Breeding dogs is a serious business which should be undertaken with a great deal of thought in mind. It is a mixture of art and science, with a little luck thrown in. Before you learn how to breed dogs, you must have at least some knowledge of mating, caring for the bitch in whelp and litter conditioning.
Next, there is type. You will need to have a thorough understanding of the type in order to select good foundation stock. Even the soundest dog, which is perfect in temperament or color, but without that undefinable feature will not bring home the ribbons from a dog show.
Breeding dogs – Genetics
In case you don’t possess a practical knowledge of genetics and breeding principles, you won’t be able to select a stud dog that will produce quality.
In order to breed dogs successfully and intelligently, a dog breeder must know the answers to the following questions:
- How a particular characteristic is transmitted from one generation to another.
- Why some characteristics disappear after a generation, while others don’t.
- Why puppies from one bitch differ from puppies that belong to a sister to that bitch?
A dog breeder must always experiment with the mechanics of heredity within the genetic structure of his specific strain of dogs. If a theory is effective for him, he can use it time and time again. Otherwise, an alternative must be found.
The anatomy of dogs
In order to sketch the human body, an artist needs knowledge of human anatomy in the same way a dog breeder must know what lies beneath the dog coat in order to evaluate the quality of a dog.
However, you don’t have to know all the bones in a dog’s body together with their medical terms, but you need to memorize at least some common terms like croup, patella, pastern, hock as well as understand expressions such as reach of neck, splay-footed, cow-hocked, out at the elbow etc.
For instance, withers tell a lot about the dog when you watch him move. You will never see a quality dog with withers rising and falling abruptly while moving. If withers move, that dog is poorly structured.
To breed dogs successfully, you must be able to know how a dog is built and evaluate his condition, characteristics and type just using your hands, and confirm your findings using your eyes while watching the dog standing or moving.
If you want to start breeding dogs, you need to invest a lot of time and money. If you start with nothing, you will get nothing. Knowledge and interest, together with proper facilities and money for investing in quality stock are some of the requirements for dog breeding.
Paying more for a good quality bitch will pay out over the years. You can’t just hope you will come up with a treasure by breeding a pet-quality bitch to a pet-quality dog. They key is buying a bitch from a professional breeder who already spent years and years weeding out and selecting only the best to carry on bloodlines.
Proper facilities for dog breeding
Depending on the dog breed you have selected, you can allow your dogs to live, sleep and eat with you in the beginning. Eventually, the time will come when you will need to have a designated room in your house where you will whelp and raise your first litter. This room should have good ventilation, adequate heat and sunshine.
If considering building a kennel, make sure it will make your life easier. If this is not the case, then it probably won’t be worth building. Pups are in constant touch with people while kept in home, so it won’t be as easy in a kennel as in the house.
Therefore, as your stock grows it will become harder and harder to give each puppy the necessary time to assure proper conditioning during this critical period.
A kennel should be a safe and happy place for dogs, where they will be amused at all times. Boredom will eventually turn into barking, chewing, fence fighting, weight loss and other undesirable things.
Large cement drainage tiles have proved to be the best boredom-breakers. They come in many shapes and sizes and can be easily moved from one area to another. They are large enough to climb on and off or make a snug tunnel.
Whenever doing some pruning, make sure you keep a few good pieces of branches and toss them into the runs. Dogs like tearing them up or playing tug of war.
Empty cardboard boxes can also provide a lot of energy release for the dogs who like tearing them to pieces. Just make sure they are not joined with staples.
Balls of all sizes cost very little, but can brighten every dog’s day and help develop canine personality. Just make sure they are not small enough to be swallowed.
Pedigree is very important for breeding dogs. Pedigree refers to a blueprint of a dog’s genetic past. What a dog transmits to its descendants will depend on its genotype, rather than the number of champions in its bloodline so often emphasized in red ink in its pedigree.
An inferior breed type cannot produce anything greater than itself although it has an outstanding pedigree. Unless it has the gene combination for a desired trait, it cannot transmit it to its progeny.
Breeding dogs is just like making a stew. The final product will be no better than the ingredients you put in it.
If you want to learn how to breed dogs you will be presented with a big challenge. You will need to capture all the qualities in one perfect, animated package and lock these genes into the genetic line.