Some dog owners extend their love for animals into an interest in breeding their dog. Breeding is more of a responsibility than a passing interest, and as such, there are a few things to consider before immersing yourself and your dog in the process. This short checklist identifies some helpful pointers which will increase the odds of a successful breeding experience.
Consider your dog’s age, breed, and health status. To begin with, veterinarians recommend not breeding dogs that are less than eighteen months old. This allows you as an owner the opportunity to schedule tests that rule out any genetic defects or conditions they could pass on to their offspring. It also makes sure that your female is physically mature enough to carry a litter of puppies.
There are also health issues which can affect your decision to breed your dog.
These health concerns can be general, as in the case of brucellosis (a bacterial infection spread among breeding dogs that can contribute to infertility, abortion, or stillborn puppies), or a male dog may simply not be fertile.
Alternatively, they can be specific to certain breeds. Dachshunds and Basset Hounds have long spines and short legs, for instance, making them prone to back problems as they age. Retrievers, Shepherds, and Great Danes frequently develop hip dysplasia, easily confirmed by x-rays. Collies are predisposed to two eye disorders, Collie Eye Anomaly and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
Testing your dog before breeding will let you know if he is carrying any of these conditions. If he is, then he’s not a good candidate for parenthood.
Regular treatment for heartworm, intestinal worms and fleas, as well as standard vaccinations to protect against the most common viruses (parvovirus, parainfluenza, distemper, hepatitis, and leptospirosis) are essential to keep your animal in good health for breeding. In addition, good nutrition and regular exercise are important in increasing the chances of producing healthy puppies.
Pay a visit to your veterinarian to make sure there aren’t any potential problems that need to be addressed before deciding to breed your dog.
Finally, you should carefully consider the reasons behind your decision to breed a dog. If money from the sale of purebred puppies is the sole source of inspiration, consider the expenses involved from beginning to end.
Stud fees, genetic testing, veterinary care, a possible cesarean delivery, and the cost of feeding, worming, and vaccinating puppies will quickly eat into any profits you may earn. Unless you’ve spent considerable time and effort researching such a venture, you must be prepared for these costs, and be prepared to make a financial loss from a litter.
Another poor reason for breeding is to obtain a dog just like the one you already have. This isn’t likely to happen, because your pups are just as likely to resemble the other parent, or have characteristics that are a mixture of both parents.
A more sensible approach to dog breeding relies on selecting characteristics that you hope to pass on to future generations of the breed. Each breeding should be carefully planned to result in puppies that are an improvement on the generation before. This is how dog breeds are continually improved.
Breeding dogs is a rewarding pastime, but make sure your motives are honorable, and you have the health and well being of your dog and its breed foremost in your mind.
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