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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking about breeding my female GSD but I have a lot of questions because I know virtually nothing about this! I would appreciate your time if you could give me some advice or help me out a little bit! OK first I'll fill you in on my situation... I have a purebred GSD from a very good line, female, 19 months, not sure of her exact weight but she is pretty big! My guess is between 70-80 pounds. Other than her size (weight/height) possibly?? I believe she meets all the correct standards. I don't have a picture of her stacked but I can show you another one just so you can see her... IMO she is downright gorgeous.




I really don't want to become a breeder...But I have heard that its good for them to have a litter of puppies as it gives them the mothering instinct and will make them more aggressive possibly. Is that true? I could be wrong! If I decide to breed her I want to make it worth while and do it right...She is a great dog, I think she could make some great puppies! So some of my questions other than the ones I have already asked are...

1. Besides registration & the papers I got from the breeder, she has no other paperwork. Is there anything else I should or need to get? What shots and/or vaccinations are important for her to have? This might be stupid of me to be asking as I understand that I should take her to the Vet for these things! LoL But I live in a foreign country. So with a language barrier & the fact that things are done differently sometimes, I want to make sure she gets what she needs most.

2. Am I totally crazy for wanting to do this? It is not worth it for just one litter of puppies? If there is anything really important that I should know about or consider while thinking about this, please let me know!! Like I said I don't know anything about breeding.
If you could give me some insight on this I would really appreciate it! Thanks!


-arielle
 

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Quote:But I have heard that its good for them to have a litter of puppies as it gives them the mothering instinct and will make them more aggressive possibly.
Nope! Your bitch could be a good mother or she could turn around and eat her litter. It's rare, but it happens. Do you really want to deal with that? Not too long ago on another forum, a breeder posted a link to a webcam showing his whelping bitch. Well, the whole world bore witness to a bitch screaming in pain, killing at least one of her pups. Not fun.

WHY is your bitch so great? We have TONS of gorgeous dogs out there that truly are beautiful and wonderful to look at but that also should NEVER be bred. In fact, we even have lots of dogs with show and even working titles that have no business stepping into the gene pool! What have you done to prove that your bitch is a dog from which we should all be clamoring for pups? Have you done schutzhund training with her? Does she have a show rating and a koreklasse? What about her hips and elbows- have they been certified clear of dysplasia and other defects by your country's certifying organization? What about her family history? Do you know her ZW score? Do you know what a ZW score is? What about the digestive health of the family? This breed is rife with digestive problems. Do you have any production information on her littermates or any indication that her family produce well?

Say you're all up to speed with your female, you've trained and titled her yourself to SchH1, nothing in her training made you go, "Hmm, I don't like that," her joints are certified clear, and all else is in good order, what of the stud? You can't pair up any ol' stud to a great bitch and expect great results. The stud must be a good genetic match for her lines, be very complimentary, and must be just as good, if not better, than she is. You may have to look outside your area or even your country to find a good sire. Can you afford all that?

Say your bitch is great and you lined up a great sire. Can you deal with the expenses of whelping? What if you have a litter of 15 puppies (it happens) and you need to supplement feeding? Can you do that? Can you afford an emergency C-section at 3am Sunday morning? If you lose your bitch, and yes she could DIE whelping a litter, can you take time off work to care for the pups? Feeding them, making sure they potty, cleaning them, every hour or so around the clock? Is your beautiful bitch's life worth risking just to get some puppies? What if you cannot sell the pups? Are you set up to house, train, feed, socialize, and vet seven puppies as long as they live? Can you imagine dealing with seven six-month-old pups at once? Their vet bills and food bills and training?

Think long and hard about this... you can spay her right now and have a WONDERFUL companion for life. The world is overflowing with mediocre GSDs and a truly good, responsible breeder will only strive to produce the best possible. Please read around the forum as there is a ton more information on the subject.

Welcome aboard!
 

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First of all, total old wives tale about it being good for them or improving their temperment if they have one litter. If anything they turn into a more "bitchy" female.
Second, she should be at the very youngest, 2 years old and have her hips x-rayed and certified to be free of dysplasia.

Everyone has different opinions on what series of vaccinations to give a dog but you really need to look far beyond just the health of the breeding female. I'll leave it at that and I hope you are thick skinned!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Diana.... this is exactly what I want to know.. Like I said, I know nothing about this, and need to know the facts & what to take in consideration. I am in no hurry to breed her & certainly don't take it lightly, I want to do everything correctly if breeding is the direction I decide to go... but I need to know the basics on this so I have someplace to start. Thanks so much for your advice!

-arielle
 

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Also, are you ready to take responsibility for those 6-8 puppies she may produce for the rest of their lives? If you are responsible than you will always have the duty to take back any pup she produces and keep it either for life or until a suitable new home is found. This is a HUGE responsibility. No matter what, if you produce one litter you are a breeder.

