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Should You Breed Your Dog? Test Your Dog's Eligibility

Hip dysplasia in dog: this dog is not breeding material!

Should I breed my dog? In this case, no, hip dysplasia is a serious genetic health disorder.

Should I breed my dog? In this case, no, hip dysplasia is a serious genetic health disorder.

Should you breed your dog?

Many dogs owners at one point or another may feel tempted to breed their dogs. Beth J. Finder Harris author of the book ''Breeding a Litter'' claims that ''some people reason that since Nature provided their pet with a ''means of reproduction'', they should take advantage of this, regardless of the animal's quality.'' There are several other reasons why people breed their dogs, and I have compiled a list of the most common:

  • I wanted to show my children the miracle of birth
  • I have heard that a dog should be allowed to have puppies at least once
  • I want more puppies like her
  • People have asked me if I would ever breed her
  • I want to make money doing something I like
  • My dog suffers when in heat and gets false pregnancies
  • My dog would make an excellent mom
  • Christmas is around the corner and puppies can make great presents

The list may go on and on with different thoughts. While these people plan on breeding their dogs, in the meanwhile, every 1.5 seconds an unwanted pet is being put to sleep in the Unites States alone, leading to over 10000 dogs being put to sleep everyday and about 4-6 million being put to sleep each year! As Beth J. Finder Harris puts it goes a long way ''sales of pet-quality puppies without restrictions on breeding them is a real crime perpetuated on the pet overpopulated canine world''. So whose fault is it if so many unwanted pets are being put to sleep? Following are some clues:

  • dog owners who purchase from irresponsible breeders that do not emphasize the importance of spaying/neutering or that fail to provide spay/neuter contracts
  • irresponsible breeders that fail to emphasize the importance of spaying/neutering or that fail to provide spay/neuter contracts
  • dog owners who fail to spay/neuter their pets or are unable to keep their intact pets properly confined
  • people who decide to breed dogs for the many reasons listed above


So Who Should Breed Dogs?

The answer is simple: the pros, the experts of the field, reputable, responsible breeders that abide to a code of ethics. These breeders work hard to improve the breed and rarely, make profits because so much is put into health tests, OFA costs, stud fees, veterinary visits, food, brucellosis test, AKC registration for dam, puppy vet checks, tail/dewclaw removal if applicable, vaccinations, deworming, AKC litter registration, cesarean section if applicable, and much more. This explains why puppies from reputable breeders cost more, but truth is, with all the expenses involved, reputable breeders rarely, if ever, make profits! The path towards becoming a reputable breeder is very long; combining passion, knowledge and an enormous commitment for improving the breed.

Overwhelmed? If so, breeding may not be for you. Take the test below to find out if your dog is breeding material. If you are looking to purchase a puppy, but cannot afford the price of a puppy from a reputable breeder, consider rescuing a dog from a shelter rather than making a backyard breeder rich: there are many dogs on death row waiting for an owner and every 1.5 seconds a poor dog is killed just because nobody wanted it!

Quiz: Should you Breed your Dog?

