Actually, having a litter is healthy, normal, and natural. There are dangers associated with schutzhund, agility, police work, SAR, but we do not suggest people not train their pooches.
I think a better answer is that many, by far the majority of bitches are spayed or are never bred, and they mature into awesome pets without any recognizable lack for not having whelped and raised a litter.
Breeders will probably tell you that their favorite bitches, are those that were bred and raised litters. Probably. Out of my many dogs most of whom have never been bred, I have one that has never been bred that I consider exceptional with respect to my group, and another that has been bred but has never whelped a litter -- also exceptional. But then, we choose to breed the best of the best, so, it is far more likely that we will favor those bitches who have whelped litters -- because we considered them a cut above before ever breeding them.
I do believe there is a change in bitches who have experienced whelping and raising a litter. How can you tell? She would have matured 4-6 months in either case. You cannot measure a bitch's temperament/maturity before pregnancy and after the pups are ready to go home and say, she has moved x maturity-units, and then go back to where she was before and measure again without having been bred.
You cannot take two littermates, and say, "See, Maggie had a litter and she has moved y maturity/temperament units more than Sophie who was not bred." It doesn't work that way, Maggie and Sophie have a different set of genes, even though they are littermates.
But, when you have groups of dogs, you can notice patterns. My bitches who have been bred and have whelped litters tend to fill out sooner, and hold their weight better than the bitches who remain intact, but have never been bred.
And there is a difference in how they mature. I never breed a bitch before 2 years, and some before they are 3-4 years, so they should already be at least young adults, or totally mature. But it adds a component that is hard to define when a bitch undergoes this.
Maybe it is akin to working through a sixteen week program for training and trialing a dog in a specific venue, where you work with a group, with the dog, every day. At the end of that program you are going to have both experienced something and be bonded in a different way.
Personally, I like to see a bitch interact with her puppies, both prior to 8 weeks and as they grow out. It is something missing with those that have never been bred. It is something I miss, the bitches themselves do not give any impression that have missed out on anything -- that is kind of a human trait/ attitude.
It is incredibly fun to watch a bitch that has not been bred play with a puppy too. But it is different. I watch closer and I will stop the session sooner, because it is a less-known quantity. Some bitches are awesome with their own puppies and not so great with others, others are awesome with all puppies. It is highly individual. I just trust a bitch who has had pups with a young pup (not hers)right off the bat, more than a bitch who has never experienced motherhood.
Of course the answer you will hear from everyone is not to breed for a number of reasons, not without merit. If every bitch pup were to throw just one litter of puppies, in 6 months our canine population will triple or quadruple, and that number would then triple or quadruple in another 6-12 months, and that number.... Within a short 3 years we would be slaughtering puppies like vermin.
And there are a lot of other reasons not to have a litter. It is not something to just do once, just because, and certainly not to do it simply because your pet might miss out on something if you don't.
Jenna, RN CGC & Babs, CD RA CGC HIC
Heidi, RA CGC
SG3 Odessa, SchH1, Kkl1, AD
Ninja, RN CGC & Milla, RN CGC
Joy, Star Puppy, RN CGC
Dolly CGC & Bear CGC
Last edited by selzer; 03-18-2016 at 09:33 PM.