Bitches do die during whelping. Are you willing to kill your female for this litter?

The decision to breed should never be taken lightly. Great that you are taking the time to research this before making that decision.
 

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Originally Posted By: NWS_Haven
Second, she should be at the very youngest, 2 years old and have her hips x-rayed and certified to be free of dysplasia.
Actually the two year thing is in the USA. Other countries have other guidelines. I believe in Germany it is 12 months, New Zealand I believe is 18 months so it does vary depending on Country and the OP is not in the USA.

Other than that Diana and Lisa covered most of what I would have mentioned.
 

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In Germany (and FCI countries) you can get hips certified at 12, but you can't breed until 18 months old for females and 24 for males.
 

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I wholeheartedly agree about waiting for the dog to mature, regardless if it is 2 years or 4. Just pointing out that most people seem to think that the 2 year thing is simply for OFA. Since the OP is not in the USA that would not necessarily be the case on the age.
 

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Exactly, that is why I wanted to add that bit of information, because the fact that you can certify hips at 12 doesn't mean at all that you can breed them at that age.

I'm a believer than breeding, even one litter, must be done by breeders. It doesn't mean that you have to go to College to graduate in Canine Husbandry nor that you have to buy a license (as some laws want make us to believe)to become one, but to be a knowledgeable person way before starting to breed. To get involved with the breed, with training in case of working breeds like ours, to meet many, many dogs and many, many people before giving hat step. All breeders started at some point, but most of them got involved with the breed with dogs they never bred and, once taken the decision started breeding with dams and studs selected for that purpose, because our dogs are always the best of the best to our eyes and we need someone else to point why they should or should not give that 50% of themselves to a next generation.

I want to be a breeder someday in the future, it doesn't mean that Diabla is going to be bred, first, I need to see how she matures and to title her, which is going to be difficult giving I'm going back to college, but the main reason I'm not sure if I'm going to breed her is because, with all I've been involved with the breed for the past 4 years and all the people I've known I'm not sure if I Want to be a breeder of a breed so divided into different lines and maybe in the future I'll switch to more working breeds. Bottom line is, if I'm not truly in deep love with the GSD, then I have no business breeding them. (yet I still will have my dark sable male someday)
 

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Also lets assume you do all the health screenings, your dog is breedworthy, she is titled, etc. You find an outstanding male, and you whelp a litter of healthy pups. Mom seems to be mothering well. BUT....something else goes wrong. Mom gets an infection and can no longer care for the litter. It does happen. Do you have the time and resources to feed and stimulate and be the mother of a litter for 6-8 weeks (longer if you don't have suitable homes lined up). By being the mother, I mean feeding at least every 2 hours...stimulating each pup to potty....etc. Lets asume its a small litter of four pups. That means if you start feeding pup number one, burp it and stimulate it, this can all take longer than 30 minutes, same with pups 2-4. Then its time to start pup one again. This means that you are literally doing these things 24 hours a day. I have had to mother a litter of just 2 pups and it was downright demanding. I am not trying to dissuede you but I am not wanting to sugar coat it either. Breeding (whether its only one litter or ten) is serious business, and it is work. I applaud you for wanting to do your homeowrk, and it is important to consider all the aspects involved, including the what if's that are really not a rarity. Also, having just one litter of pups (or ten) will not benefit your dog in any way. It does not make them more calm, or more protective (maybe while she has pups on the ground, but maybe not). As mentioned there are also very real negative aspects that can happen to your female....she could die. So keep doing your research, work towards a title, have the health clearances done.....then decide if its worth it. And if you decide breeding isnt for you, then know that all of your learned knowledge has made you more aware and cautious. I jsut feel that breeding jsut once is still breeding and the decision needs to be given the same consideration as if you were becoming a full blown breeder.
 

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Quote:I have had to mother a litter of just 2 pups and it was downright demanding.
Anyone 'mothering' a litter needs expert advice. Many years ago my ex found a 1-2 day old lost/abandoned kit that I subsequently fostered. A vet provided canned 'Queens milk' replacement & a suitable bottle without additional advice beyond 'good luck'. Fortunately my ex knew I needed to stimulate elimination after feeding.

Tiger Lily physically thrived & grew to be a gorgeous girl before re-homing her b/w 8-10weeks. She was playful & affectionate but she never learned to control her nails & teeth & seriously bloodied whoever she played with. I'd never bred & was too ignorant to know that this control is learned rather than innate. It was actually yrs before I learned that she wasn't just very, very rough/aggressive. (No internet/PCs in those days)

I've long wondered if the vet didn't know or didn't bother to further inform me. Since he sold me the feeding supplies additional info would have been nice. (He actually declined to examine her & said she'd either live or die, probably die).