For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. Where did you get your dog?
    • I found her/ got her from a shelter/rescue/newspaper ad/pet store/neighbor/
    • Just a normal breeder
    • A reputable breeder offering health guarantees, contracts and proof of generation pedigree
  2. Why are you planning on breeding?
    • I want my kids to witness the miracle of birth/want to make money/my dog is cute
    • My dog is purebred and I think she has potential
    • My puppy comes with a contract that allows breeding and is showing potential
  3. Do you have a waiting list for puppies before breeding?
    • Yes, I already have several candidates waiting
    • No, but I can manage keeping the pups until sold even if it will take years
    • No, but they are too cute and I know the shelter will always find homes for them!
  4. Are you willing to take back a puppy should the owner purchase it and change its mind?
    • No way! Sold means sold in my world.
    • Yes, it is my responsibility and I will take back the dog any time no questions asked!
    • Only in extreme cases where the dog is at risk of being surrendered
  5. How are you are going to select potential buyers?
    • Just give me a check and we are in business!
    • I will ask questions and if I like them they will get the puppy
    • I will interview prospective buyers and screen them carefully
  6. Can you afford veterinary care for the mother and pups?
    • I always bred dogs and they never had problems
    • Only in life threatening emergencies like for a C-section
    • Yes, I already planned taking her to the vet 24 hours post birth and have money aside for complications.
  7. Has your dog been certified clear of medical diseases?
    • She looks healthy to me!
    • Yes, had her hips cleared by OFA, eyes checked by CERF and is clear of genetic problems
    • I know her mom and dad were clear of diseases for a fact
  8. Does your dog have a stable temperament and does she adhere to the breed standard?
    • She just looks like the a dog of his breed!
    • Yes, she has been evaluated by several judges and is doing good on the ring
    • Yes, many breeders and people that know dogs say she is good breeding material
  9. Is your dog purebred?
    • Yes, she is purebred and registered with a a reputable breed registry
    • No, she is mixed
    • Yes, she is purebred but no registered
  10. How knowledgeable are you about breeding?
    • I am new at this and will learn as I go
    • Very knowledgeable and I have a breeder mentor to assist me just in case
    • I have read several books and feel like I know quite a lot
  11. How are you planning to choose your dog's mate
    • My neighbor has a very handsome dog
    • I will take a glance at the genetic history of prospective mates
    • My breeding mentor will assist me and I will spend a lot of time in making the right choice
  12. At what age are your planning to breed your dog?
    • As soon as she goes on her first heat, no time to lose!
    • On her second heat
    • Once all the health tests come clear and she is the appropriate age for her breed.
  13. Are you planning to breed one breed only?
    • Yes, my favorite breed only since it's the one I know best
    • I may try a couple more breeds but only if I am successful
    • My dream is to breed a vast array of breeds
  14. Will you allow potential puppy owners to choose the puppy?
    • Yes, they are paying for it and it's their right to pick one!
    • If they are choosing wisely yes
    • I select the puppy for them as I know the pups best and will match them accordingly
  15. At what age are you planning for the puppies to go to new homes?
    • As soon as possible, perhaps 6 weeks once they are weaned
    • At least 7 weeks
    • At 8 weeks or older
  16. What if a potential buyer wants to purchase two puppies?
    • I say ''go for it!'' it is great so they can grow together and keep company
    • Only if the owner is very experienced and has time
    • Absolutely not, I will not allow that.
  17. Where are you planning to raise the puppies?
    • We have a garage that will work well
    • In my home but in the farthest room away from us for hygiene purposes
    • Among our family so they can be raised underfoot and get used to household noises
  18. Who are you planning to sell the pups to?
    • Only to people I will carefully interview and screen
    • People that look loving and caring
    • Possibly to pet stores if there is demand
  19. Are you planning to follow-up on puppy owners?
    • Once the deal is done, it's done!
    • Yes, we will keep in touch in case anything major happens
    • I will always be there for them for any question or issue
  20. Will you allow the new puppy owners to breed once the puppy is grown up?
    • No, they have a contract that asks pet quality puppies to be neutered/spayed
    • It's their puppy, they can do what they want!
    • I will recommend them to find a breeding mentor so to make the right choice

Scoring

Use the scoring guide below to add up your total points based on your answers.

