"To make a lot of money". Do you realize the expense involved in such items as advertising, vet bill, stud fee, food, etc.. to name a few?

"Because it would be good for the children to watch the birth and play with the puppies as they grow". Actually, the "gory" parts of the whelping repulse most kids, who are all anxious to skip the viewing of the miracle of birth you have planned for them to see. And the litter growing up is too rowdy for most kids, who are usually totally disinterested or absolutely terrified of the leaping creatures with the sharp nails and teeth. If you want the kids to see a puppy grow up, it's better to buy one.

"Because we love Fido and we want one just like her." The chance of getting one "just like her" are slim indeed.

"Because everyone who comes to the house sees Fido and wants a puppy when she has a litter". Just wait till your litter

of 12 is ready to go to their new homes and watch all those people back out with excuses like, "the kids aren't old enough" - "the kids are too old now to be bothered with caring for a dog" - "We are going to have a baby" - "The house is too small" - We'll be moving in 3 months" - "The rug is too new" - "Grandma doesn't like dogs" - "Our old dog hasn't died yet" - It might not get along with the cat", and the list goes on and on. 

"Because we really love little puppies". You'd better be sure you love them, because until you have them you can't fully imagine how much is involved, such as  - the mess a litter makes. Can you put up with the cleaning which is constantly needed in caring for a litter?


There is no way to explain how tired you get of scrubbing up after the puppies, their whelping box, the yard, kennel or where ever they are kept. They dump their food and water the minute you put it down, step in it and drag it through whatever else may be in the puppy box, and with 6 or 8 or 10 puppies, there is always something else to be cleaned up.


The RESPONSIBILITY you will have with a litter (it's not just Fido having the litter and caring for it till they are ready to go) most of it is up to you and you're tied to the litter like any new mother, only you can't take the litter with you to your in-laws for the weekend, or anywhere else for that matter, so you'd better be content to spend all your time at home. There can't be any daylong shopping sprees or anything that takes you away from home too long, because you'll have to be there to feed the puppies 4 times a day.


Now that you have some idea of what's involved other than playing with those cute, cuddly puppies and you're still determined to breed anyway, here's something else that should be considered.


Is your bitch of quality to breed? Do you know her faults as well as her virtues? Does she meet with the standard of the breed? Do you have customers, so you won't have to sell the puppies at a price below the value or take them to a shelter?


If you can answer "YES" to the above and you haven't lost the determination to try your hand at raising a litter, then read on.....


Get an opinion of your bitch from a few breeders. Find out what they think are her faults and virtues. Learn abut any problems that are within your breed (such as PRA, liver shunt, etc.) Study the breed standard yourself so that you are familiar with it when looking at and evaluating possible stud dogs. Get several breeder's opinions of a good choice for a stud dog that will enhance your bitch. Go to see as many of the stud dogs and their offspring as you can.


After you have decided on a stud dog, take your bitch to the vet ($$) and have her examined to be sure she is free of any health problems within your breed. She should have a general health check-up. This exam should include:

1. Worm check (take along a stool sample), 2. Heartworm check, 

3. Brucellosis test, 4. Shots up to date? Don't forget, all this is going to cost money, but it's necessary - a part of planning for a healthy litter.


Now, while you wait for her to come in season, read all you can on your particular breed, breeding, whelping and rearing puppies.


Start saving all your newspapers and have your friends and relatives to the same. (Remember what we told you about all the clean-up?) You'll need all the newspaper you can get your hands on.


Have a whelping box built or if you are handy, build one yourself - more $$.


When the bitch comes in season, contact the stud dog owner with whom you have previously made arrangements regarding the breeding. You will be advised on when to bring your bitch. Plan to pay the stud fee at the time of breeding ($$). There may also be a boarding charge if your bitch is to stay with the stud dog's owner ($$). Be sure you understand in advance just what the payment of the stud fee is guaranteeing. The suitable stud for your bitch may be some distance away, involving additional traveling expenses ($$). Getting your bitch bred isn't always as easy as you might imagine and may require repeated trips to the stud dog.


After your bitch is bred, you have about 63 days to do more reading and thinking, and laced with the good thoughts about the precious little darlings will also have to be some horrible thoughts about what can go wrong and how much it will cost you, both financially and emotionally.


We hate to keep dwelling on this, but, things DO go wrong occasionally and you should be prepared in cast it happens to you.


(1)    What if your bitch has problems and requires a cesarean section or other extensive vet services?   

(2)    What if the puppies die?   

(3)    What if she is not in whelp, or as a miscarriage?   

(4)    What are going to do with 10 six month old puppies that you can't sell, give away or have the heart to put to sleep. Do you have adequate facilities?

(5)    What if your bitch can't or won't nurse the puppies? Are you prepared to feed them every two hours for the next 4 to 5 weeks?   

(6)    And, worst of all, What if Fido dies while whelping or afterwards? Will it have been worth it?


The days pass, and Fido whelps her puppies without any problems, but you still have to take her to the vet to be checked over (within 24 house of delivery is recommended). She will probably get injections to prevent any infections ($$). Lucky for you, she has whelped 10 healthy puppies.


They are almost 8 weeks and close to time to sell, but first they all have to take a trip to the vet ($$). Their 8 week check-up will probably include shots and a worm check with medication if necessary (10 times "X" ($$).


Are there breed specific test that need to be done before the puppies go to new homes? ($$)


Now that you know they're healthy and ready to go, you'll want a breeder to see just how gorgeous they are and how great you did on your first try (of course you think they're all show quality and worth show prices). But again be prepared because you might b told the following:   


(1)    The big male has only one testicle.   

(2)    The next biggest male toes out badly (but has both testicles).   

(3)    The really pretty bitch has an improper bite.   

(4)    The smaller bitch has the proper bite, but her top line is bad   

(5)    The bitch with the pretty head is cow hocked.   

(6)    There are 3 who are "average", nothing really wrong, but nothing outstanding either.


And there's one who is definitely show quality, a real beauty. The "show quality" one is the puppy you were going to keep as a pet, because the kids like it best. (another mouth to feed ($) and you're feeling down at the breeder's opinion of your litter). But you are told to cheer up, after all, one really outstanding puppy is better than a lot of folks get out of a litter, and you should consider this a successful breeding! (some consolation when you were going to sell them all as show puppies!)


Now you have your litter graded and priced accordingly and are ready to sell them. By this time, are you knowledgeable enough about your breed to be the expert every buyer assumes you are? Are you prepared to answer questions on training, housebreaking, feeding, grooming, etc.? Are you prepared to answer these questions not only at the time of purchase, but months later or when someone calls at midnight because the dog isn't eating right?


Can you direct your buyers to obedience classes, breed-handling classes, help them get into showing, recommend a vet? Remember, you are now the breeder and the responsibility doesn't end when the puppy is carried out the door. Do you have a pedigree ready to go with each puppy, as well as a sales agreement and in show purchases a registration application?


Are you prepared to advertise extensively ($$) if necessary?


If you have a good bitch and have bred to a stud dog owned by an interested breeder, they will usually send referrals to you, but don't depend on others to sell your puppies, and advertising expenses can really add up.


Don't expect the buyers to flock to your door the day the puppies are ready to go. It may take weeks or even months, before they are all sold (and, this results in lots of food cost and possibly more trips to the vet for their shots ($$).


I hope that if you do breed your bitch you do it the right way and only for the right reasons and put lots of time, thought and love into your decision.






From GDC of KC Newsletter 2/85 via GDC of So. Australia 1984