When 'mothering' pups (or kits), especially if there are only 1 or 2, it's important to be certain they're getting all they need beyond meeting nutritional requirements. Tiger Lily was loved but unsuited to playing with directly. A large dog lacking bite inhibition might be pts.
 

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It is not necessarily good to wait for a bitch to be four years old to have their first litter. If the choice was 18 months or 4 years, I think 18 months would be preferable, given the health checks are in place and the bitch is titled.

Just like with humans, waiting for a bitch to be middle-aged is not ideal. And a two year old bitch is not equivalent to a fourteen year old child. That is way too simplistic a way of looking at it. Currently my bitches are 2 1/2 when I first try to breed them, and I have been ridiculed for waiting that long.

Waiting until your bitch is four though does not mean that you are starting out your program at that point. You are now working with an aged uteris that has been pounded by progesterone each cycle and the bitch, being even more mature may have a much harder time physically and mentally.

Be that as it may, there are really no short cuts to doing the breeding thing right. I think that whelping and raising a litter does mature a bitch. I have not had one become more bitchy, in fact, both of mine mellowed a bit after having a litter.

I do not know what kind of programs are available for training and titling your bitch in Romania. Until you start looking in earnest, you may not know either. However, if this is a real problem simply because of where you live, there should be other things you can do with your bitch to prove her temperament and breed-worthiness. Training her for a profession such as search and rescue might be one thing you might do. Or training her to visit people in nursing homes or hospitals, or shut-ins. It is important that this is not something that proves that the dog listens to you, but that the dog is solid in many circumstances and capable of being handled by other people.

You may not do anything to improve the breed with your dog, but you want to ensure that you do no harm. Improving the breed is such a mixed bag. People "improve" structure in dogs to the point where the dog is unable to perform what it was initially bred to do. People "improve" the temperament to the point where the dogs are incapable of being a relaxed companion or until the dogs are incapable of performing the function that the dogs were originally bred for. My opinion of what improves the breed may be another person's ruining of the breed. Instead of this, ensuring that you do no harm to the breed overall makes some sense.

This means that you have done everything you could to ensure that you are not passing on genetic defects; that you are raising healthy well-socialized puppies; you are placing them with responsible owners who will treat them well, train and socialize them; and that the dogs you are breeding have good temperaments that prove trainablity and sound nerves.

So beyond the health checks, finding some method to prove your bitch's temperament is essential to deciding whether this bitch should be bred. Now is a good time to find out everything you can about her lines, what health problems are there, and what the dogs were like. Ideally, as a breeding prospect you would have wanted to do that prior to selecting the puppy.

Finding a suitable male may be interesting, but you can consider having semen shipped once you find the right male.

Finding the right male can be tricky. First of all you need to assess your bitch. "She is beautiful" is not an assessment. You probably need to find someone who is in the business to honestly assess your bitch so that you can look at her weaknesses and find a male that complements her. No dog or bitch is perfect. But breeding poor feet to poor feet is really bad. Breeding no slope to extreme slope isn't good, and so forth.

If your bitch has only a few minor negatives that are not considered a fault in the breed, you can then start looking for a male who produces well these things.

All of this takes time and money and has no guarantees. You can spend the next 12 months training and proving your bitch, finding the best male and still come up empty when you breed. Or you may have results that are less than you had hoped when you chose the stud.

Breeding one litter makes no sense to me at all. There is far too much time and energy put into doing the thing right to do this for one litter unless you are holding back your best bitch puppy as a foundation bitch for a future program. Even then, your first litter may not have what you are looking for. Generally, people breed one litter and do not feel it is important to do all the homework and checks because they are only breeding one time, and the puppies will go to friends and family.

The fact is, you can probably find good pet homes for your one litter. Probably your bitch will not have complications and will raise her litter just fine. Probably you will do no harm to the breed itself by breeding one litter, even if you do not do everything right. Is it worth the risk? If even one of the puppies you whelped, raised, and sold goes to a home where it gets poor leadership and ends up biting someone. If even one of the puppies falls into the wrong hands and is used as a puppy mill breeding animal. If even one of your puppies has a genetic problem that causes its owners grief. Is it worth it?

My advise to you is to take this baby and find one or more avenues to challenge her mind and her body. Form her into the best SAR dog or the best herding dog, or the best agility dog you can find. Take her out and work with her as a therapy dog. Learn the pup inside out and under every situation, and make a name for yourself in those circles.

When she is near retirement find someone who has a kennel that produces outstanding dogs that do well in those things you have discovered and mastered, and choose a promising pup or a young adult bitch for your first breeding bitch, if breeding still something you want to do.

At this point you will have experience with the breed, with some of the things that the breed is used for, and finding good owners for the puppies will be that much easier because you will then know what you have. And with hope, you will have mentors in the breed or in the sport -- not necessarily your breed. You may also have the help of the breeder of your bitch to beging your breeding program right.