  1. Where did you get your dog?
    • I found her/ got her from a shelter/rescue/newspaper ad/pet store/neighbor/: +0 points
    • Just a normal breeder: +1 point
    • A reputable breeder offering health guarantees, contracts and proof of generation pedigree: +2 points
  2. Why are you planning on breeding?
    • I want my kids to witness the miracle of birth/want to make money/my dog is cute: +0 points
    • My dog is purebred and I think she has potential: +1 point
    • My puppy comes with a contract that allows breeding and is showing potential: +2 points
  3. Do you have a waiting list for puppies before breeding?
    • Yes, I already have several candidates waiting: +2 points
    • No, but I can manage keeping the pups until sold even if it will take years: +1 point
    • No, but they are too cute and I know the shelter will always find homes for them!: +0 points
  4. Are you willing to take back a puppy should the owner purchase it and change its mind?
    • No way! Sold means sold in my world.: +0 points
    • Yes, it is my responsibility and I will take back the dog any time no questions asked!: +2 points
    • Only in extreme cases where the dog is at risk of being surrendered: +1 point
  5. How are you are going to select potential buyers?
    • Just give me a check and we are in business!: +0 points
    • I will ask questions and if I like them they will get the puppy: +0 points
    • I will interview prospective buyers and screen them carefully: +0 points
  6. Can you afford veterinary care for the mother and pups?
    • I always bred dogs and they never had problems: +0 points
    • Only in life threatening emergencies like for a C-section: +1 point
    • Yes, I already planned taking her to the vet 24 hours post birth and have money aside for complications.: +2 points
  7. Has your dog been certified clear of medical diseases?
    • She looks healthy to me!: +0 points
    • Yes, had her hips cleared by OFA, eyes checked by CERF and is clear of genetic problems: +2 points
    • I know her mom and dad were clear of diseases for a fact: +1 point
  8. Does your dog have a stable temperament and does she adhere to the breed standard?
    • She just looks like the a dog of his breed!: +0 points
    • Yes, she has been evaluated by several judges and is doing good on the ring: +2 points
    • Yes, many breeders and people that know dogs say she is good breeding material: +1 point
  9. Is your dog purebred?
    • Yes, she is purebred and registered with a a reputable breed registry: +2 points
    • No, she is mixed: +0 points
    • Yes, she is purebred but no registered: +1 point
  10. How knowledgeable are you about breeding?
    • I am new at this and will learn as I go: +0 points
    • Very knowledgeable and I have a breeder mentor to assist me just in case: +2 points
    • I have read several books and feel like I know quite a lot: +1 point
  11. How are you planning to choose your dog's mate
    • My neighbor has a very handsome dog: +0 points
    • I will take a glance at the genetic history of prospective mates: +1 point
    • My breeding mentor will assist me and I will spend a lot of time in making the right choice: +2 points
  12. At what age are your planning to breed your dog?
    • As soon as she goes on her first heat, no time to lose!: +0 points
    • On her second heat: +1 point
    • Once all the health tests come clear and she is the appropriate age for her breed.: +2 points
  13. Are you planning to breed one breed only?
    • Yes, my favorite breed only since it's the one I know best: +2 points
    • I may try a couple more breeds but only if I am successful: +1 point
    • My dream is to breed a vast array of breeds: +0 points
  14. Will you allow potential puppy owners to choose the puppy?
    • Yes, they are paying for it and it's their right to pick one!: +0 points
    • If they are choosing wisely yes: +1 point
    • I select the puppy for them as I know the pups best and will match them accordingly: +2 points
  15. At what age are you planning for the puppies to go to new homes?
    • As soon as possible, perhaps 6 weeks once they are weaned: +0 points
    • At least 7 weeks: +1 point
    • At 8 weeks or older: +2 points
  16. What if a potential buyer wants to purchase two puppies?
    • I say ''go for it!'' it is great so they can grow together and keep company: +0 points
    • Only if the owner is very experienced and has time: +1 point
    • Absolutely not, I will not allow that.: +2 points
  17. Where are you planning to raise the puppies?
    • We have a garage that will work well: +0 points
    • In my home but in the farthest room away from us for hygiene purposes: +1 point
    • Among our family so they can be raised underfoot and get used to household noises: +0 points
  18. Who are you planning to sell the pups to?
    • Only to people I will carefully interview and screen: +2 points
    • People that look loving and caring: +1 point
    • Possibly to pet stores if there is demand: +0 points
  19. Are you planning to follow-up on puppy owners?
    • Once the deal is done, it's done!: +0 points
    • Yes, we will keep in touch in case anything major happens: +1 point
    • I will always be there for them for any question or issue: +2 points
  20. Will you allow the new puppy owners to breed once the puppy is grown up?
    • No, they have a contract that asks pet quality puppies to be neutered/spayed: +2 points
    • It's their puppy, they can do what they want!: +0 points
    • I will recommend them to find a breeding mentor so to make the right choice: +1 point

