangible purpose for doing so. Second of all, 75% of the dogs in shelters and rescues are mixed breeds. Why make more?
 
 
So, bottom line? Don't get into breeding unless you are willing to be 100% committed to it. Otherwise, leave breeding to the professionals. And I'd like to add that even if you are not planning on breeding, I recommend that you read into it anyway so that you know where I'm coming from with the driving point of my website.

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All digital art, unless otherwise stated, is copyright to Clan Duncan Shelties, at www.kennelcity.com. All photography posted on this site, unless otherwise stated, is owned by myself.