I’m Thinking of Breeding My Dog… Is This a Good Idea?

Actually, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this question posed!  So here, in black and white, are some things to consider when making your decision.  Surprised to hear an animal rescuer NOT just say NO, YOU DON’T BREED!!!?  Well, it’s because I don’t want to put anyone off – I’m here to inform – not to preach.  So here we go….


In order to breed a healthy litter, you must first start with a healthy adult.  So you have to wait until your female is at least 2 years old.  She needs to be certified for her hips, eyes, elbows, etc., and it has to be done by a veterinarian.  The vet takes the results of the exam and sends them into a board.  The board then determines the level of passing.  This runs at least $300.00…


Ok so if she passes, you now need to find a male who has also passed OFA.  Stud fees can run up around $1500.00 depending on the OFA rating for him. 


Now, there is no guarantee that she’ll get pregnant the first try- So you will have to pay stud fees every time you try.  That’s every 6 months.  And you have to go through her going through a heat cycle which means she bleeds ALL OVER YOUR HOUSE.  It is the most AWFUL smell in the world, never mind the fact that you’ll have to clean it up every time she moves.  If you choose to keep her outside while she’s going through this she’ll be pregnant by a neighbor’s dog (or dogs) before she’s a year old.  Then she’s compromised physically as she’s just too young to support a healthy litter.


During her pregnancy, there will be several vet visits (cha-ching!).  Depending on her breed and condition, she may or may not be able to deliver normally.  I’ve had many rescue dogs deliver at my place and only ONE deliver without an issue.  One of ours was a c-section which ran about $1200.00…. And once they have one, they will not be able to deliver again without another c-section (and another $1200.00)…


When she does get close to delivery date, you’ll have to be with her.  Plan to take time off from work and plan on being with her for at least 12 hours straight during delivery.  Plan on helping her if she needs it – some dogs deliver up to 12 puppies and they get very tired after #5 or so.  Sometimes you have to tie chords, etc, and take the placentas away so she doesn’t eat them (can be too much for her). Hope you’re not squeamish!    When she’s done delivering or if she’s too tired to continue delivering, she might need a shot to get her cleaned out (cha-ching!)…


Once she’s delivered, you need to make sure she’s got enough milk and that she doesn’t develop mastitis which would make it impossible for her to feed them.  Then YOU get to do that, every two hours, around the clock.  Even with a healthy mom, stuff happens.  She’ll need to be watched for pyometria – an infection of the uterus which can kill her.

She’d have to have an emergency spay to save her life – BIG CHA-CHING!!!


Ok – so now the babies are 8 weeks old and ready for adoption.  Do you have homes for all of them? If not, you’ll have lots of babies to clean up after.  If you put them in a pound, there’s no guarantee they’ll be adopted – they might be euthanized.

So the long and short of it is – It’s your choice.  Personally, I’ve had the urge to breed a dog or two of mine – I wanted to have more just like them because their personality was so great.  But breeding a great dog doesn’t mean you’ll get great puppies.  I’m sure you’ve met human families with several kids and one of the kids is a real jerk?  Great parents, but one or two of those kids is a real brat.  Well, it’s the same with dogs.  Great parents don’t always produce great kids, or kids with out health issues.  It’s called genetics and they can be tricky.


If you’re breeding to improve the quality of the breed, that’s one thing.  That’s a very expensive one thing, but an understandable one.  Showing, competing and breeding all mesh together and trust me, it takes BIG BUCKS to be in that arena.


If you’re breeding because you think your kids would benefit from it (not sure why – my kids disappear REAL fast when Mom Dog starts pushing), think again. 

I know it’s really tempting.  So if you are (and here comes the part from the animal rescuer), remember that there are not enough homes for all the dogs and cats in this country.  Thousands are put to death every day because there are not enough homes.  It’s a sad thing but a real thing.  So use your brain and not your heart and you’ll benefit.


Hope that helps!


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