Interpreting Your Score

A score between 0 and 11 means: As much as you love your dog, you must consider that every minute countless dogs are put to sleep. Please visit your local shelter to have an idea. Allowing a dog to breed deliberately nowadays, is almost considered a crime, knowing that so many will be surrendered and put to sleep. Please leave breeding to the pros.

A score between 12 and 22 means: Your dog may be pretty, but he is definitively not breeding material and/or you lack the knowledge to breed responsibly. Please leave breeding to the pros.

A score between 23 and 29 means: You are trying hard, but you still have lots to learn. Study the breed you like, attend shows, read books. If this seems too hard, please leave breeding to the pros.

A score between 30 and 33 means: Looks like you have some potential breeding material there, and you know your stuff. Attend shows, work with a mentor to find a show quality dog and go from there.

A score between 34 and 37 means: You are working hard and for a noble cause; you want to improve the breed. You are aware of the risks, costs and time required to breed but you are knowledgeable and your dog has potential. You are on a good start!

What happens to unwanted animals: Dr Death Viewer Discretion Advised!

For further Reading

  • Advantages of Owning a Mutt
    The joy of owning a mutt, copyright,gmaikell, morguefile.com Call it a mutt, cur, mongrel, crossbred or more simply a mixed breed, however you like to call them, consider that these dogs are just as lovable as the purebred dogs that come with...
  • Dog DNA testing
    The following cliche' happens more often than thought: a dog owner takes his dog the vet for the the first time. The dog was adopted by the shelter. The animal hospital receptionist types all the main characteristics of the dog so to make him...
  • Things First Time dog Breeders Should Know
    Dog breeding takes much more than allowing a male and a female dog to breed and rejoicing sixty three days later. It takes responsibility, hard work, commitment, research and the acceptance of possibly not...

Comments

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 02, 2012:

Thank you, these issue of should you breed your dog is very saddening and I agree it needs to be addressing ans many underestimate it.

ThussaysNanaMarie from In my oyster on July 02, 2012:

That was quite an emotive article but it is fact that needsto be addressed. Thank you.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 22, 2012:

thank you, I hope it helps reduce the number of backyard breeders.

winbo on February 22, 2012:

such a nice article with details. It is useful hub.. so my vote up for this article.. carry on!!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 15, 2012:

The video is very touching and it gives an insider view of the cold facts.

Farkle on February 15, 2012:

I agree with Sue, everybody should watch the video and think twice before breeding dogs! I wished my neighbors who breed dogs all the time would see this.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 13, 2012:

I volunteer there too and there is nothing like the feeling of going there one day and finding empty cages where days prior tails were wagging in hopes of finding a good home.

Sue826 from Albuquerque on February 13, 2012:

I wish everyone could be forced to watch that video. Maybe it would make people realize how awful we treat our beloved animals. To kill so many wonderful animals due to our stupidity is so awful. It can be stopped if people smartened up. I volunteer at our city shelter so I see first hand the beautiful creatures that get put down just for space.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 07, 2012:

Thanks for posting and rating. It is much appreciated!

Larry Fields from Northern California on February 06, 2012:

Voted up and interesting. I'd like to add one more breeding no-no.

Your adult dog was given lots of socialization as a puppy, is given lots of TLC, receives enough exercise, is current on veterinary care, and has had a reasonable amount of training. Nevertheless she bites new people with no apparent provocation. Moreover the animal behaviorist was not able to train her out of the aggressive tendencies.

In this case, you should get your beloved pet spayed or neutered immediately if not sooner.

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