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Breeding for Pet Owners

Why do I want to breed?

Many owners find the companionship of their dog so rewarding that they feel they would like to breed their dog, continue the bloodline and retain an offspring. This can occur with both male and female dogs.

Others, especially first time dog owners, will acquire a female dog with the intent to breed her when she is old enough.

Whatever the reason, there are certain important considerations you should consider before embarking upon any breeding program.

I obtained my dog from a rescue organization but he is so lovely I would like a puppy from him. How do I go about it?

Remember that just like people, dogs are individuals and although we say “like father, like son” this does not necessarily always apply. If you really are intent on mating your mixed breed dog you must remember that female dogs, unlike people, usually have more than one puppy at a time. You have to consider how you are going to find homes for the other pups in the litter.

The first step is to find a female dog to mate with your male. She may be thought of almost as a “surrogate mother” for your purpose. The owner of the female will be the person with the primary responsibility for finding homes for the puppies that you do not want. Unfortunately, this is not always easy, due to the number of unwanted dogs in animal shelters.

Owners of male mixed breed dogs will frequently make arrangements with neighbors or with other members of local dog clubs. If you obtained your dog from a shelter, pet shop, or a neighbor’s litter, think about what will happen to the puppies your pet will produce. Will you be comfortable if some, if not all, of the rest of the litter end up in an animal shelter? This is a serious decision with the future puppy’s life potentially at risk. Make your decision wisely and carefully.

If I do decide to go ahead and breed my dog, is it likely that the offspring will have the same desirable traits?

Frankly the odds are against it, although training and environment mold puppies just like people. It is rare that the puppies are identical to either parent.

I want to breed my dog to reduce his sexual activities. Does this work?

Mating your dog may actually make these behaviors worse! If your intent is to control or curtail your dog’s sexual behaviors, breeding him will not solve that problem.

What will reduce my dog’s sexual activities?

Neutering your dog will reduce some unwanted behaviors, such as roaming to find a mate. The advantages of neutering far outweigh the disadvantages. Neutering your pet reduces his chances of developing prostate disease and testicular cancer. Additionally, neutering has been proven not to cause behavioral changes in your pet. Neutering will only make your pet healthier and may even save his life!

If I don’t breed my dog, how can I get another dog with similar characteristics?

Start by contacting the person or organization where you obtained your dog. There is a good possibility that they may have similar pets that would make an excellent addition to your family. Alternatively, visit a local animal shelter and rescue a homeless pet. You may pleasantly surprised by what you find. Finally, talk with your veterinarian. They will be able to direct your search and provide you with assistance in finding the “perfect pet partner”.

I obtained my female dog from an animal shelter and they suggested she should be neutered at six months. But she has turned out to be such a lovely pet I would like a litter from her.

Spaying is the right choice for mixed breed dogs. Five to ten million pets are euthanized in shelters nationwide each year. Since each female dog is capable of having up to twelve or more puppies with each mating and they may mate twice a year, the pet overpopulation problem can only be resolved through spaying and neutering programs. Don’t worry; with the abundance of homeless pets needing good homes, you’ll have no difficulty adopting a pet with the same wonderful qualities when you decide to add to your family.

I realize that, but she has turned out to be so special that I would really like a puppy from her.

Dogs, like people, vary. No matter how careful you are in selection of a mate, which is very difficult with a mixed breed dog, there is still no guarantee that you will get the puppy of your dreams. Is it really worth risking up to eleven other lives?

Is it possible to mate my mixed-breed female dog, short of letting her run with any dog in the local park?

Owners of pedigree studs will sometimes allow mating with a non-purebred dog. This is particularly useful if you want to concentrate on a particular characteristic or conformation.

For example, if you have a mixed Boxer female, it may be possible to mate her with a pure-breed Boxer stud. Inquire at your local dog club or breed society or contact the secretary of the appropriate breed club whose details are available from the American and Canadian Kennel Clubs.

I have considered this. I am a member of a local dog training club and there are lots of people who would like a puppy from my female.

That is fine. Unfortunately, there is a great difference between initial enthusiasm and final acceptance of the puppy. Many people change their mind in the period between birth and weaning and this is the primary reason there are so many puppies in animal shelters everywhere.

What, then would you suggest?

Have your dog spayed and select a similar type of puppy from your local animal shelter. It’s the right decision for you, your dog and the millions of dogs in desperate need of adoption. Remember all service dogs – Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and Dogs for the Disabled – are sterilized.

This client information sheet is based on material written by Ernest Ward, DVM, © Copyright 2005 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license. August 22, 2016

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