Should you breed
THESE ARE NOT GOOD REASONS TO BREED
1. So the kids can see the miracle of birth. Children can learn
about birth from books and videos. This does not justify causing a
litter of perhaps 10 puppies to come into the world in need of loving
homes. Take a trip to the local animal shelter and see the sad results
of many litters born for just this misguided reason.
2. She should have one litter before she is spayed/he is
altered. WRONG! There is absolutely NO medical, physical or emotional
reason that a dog or bitch needs to reproduce itself except to
continue the species. In the case of a pet quality dog (or even some
show dogs) this does not apply.
3. You want to recoup your investment. Ha! Especially in the
case of breeding Bernese this reason makes those of us who breed them
laugh! I doubt there are many breeds more expensive to breed than
Bernese. Even if you don't count the expense of showing your bitch and
just start with the medical health screenings, it's expensive. All
dogs that are even being considered for breeding should, at the very
least, have their hips and elbow x-rayed to rule out dysplasia. More
and more breeders are now screening for cataracts, Von Willibrands
Disease (VWD), normal thyroid and hearts. These will probably cost
somewhere around $650.00. Routine check for any uterine or vaginal
infections will help ensure a live litter. Add $300.00. Stud fee to a
good quality stud who is right for your bitch and has, himself, passed
all the health screenings will run about $1200.00. Now we're at
$1150.00. If a C-section becomes necessary, add at least $350.00 and
probably more. Assuming there's no need for a section (there rarely is
in Danes), you now have a nice healthy litter of, oh, say 8 puppies.
At the age of 6-7 weeks you're likely going through at least 50 lbs.
of dog food a week. Add in the first vaccines (likely $40 each at your
vets. , that's about another $160.00. Next it's time to crop! Oh joy!
Add $250.00 per puppy! AND, if you've bred a bitch and have no market
for her pups, chances are you may end up supporting several of these
pups until they're 4 or 5 months old or older! Do you have any idea
how expensive this is getting? And if you have no ready market for
your pups, you cannot get the $1200.00 that is about average for a
show potential puppy from top show stock. You'll be lucky to get 2 or
3 hundred dollars a puppy. Still think you're going to recoup your
investment? Better stick with an altered pet!
4. She's just so nice all my friends want one of her babies and
I want one just like her. I refer you to number 3 above. Those friends
who just have to have one of her pups have a strange way of back
peddling when the time comes to actually purchase the puppy. And
there's no guarantee that you'll have a puppy even remotely like your
dog or bitch. So is it worth all the expense to take the chance? It's
a lot cheaper to just go to a reputable breeder and buy another dog!
5. She's a champion! She deserves to be bred! Bull Feathers!
True, a championship is likely a good indication that she is of top
quality breeding stock and many champions are of breeding quality.
However I know of some really lovely champions that should NEVER be
bred because of health problems or temperament problems or many of
those problems in their pedigrees. If a dog isn't sound in mind and
health, it should not be bred. Conversely I know of dogs who couldn't
finish their championships due to conformation faults but who are
among the best producers! I even owned one! The point here is this,
the whole dog along with it's pedigree and health screenings must be
considered before making the decision to breed or not to breed.
GOOD REASONS TO BREED YOUR BITCH
1. Your bitch has a good pedigree with many champions who are also
sound of mind, body, health and longevity. She has tested clear of all
indigenous inherited problems and is herself sound of mind, body and
health. She has correct conformation with no major or disqualifying
faults and is outstanding in at least a couple of conformation traits.
2. You wish to improve the breed and select a stud that is her
equal or better in all of the above listed traits and who does not
share any common faults with your bitch.
3. You have a better than good chance to place each pup in the
home that is right for it.
4. You have the funds to properly care for and raise the litter
and to handle any unforeseen emergencies that may arise.
5. You have the facilities and finances to properly house and
care for a bitch and a large litter even if the puppies are still
residents at 6 months of age.
6. You have the knowledge and integrity to properly evaluate
your litter and will stand behind every sale with some type of health
and temperament guarantee.
7. You are not only willing, but insist in writing in the
contract, that if, for any reason the pup cannot be kept (at whatever
age) you will take it back or assist in finding the right home.
If you can honestly say that all the above is true,
then read on. We need breeders like you.
BREEDING A MALE
It takes two to tango and males are as responsible for litters as are
the bitches. Pet male should be neutered. Period! This is an issue
that more commonly is a problem for a male human owner than us ladies!
Many men have this thing which causes them to think that their dog
will be somehow less macho if he's been neutered. For some reason that
I do not understand (probably because I'm a woman) this is a real
problem for them. I'm here to tell you, gentlemen, that truly this IS
YOUR PROBLEM, not your dog's!
First, as for a pet bitch, a pet male should not be bred and for all
the same reasons. If he is not to be bred, he should be altered. He
should be altered to reduce the chance for testicular or prostrate
cancer. He should be altered to prevent him from being upset and
stressed if a neighborhood bitch is in season. A male will smell this
from far away! He should be altered so that he will never be
responsible for a litter when someone is careles, leaves the door open
and he's off to mate with that in season bitch! HE won't care that
he's been altered, he'll be much happier and more content without the
stress of overactive hormones that should never be satisfied.
WHEN SHOULD A MALE BE BRED?
1. When he is superior in conformation, temperament and health
to most of the males in his breed. Whether this fact is established by
showing him to his championship or by having him evaluated by others
knowledgeable in the breed is of no consequence.
2. When he has passed all the health screenings for the bitch
3. When you've decided if you can live with a male who, once
he's been used at stud, may suddenly forget his housebreaking lessons
and start marking the sofa with urine.
4. When you are knowledgeable enough about pedigrees,
conformation, health and temperament to know if the bitch being
presented to him is a good match, or have a knowledgeable mentor who
5. When you have the fortitude and tact to turn down a bitch if
you don't feel it would be a good breeding or if you don't feel she's
of breeding quality.
6. When you could sincerely suggest a stud whom you feel would
be a better match for a bitch who is brought to your dog.