Responsible Dog Breeding
An art that can only be mastered with love, empathy, and passion!
“To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes,” the fox explained in “The Little Prince.” “But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . .”
The fox in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s famous novella, Little Prince, desired to be tamed and through the process he grew from being something ordinary to something unique. However, beauty is seldom seen without its companion, Mortality. And thus, when the fox saw his blond-haired master leave the planet, he wept — because the process had brought with itself attachment and the fox felt the presence of his companion very deeply.
Today, the canine covenant holds as true as it did in the novella. When an owner takes responsibility of a dog, the dog barters away his friendship for the price of his master’s friendship, care and love. This responsibility comes with some basic guidelines to care for the dog by taking them on walks, cleaning after them, making sure they are treated for in terms of their health and nutrition and providing for them with a warm bed and a dozen squeak toys.
For dog breeders, this responsibility does not only stay limited to their dog but also to however many pups that follow when they first decide to breed their dog. It is quite natural to want to retain the physical and behavioral characteristics of your favorite breed, but many often forget that when you mate the dog, they usually have more than one puppy at a time. And while we may want to believe the time old axiom, “like father, like son,” it may not hold true for all — or even any — pups in the litter.
As a responsible dog owner, it is vital that you take into consideration which female or male dog you choose that you want to mate with your dog and whether either of them has any health condition that may pass onto the next generation, or their new owners. Additionally, you hold primary responsibility for finding homes for the puppies that you do not want and that, unfortunately, is not easy due to the lack of space in many animal shelters. Many breeders lack the foresight to plan for these circumstances and end up giving the pups up to unhappy homes, puppy mills or overcrowded animal shelters where they put those pup’s life at serious risk.
Alternatively, if you are unable to determine a stable plan or be held responsible for an entire litter that you may or may not want, you could also start by contacting the person or organization from where you obtained your breed. It is possible that there may be dogs of the same breed that you can get without having to go through the whole process. Another option could be to visit a local animal shelter to rescue a homeless pet. What you may find may not be the same breed, but it could sure turn into a valuable addition to your family.
Breeding dogs is an exciting and challenging task for many people. It involves some science, some art and a whole lot of passion and the results are truly rewarding if done responsibly. However, keep in mind that this is a process, not a science experiment, and it involves time, money and an avalanche of emotions.
As a breeder, begin with the ambition to improve the breed quality rather than the quantity. Every dog is unique, and as no two humans are alike, the same applies to dogs. As a responsible owner, your priority should be to avoid “kennel blindness” — where breeders are incapable of criticizing their breed and understand their good and bad points thus being incompetent to make the decision of whether their dog should be bred or not. Next, proceed further with a solid foundation of research on breeding. Be sure to understand your breed, about canine health and training, and ask questions from breeders who have bred your breed.
In conclusion, it is important that you understand breeding and its pros and cons fully before you embark on this excitement filled journey. Take notes, empathy, and passion and be ready to be part of a process that will surely hold a lot of surprises for you!