Dog breeding, when is it okay to breed your dog

Every year hundreds of thousands of dogs are put to sleep in the United States. These are shelter dogs. Dogs that ran away from home, dogs that were dropped off at the shelter because their owners didn’t want them, and dogs that were taken from neglecting owners.

This is a tragedy. What a horrible way to treat who we call “Man’s Best Friend”. I believe that most of this needless death could be avoided through a few responsible practices on the part of dog owners.

The main and number one reason that we have so many euthanized dogs every year is due to poor breeding practices. To put it simply, there are far too many unwanted dogs born to far too many irresponsible dog owners.

In my years working with dogs I have come across many dog owners who want to breed their dogs. I often ask them why they want to breed and the answers, in my opinion, are crazy.

“Well, I want my kids to be able to witness the miracle of birth.” I have heard this one a number of times. This is one of the worst reasons you can have to breed a dog. If your main desire is education then buy a book about animal reproduction. Rent a documentary about animal breeding, don’t bring more animals into the world. Bringing an entire litter into the world just so your kids can see a birth is irresponsible. What often happens to the poor puppies is that they are given away to friends and neighbors or out in front of the local Wal-Mart. The potential owners are never pre-qualified to determine if they would be a good dog owner. The net result is often a new dog owner who is completely unprepared for a puppy. How many of these puppies end up at the shelter when their owners decide they can’t handle a puppy? There are no accurate statistics but the hundreds of thousands of dogs in shelters are a testament to this practice.

“I think it is only fair to allow my dog to have a litter. She is such a sweet dog she should have the chance to be a mother.” Ahhhhh! I scream inside every time I hear this phrase. Just because you have a sweet, female dog doesn’t mean that you should allow her to have puppies. Your dog doesn’t have a ticking biological clock urging her to be a mom. Sure, instinct kicks in when she goes into heat but if you spay your dog she won’t come into heat. Besides, as the human owner with a better and more elevated level of judgment, you should be the one who determines if she should be a mom, not her.

I am a huge advocate of responsible breeding practices. I support dog owners and dog breeders who breed dogs in order to improve their chosen breed. That is to say, breeders who recognize a fine representative of a breed and breed that dog with another fine specimen in order to theoretically improve the breed. These breeders then responsibly screen potential owners to make sure that their puppies will be raised by good dog owners.

The consequences of poor breeding are ugly. Please, don’t breed your dog for the wrong reasons.