Things to think about before breeding your dog

Breeding is often heart-wrenching when things go wrong, and it happens. Talk to breeders and ask questions. We think it is extremely important to learn 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. The following points should be reviewed carefully.

There is no medical or psychological reason to breed any dog. It will not settle your dog down (although neutering very well might!), and females do not need to have a litter .

You will not get an exact replica of your dog. Puppies are a combination of their ancestors. You can just as easily get another dog of similar lineage from an established, responsible breeder, which will get you about the same results and will cost you a lot less!

Most dogs, even purebreds, should not be bred. Many dogs, though wonderful pets, have defects of structure, personality or health that should not be perpetuated. Breeding animals should be proven free of these defects before starting on a reproductive career. If you do not know what these defects are that we are talking about, you should not be breeding. Breeding should only be done with the goal of improvement - an honest attempt to create puppies better than their parents. Ignorance is no excuse - once you have created a life, you can't take it back, even if it has seizures, low thyroid, MPS IIIB (lethal), needs surgery to repair patellas or hips, cataracts, or a temperament problem!

Pet shop and back-yard-breeder dogs have not been selected for the goal of quality improvement.

Dog breeding is not a money-making proposition if done correctly. Health care and shots, diagnosis of problems and proof of quality, extra food, facilities, stud fees, advertising, etc, are all costly and must be paid before the pups can be sold. An unexpected caesarean or emergency intensive care for a sick pup will make a break-even litter become a big liability. Schip litters are usually small in size so you won't cover your costs. If you have a large litter it can be hard to sell them.

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 four months, eight months or older! What would you do if your pups did not sell? Send them to the pound? Sell them cheap to a dog broker who may resell them to labs or other unsavory buyers? Breeders usually breed planning to keep several in the litter for themselves to further their breeding program or if they have a long waiting list for puppies.

If you're doing it for the children's education, remember the whelping maybe at three a.m. or at the vet's on the surgery table. Even if the kids 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 either ignore or savage their whelps. Bitches can have severe delivery problems or even die in whelp; pups can be born dead or with gross deformities that require euthanasia. Milk often doesn't come in for a few days of a week and you will feed all the pups every two hours around the clock. Of course, there can be joy, but if you can't deal with the possibility of tragedy, don't start. Truly, whelping is not for the faint of heart. Breeders keep their mentors close at hand.

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 a short period of time the first few days. Be prepared for days off work and sleepless nights. Even after delivery, Mom needs care and feeding, puppies need daily checking, weighing, socialization and later grooming and training and the whelping box needs lots and lots of cleaning. More hours are spent doing paperwork, pedigrees and interviewing buyers. If you have any abnormal conditions such as sick puppies or a bitch who can't and won't care for her babies, count on time around the clock for the first couple of weeks.

It's midnight - do you know where your puppies are? There are THREE-AND-A HALF MILLION unwanted dogs put to death in this country each year, with millions more dying homeless and unwanted through starvation, disease, automobiles, abuse, etc. Nearly a quarter of the victims of this unspeakable tragedy are pure-bred dogs with papers. The breeder who creates 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 backyard 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, filling the pounds with more statistics - your grand-pups? Would you be prepared to take back a grown puppy 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?

Because of these issues, we believe that dog breeding is best left to the serious hobby breeder or the hobby breeder with full support from an experienced Breeder mentor.

Bonchien Schipperkes
Kristen Henry

The Schipperke AKC Standard
Last updated 9/12/2004
© 1999-
Member of:
Schipperke Club of America
  Central Rockies Schipperke Club