Good luck. We need good poeple to become good dog owners to become good representative of our breed in the working and competition areas, to become ethical breeders. We really do not need people to breed one litter.
 

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Originally Posted By: selzerIt is not necessarily good to wait for a bitch to be four years old to have their first litter. If the choice was 18 months or 4 years, I think 18 months would be preferable, given the health checks are in place and the bitch is titled.

Currently my bitches are 2 1/2 when I first try to breed them, and I have been ridiculed for waiting that long.
Yet one of the health checks that is really needed can't be official until 2 yrs old, so are you saying breed with ofa prelim's or just vet xrays and forget about certifying?

I don't see why you would be ridiculed for waiting until 2 1/2. Most of mine aren't even started until 2 1/2-3 yrs old for breeding.
 

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"Probably your bitch will not have complications and will raise her litter just fine."

My only concern with this statement is that there needs to be a plan in place just in case, because it can and does happen. It is a very real factor that needs to be considered by the OP and every other person debating wether or not to breed. Alot of people who have not bred before do not know the time and strain associated with raising a litter, and there are muliple causes that it can become an issue. I wanted to point this out to the OP so that she can be aware that in the event she chooses to breed her female, that she needs to have a back up plan in place if there are circumstances that her female can not or will not care for the litter. It is not easy, and even someone with he best of intentions can make horrible mistakes that aren't obvious from the get go. Being prepared to handle the worst and not having to do it is IMO much better than only knowing about the best and having to try and cope through the worst ( I hope that made sense).
 

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Pen hip will do hips at 1 year as will the SV. OFA used to do hips at 18 months but changed it to 24 months.

If the dog has an a-stamp or is certified through pen hip -- I would not go with prelims.

From what I have gathered the method used by pen hip seems to give reliable results even younger because it stresses the elasticity, where OFA does not.

My point is not to wait until a bitch is middle aged. If you wait until four, and miss in the timing, your bitch will be 4 1/2 or even 5 before having her first litter. This is simply not good and will be hard on the bitch.
 

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I know SV will do at one year, didn't know that about pen-hip, but neither one is recognized by the AKC.

Oxana didn't have her first litter until 5, she had 3 litters total, all large. She never had any problems. I did do an elective c-section as she was 6 yrs old on her 2nd litter and she was expecting 12 puppies. If there are any studies showing it's hard on the female, I would be interested in seeing it.
 

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Way too many people have lived in homes where puppies were raised as children or have seen grandparents have a litter, or seen litters on farms. Way too many people have raised litters, I know many, mutt puppies, pure-breds that have never had a bitch neglect their puppies or had whelping complications.

Yes, yes, it could happen. Thus the "probably." But telling people that their bitch may die or reject the litter can be quickly ignored as lots of people here are so spay/neuter happy, and rescue oriented (not a bad thing) that they are sometimes so quick to poo poo the idea of breeding that a lot of these comments are discounted.

Sometimes people do hear more of what your are trying to convey if they believe that you are on their side. I AM on their side. I WANT good people to become good breeders. I WANT good people who would like one litter to NOT breed. I do not want to scare them into not breeding. I want them to embrace the thinking behind not breeding.
 

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seltzer i am not against the idea of this person breeding infact, i stated that in my first post, i am wanting her to make her decision based on all the aspects. my main reason for pointing out this aspect is because guess what...i have had to do it, i have been there. i am admittedly not a breeder, but i plan to possibly be someday. before i knew about responsible breeding, i bred shadow..not once but twice. first litter went off without a hitch she was an excellent mom at 2 1/2 years old. second litter, she was an awesome mom as well, except that she developed an infection and her milk was killing the pups one by one. at three days old i had to take over. i hand raised two pups from three days old until old enough for their new homes. was it easy...nope. could shadow have died...yep (and we lost 6 pups). did i have my dog to the vet, yep and she still could have died. did i make mistakes, yes i did and i learned from them. but i want the OP to know that it can happen, and a plan needs to be in place just in case. i have also helped whelp a litter of pups where a pup was stuck in the canal, the mother in ovious pain and distress and the nearest vet office over an hour away with no traffic (granted this was a neighbors dog and i do not know about how much vetting was done etc). first pup was still born, second pup was stuck......i had to help deliver that pup with the vet talking me through it over teh phone. was it easy...nope...did i get bit...yep...did i get the pup out...yep. rushed mom and pup to vet.....pup lived mom died a few hours later. again hand raised this pup. so my concern is only based on experiences. i am glad that you have never had to deal with this or anyone you know for that matter...but i have and its not easy and i wanted to help the OP see the flip side so to speak. i am not trying to use scare tactics, i just think its important to show both the good and the bad. i do understand what you are saying though, i just can't conciously not share that information...to me its an important factor to consider when considering breeding. after all people only have so much time in a day.
 
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