|02-27-2014, 12:06 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2013
Pros and cons of breeding
I saw this paragraph posted on a different breed forum and I thought it was just perfect, so I thought I would share. It's in response to people who want to breed their dogs for no real valid reason:
"Pros to breeding - Continuing a proven line of qualities, traits and characteristics of an animal for an intended purpose, while knowing the complete disposition and attribution of the offspring.
Cons to breeding - 1) He or she's the best dog you've ever had.
This is the number one reason people give for breeding their dog.
And I want you to know that I believe you. I think he or she probably IS the best dog on earth. And I'm thrilled, as a dog lover, that you feel that way.
However, EVERYONE feels that way, about at least one of their dogs and possibly several. And you would (I hope) feel that way if your dog had come from a rescue or a shelter. Being good, even being great, is just what dogs DO. Dog souls are incredibly attuned to human souls, and we bond with them in a wonderful way that allows us to feel without a hint of self-deception that this is the BEST dog in the entire world.
It's an incredibly BAD reason to breed, though.
Every dog you see walking down the shelter row is the best dog in the world too. What does your dog offer that those dogs do not? Is she more loving, more loyal, more empathetic? No, because those are just part of being dog. Is she cuter? Maybe, but is she really so cute that you want somebody to buy one of her puppies instead of rescuing a dog?
The next thing people usually say is "I want just one puppy from her because she's so wonderful."
I understand this one too. The lives of dogs are so tragically short compared to ours; it's normal to look at your beloved pet and start ticking down the years until she's not there anymore. You wake up and all of a sudden he's four, or five, or six, and his life is half over. The ticket to his immortality seems to be to get that one precious son or daughter from him.
I feel the same way. I can't stand thinking about my dogs not being here. The ones that have died have taken an enormous piece of me with them. But here's the absolute, unvarnished truth:
You will not get your dog in his or her son or daughter.
You are, in fact, far MORE likely to get a dog that you actively despise. I am not kidding about this. You won't get your dog back any more than one of your kids "is" your husband or wife. There are brief moments where you think "Wow, Josh looked just like his dad when he did that," but they are brief and they are much overshadowed by all the ways in which Josh is like Josh, not like either of his parents.
I have had the opportunity to keep puppies from each of the dogs I loved the most. So far, Clue's daughter is the ONLY ONE I feel even an ounce of real affection for. Seriously. I tried to keep a total of three daughters of my absolute heart dog of all heart dogs, Lucy, and I couldn't stand them. We had no connection, no heart-to-heart communication. I knew I'd done the right thing when I placed them and their new homes said "She's the best dog on earth." Clue's daughter Juno I like an enormous amount, but I like her for who SHE is, not because she has any real resemblance to her mom. In fact, she's not very much like her mom at all.
2) Your friends all want a puppy.
No they don't.
Yes, I know they JUST told you how much they want a puppy. They may be on the couch beside you right now, and say "Of course I want one of Peekie-LumLum's puppies!"
It is a lie.
At some point in my dog-breeding life, I have had every single person I know say "Oh, please let us know when you have a litter!" or "I want one just like her; she's wonderful" or "Wow, can I please have one of your puppies?"
You know how many of my friends actually purchased one of my dogs? NONE.
Not a single friend has ever purchased a puppy from me; I have given dogs to a couple of them but only under very special circumstances where I went after THEM. NO sales, not even any inquiries about discounts or free puppies. ZIP.
Friends who "want puppies" disappear. They always do. When the time comes, it's not the right timing or they're moving or they just started a new relationship or they're having a baby or one of a million other things.
I have watched many, many times as people have bred their dogs because all their friends want one. And EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. they're left with homeless puppies, huge vet bills, and are asking about whether a rescue organization will take the puppies. This is WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
Do not, do not, do NOT count on friends, family, neighbors, or acquaintances taking or buying your puppies; it is not only an invalid reason for breeding, it's probably the worst of all.
3) She's from a great bloodline.
So are most of the pet-quality (non-breeding-quality) dogs that we show breeders produce.
We might breed the number-one dog in the nation to the number-one bitch in the nation and the majority of the puppies will NOT be worth breeding. Saying that a dog is from a great bloodline is like saying "My parents are both attractive." Sure they are, but that doesn't mean that all their kids are going to be as attractive as they are. You're likely to have a sister who is much better-looking than you are, and you may be much more attractive than another member of your sibling group. Genes do not always combine fortuitously.
There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dogs out there with not just great pedigrees but superlative ones. "Great bloodline" is NOT a brag or anything that shows that your dog outqualifies any other.
4) He's a male.
It takes two to tango. However, the vast majority of males, even wonderful show dogs, will never reproduce. And those that do are ALWAYS sought out BY THE BITCH OWNER. Aside from a tasteful ad in the breed magazine, if you own a boy you are not EVER going to be in the position of soliciting mates for him. It is considered to be the ultimate sign of a poor breeder.
If you own a boy, you should count on NEVER breeding him, even if you have shown and finished him, so that it's a nice surprise if anyone ever approaches you. If he's NOT beautifully bred and a champion, nobody is EVER going to show up looking to use him. You'll be one of those douchebags posting on Craigslist or Kijiji about how your Maltese Stewie makes great puppies and for $250 or pick of the litter he'll get your dog pregnant. DO NOT BE THAT DOUCHEBAG.
5) I want to make a little money.
I have talked about this every which way from Sunday, and every time I KNOW there are people saying "Whatever; she's just trying to kill off the competition. I can do math too; five puppies at a thousand bucks a piece cannot POSSIBLY mean you do not make a profit!"
Here's the truth: I do not perceive you as competition. We are in desperate need of more good breeders. If you actually want to be a good breeder, I will bend over backwards to help you and I will cheer you on every step of the way.
I used to think the same way. There was no possible way that you could not make money on dogs when the purchase prices were so high. And then I actually bred a litter.
I can spell out the numbers, but they'll quickly become outdated. So here's the way it works in concrete terms:
- The stud fee will be one puppy's purchase price.
- The cost to get the dog pregnant will be another puppy's purchase price.
- You must reserve (have in cash or a credit card) the full purchase price of another puppy in case your bitch needs a c-section.
- It will cost you between two and three puppies' prices to raise the litter and get them out the door at eight to ten weeks.
I have found this to be incredibly consistent across the litters I have bred. Between five and six puppies' purchase prices are consumed between conception and ten weeks. So unless you have more than six puppies, you are immediately in the hole.
When you add up the amount you spend to pay for the normal care and upkeep of the bitch, which I've found to be between $500 and $1000 per year (and don't forget your other dogs, who are also costing you money to feed and care for), the cost to show her to a championship (count on between $2000 and $15000, and no I am not exaggerating even a tiny bit), the years when she will not produce anything and will not make any money for you, and the inevitable disasters that will cost you thousands in vet bills, you can see that puppies are a drop in the bucket.
It is ALWAYS cheaper to buy a puppy than breed it. ALWAYS. It is ALWAYS cheaper to pay a stud fee than keep your own boys. It is ALWAYS cheaper to spay a dog than breed her. There are simply no exceptions to this rule as long as you are taking the care of the bitch and the puppies that you should be.
If your reasons for breeding have nothing to do with the above five, then you're ready to talk about the legitimate reasons to breed. I'd love to see more people becoming good breeders, and I mean that with every fiber of my being. I'll talk about some of the reasons I personally think are legitimate, and look for your opinions too."
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