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Dog Breeding And Health

by Neil Ewart FBIPDT


‘’It all begins with the breeding’’   The health of the new dog begins from the moment of conception when the sperm fertilises the egg. To be more accurate, the genetics for good health occurred long before the mating took place.  

The successful breeding of dogs is as much a art as a science, and a large measure of luck will enter into achieving the final result, whether it is the perfect show dog or just a pet.  No serious breeder can ignore the laws of genetics and the inescapable effects that genes have on the eventual make-up of the puppies.  The environmental factors and the feeding may be equally important in the rearing of litters.   When a particular dog is used to mate a bitch , remember the influence of the choice of a sire is actually 50% of the composition of the puppy.

But why should anyone want to breed dogs?

Breeding requires skill, dedication and a conscience  .

Many people, who have never tried it,  fondly imagine there are large profits to be made from dog breeding!  As with gambling, only a few lucky individuals will make money.   Consider the likely costs particularly in these inflationary times…

• The cost of rearing and keeping a bitch as it will be, at least, two years before there are puppies to sell.

• The stud fee of a good stud dog.

• Travel costs for visit to stud.

• The costs of rearing puppies until they are ready to go.

• Veterinary costs.

• Registration (and insurance) costs before sale of the pups.

Some Do’s and Don’ts

• DO think very carefully why you want any bitch to have puppies.

• DO make sure she is of a suitable age to be mated.

• DO NOT mate a bitch who is seven, or over.

• DO NOT allow a bitch to have more than one litter a year.

• DO ensure she is in the correct time of her season for the visit to the stud.

• DO choose the stud with great care.

• DO NOT use a stud just because he is cheap or ‘’just around the corner’’

• DO NOT allow the bitch to mate just because you thought it ‘’would be nice for her to have some puppies’’

• DO NOT expect to make money.  There is nothing wrong with coming out on top but it should not be your prime motivation.

• DO expect to spend lots of time with your bitch and her brood .  And be prepared to have to spend money!

• DO ensure your bitch has a full pedigree, has had relevant health checks and is fit and well.  Ensure her vaccinations and worming are up to date before mating.

• DO check that the stud has a full pedigree and has had all relevant health checks.

• DO enquire about hereditary disorders in your breed.

• DO make every effort to breed the best with the best.

• DO NOT go ahead if there is a possibility that you may not find homes for any resulting puppies.

• DO NOT be too disappointed when, in spite of you trying your very best, the eventual litter is not as perfect as you wished. 

The inheritance of factors, both good and bad, is a very complex subject.  An in-depth study requires extensive study. 

To expect anyone to breed puppies which are consistently free of any inherited conditions would be impossible.  If one day the perfect puppy was eventually bred, and eggs from the same dam were stored and cloned, then in theory this perfect puppy could be reproduced endlessly!!!!

A lot of ifs and buts and a nightmare scenario!!

In the meantime, any breeder who does their best by doing their homework before embarking on getting a bitch mated should be prepared to put their hands up when things go wrong.

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