Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Questions: The Breeder

Recently, I've been asked by quite a few people my position on breeders and purebred dogs versus.  And then I received this question:

I recently purchased a Maltese from a local pet shop.  The Maltese is very cute and has great features, and people have mentioned that I should breed him or stud him out.  What do you think?

Well, I have a few questions for you.  Do you know the dog's parents?  Do you know if they had any health issues?  Do you know if they were related?  If your answer to these questions is no, then I'd say don't breed.

If your answer is yes, and the dogs were healthy and unrelated, I have more questions for you.  Do you plan to have both mother and father on site?  Would you breed your dog as a way to promote the breed rather than just as a way to make money?  Are you willing to take a minimum of 8 weeks to care for a litter of puppies?  This means socializing, cleaning up after, vetting, etc.  If your answer to any of these questions is no, then I'd say don't breed.

Here's the thing with breeding: You really have to be dedicated to the cause.  There are so many dogs out there that need a home, bringing more under-socialized, ill-health dogs is not something I'd recommend.  I'm not against breeding dogs, but I do think there are a lot of bad breeders.  Even those with good intentions, even those who don't run puppy mills, can be bad breeders.  These are people who, even though their intentions are good, don't understand the needs of young puppies.  They don't understand the health concerns or the risk to the mother.  They don't understand that a good breeder knows the family history of the pups and what the future health concerns may be.  They don't understand that good breeding is about more than just a cute puppy.  It's also about intelligence and health and attitude.

If you're considering breeding your dog, please keep in mind that you are bringing a living, breathing creature into this world.  This creature has needs, both emotional and physical, and meeting those needs can be difficult.  A good breeder makes breeding a full time job.  The puppies are part of the family, and finding a family requires interviews and a few rejections.

If you're not willing to put that sort of time and commitment into breeding, then it's probably best to steer clear of the whole situation.  If you are willing to put that sort of time, effort, and research into breeding, then you have my blessing.

Remember, if you have a question for Ask The Dog Trainer, feel free to ask on our Facebook page.

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