Breeding

We think it is extremely important to know the facts and possible consequences in advance if you are contemplating breeding your dog. In today's overcrowded world, we must make responsible decisions for them and for ourselves. Know the facts BEFORE breeding your dog. Breeding is not just a case of saying ‘it would be fun, lets have a litter of puppies’ or ‘the children need to see the joy of life‘. Nor is it a means of making a bit of extra money!

Breeding requires planning and preparation; it can be an expensive exercise, not to mention time consuming. Puppies require a lot of care and intervention from the breeder to ensure that they are healthy and develop good temperaments. We bring our puppies up according to the article Super Dogs are Made Not Born. When you breed a litter you remain responsible to your own dog, to every puppy born for the rest of its life and to each puppy’s new family.

Things to consider before embarking on this journey:

  • Are you aware of the health issues that affect the breed?
  • Have you done the required health testing for your bitch/dog?
  • Do you have the funds required for a stud fee, extra feeding that will be required and veterinary care that may be needed?
  • Do you have suitable accommodation for raising a litter?
  • Are you able to whelp a litter? - Assist the bitch during the process if there are complications, resuscitate a puppy if you need to, etc?
  • Are you prepared to bottle feed puppies if you need to?
  • Are you prepared for the heartbreak if a puppy dies or worse, the whole litter starts having problems?
  • Do you have the time to raise a litter?
  • Are you aware of a puppy’s developmental stages and how critical the first 8 weeks are? Do you know what they need from you and from other sources?
  • Do you have homes for the puppies, or can you find good homes?
  • Are you aware of the registration requirements for Dobes?

Consider the following:

QUALITY:  KUSA registration is NOT an indication of quality. Most dogs, even purebred, should not be used for breeding. Many dogs, though wonderful pets, have defects in their conformation, temperament or health that should not be perpetuated. Breeding animals should be proven free of these defects BEFORE starting on a reproductive career. Breeding should only be done with the goal of IMPROVEMENT - an honest attempt to create puppies better than their parents.

COST:  Dog breeding is NOT a means of making a bit of extra money, if it is done correctly. Health care of the parents before breeding as well as care and vaccination etc. of the puppies, diagnosis of problems and proof of quality, extra food, facilities, stud fees, advertising, etc. are all costly and must be paid BEFORE any puppies can be sold. An unexpected Cesarean or emergency intensive care for a sick pup can make a 'break even' litter a big liability. All this assumes that you can even sell all the puppies.

SALES:  First-time breeders have no reputation and no referrals to help them find buyers. Previous promises of "I want a dog just like yours" evaporate. Consider the time and expense of caring for pups that may not sell until they are four months old, eight months old or more!  What WOULD you do if your pups did not sell?  Send them to the pound?  Dump them in the country?  Sell them cheap to a dog broker who may resell them to labs or other unsavory buyers?  Veteran breeders with good reputations often don't consider a breeding unless they have cash deposits in advance for an average sized litter.

JOY OF BIRTH:  If you're doing it for the children's education, remember the whelping may be at 3 a.m. or at the vet's on the surgery table. Even if the kiddies are present, they may get a chance to see the birth of a monster or a mummy, or watch the bitch scream and bite you as you attempt to deliver a pup that is half out and too large. Some bitches are not natural mothers and will either ignore or savage their puppies. Bitches can have severe delivery problems or even die in whelp - pups can be born dead or with gross deformities that require euthanasia. Of course there can be joy, but if you can't deal with the possibility of tragedy, don't start.

TIME:  Veteran breeders of quality dogs state they spend well over 130 hours of labor in raising an average litter. That is over two hours per day, every day!  The bitch CANNOT be left alone while whelping and only for short periods for the first few days after. Be prepared for days off work and sleepless nights. Even after delivery, mom needs care and feeding, puppies need daily checking, weighing and socialisation. Later, grooming and training, and the whelping box needs lots of cleaning. More hours are spent doing paperwork, pedigrees and interviewing the buyers. If you have any abnormal conditions, such as sick puppies or a bitch who can't or won't care for her babes, count on double the time. If you can't provide the time, you will either have dead pups or poor ones that are bad tempered, antisocial, dirty and/or sickly - hardly a buyers' delight.

HUMANE RESPONSIBILITIES:  It's midnight -- do you know where your puppies are?  There are millions of unwanted dogs put to death in pounds in this country each year, with millions more dying homeless and unwanted through starvation, disease, automobile accidents, abuse, etc. Many of the victims of these unspeakable tragedies are purebred dogs "with papers."  The breeder who creates a life is responsible for that life. Will you carefully screen potential buyers?  Or will you just take the money and not worry if the puppy is chained in a junkyard all of its life or runs in the street to be killed?  Will you turn down a sale to irresponsible owners?  Or will you say "yes" and not think about the puppy you held and loved now having a litter of mongrels every time she comes in heat, which fills the pounds with more statistics - your grand-pups?  Would you be prepared to take a grown dog if the owners can no longer care for it?   Or can you live with the thought that the baby you helped bring into the world will be destroyed at the pound?

PEDIGREES: Check and compare pedigrees. Are they compatible? Have you done some research or know what compatible means, and how to raise the odds of producing healthy dogs with sound temperaments? You should understand a bit about ‘line breeding’ and ‘out crossing’. It is a good idea to talk to a few knowledgeable people with Dobes to get help and input. Check our breeders register and go to shows or contact your local Dobermann club. It may also be a good idea to talk to an expert or two with other breeds too.