SO YOU WANT A
LITTER OF PUPPIES?
"To make a lot
of money." Do you realize the
expense involved in such items as
advertising, vet bills, stud fee,
food, etc., to name a few?
would be good for the children to
watch the birth and play with the
puppies as they grow up."
Actually, the "gory" parts of the
whelping repulse most kids, who are
all too anxious to just skip the
viewing of the miracle of birth you
have planned for them to see. And a
litter growing up is too rowdy for
most kids who are usually totally
disinterested or absolutely
terrified of the leaping creatures
with the sharp nails and teeth. If
you want the kids to see a puppy
grow up, it's usually better to buy
love Fido and we want one just like
her." The chances of getting one
"just like her" are slim indeed.
everyone who comes to the house and
sees Fido wants a puppy when she has
a litter." Just wait until your
litter of 12 is ready to go to their
homes and watch all those people
back out with excuses like...."The
kids aren't old enough."...."The
kids are too old now to be bothered
with caring for a dog."......"We are
going to have a baby."...."The rug
is too new."...."The house is too
small."...."We'll be moving in 3
months."....."Grandma doesn't like
dogs."...."Our old dog hasn't died
yet."....."It might not get along
with the cat.".....and the list goes
on and on!
really love little puppies."
You'd better be sure you love them.
You can't fully imagine how much is
involved, such as the mess a litter
makes. Can you put up with the
cleaning that is constantly needed
in caring for the litter? There is
no way to explain how tired you get
of scrubbing up after the puppies,
their whelping box, the yard,
kennel, or wherever they are kept.
They dump their food and water the
minute you put it down, step in it,
and drag it through whatever else
may be in the puppy box, and with 6
or 8 or 12 puppies, there's always
something else to be cleaned up too!
understand the RESPONSIBILITY you
will have with a litter? It's
not just Fido having the litter and
caring for it until they are ready
to go. Most of it is up to you and
you're tied to the litter like any
new mother, only you can't take the
litter with you to your in-laws for
the weekend, or anyplace else for
that matter, so you'd better be
content to spend all too long,
because you have to be there to feed
the puppies four times a day.
Now that you have
some idea of what is involved other
than playing with those cute, cuddly
puppies and are still determined to
breed, here's something else that
should be considered.
Is your bitch of
QUALITY to breed? Do you know her
faults as well as her virtues? Does
she meet with the standard of the
breed? Is she in good health? Has
she been tested free of the genetic
defects associated with the breed?
Do you have customers so you won't
have to sell the puppies at a price
below market value or take them to a
If you can answer
"yes" to the above and haven't lost
the determination to try your hand
at raising a litter, then read on...
Get an opinion of
your bitch from a few reputable
breeders. Find out what they think
are her faults and her virtues.
Learn about any
problems that exist in your breed
such as hip dysplasia, eye
disorders, etc. Study the breed
standard yourself so that you are
familiar with it when looking at and
evaluating possible stud dogs. Get
several reputable breeder's opinions
of a stud dog who will enhance your
bitch. Go to see as many of the stud
dogs and their offspring as you can.
After you have
decided on a stud dog, take your
bitch to the vet and have all
necessary health clearances done
($$$$). She should have a general
health check-up and the vet will let
you know if any vitamin supplements
are necessary. This exam should
include: a worm check (take along a
stool sample) , a heartworm check,
brucellosis test, updating of
vaccinations, blood panel. Don't
forget, all this is going to cost
money, but it's necessary, part of
planning for a healthy litter.
Now while you wait
for her to come into season, read
all you can on your particular
breed, breeding, whelping, and
Start saving all
your newspapers and have your
friends do the same (remember what
we told you about clean-up?) You'll
need all the newspaper you can get
your hands on.
Have a whelping
box built or, if you are handy,
build one yourself. More $$$$.
When the bitch
comes in season, contact the stud
dog owner with whom you have
previously made arrangements
regarding the breeding. You will be
advised on when to bring your bitch.
Plan to pay the stud fee at the time
of breeding ($$$). There may also be
a boarding charge if your bitch is
to stay with the stud dog's owner
($$$). Be sure you understand in
advance what the payment of the stud
fee is guaranteeing. The suitable
stud for your bitch may be some
distance away involving additional
traveling expense ($$$). Getting
your bitch bred isn't always as easy
as you might imagine and may require
repeated trips to the stud dog.
After your bitch
is bred you have about 63 more days
to do more reading and thinking, and
laced with the good thoughts about
the precious darlings will be some
horrible thoughts about what can go
wrong and how much it will cost you,
both financially and emotionally.
We hate to keep
dwelling on this but things DO go
wrong occasionally and you should be
prepared in case it happens to you.
(1) What if your
bitch has problems and requires a
Cesarean section or other extensive
vet services ($$$)?
(2) What if the
(3) What if she is
not in whelp or has a miscarriage?
(4) What are you
going to do with 10 six month old
puppies that you can't sell, give
away, or have the heart to put to
sleep? Do you have adequate
(5) What if your
bitch can't or won't nurse the
puppies? Are you prepared to feed
them every two hours for the next
(6) And worst of
all, what if Fido dies while
whelping or afterwards? Will it have
been worth it?
The days pass, and
Fido whelps her puppies without any
problems, but you still have to take
her to the vet to be checked over
within 24 hours of delivery. She
will probably get injections to
prevent infections ($$$). Lucky for
you, Fido whelped 10 healthy
They are almost 6
weeks old now and in two weeks it
will be time to sell them. First
they will all have to make a trip to
the vet. Their check-up will include
shots and a worm check with
medication if necessary (10 x $$$).
Now that you know
they are healthy and ready to go,
you'll want a breeder to see just
how gorgeous they are and how great
you did on your first try. Of
course, you think they are all show
quality and worth show prices. But
again be prepared because you might
be told the following:
(1) The best male
has only one testicle.
(2) The next best
male toes out badly (but has both
(3) The really
pretty bitch has a bad bite.
(4) The smaller
bitch has a proper bite but her
topline is bad.
(5) The bitch with
the prettiest head is cowhocked.
(6) There are four
who are average, nothing really
wrong but nothing outstanding
There is one who
is show quality. The "show quality"
one is the one you were going to
keep just as a pet because the kids
liked it best (another mouth to feed
$$$) and you're feeling down at the
breeder's opinion of your litter.
But you're told to cheer up, one
outstanding puppy is better than a
lot of people get out of a litter
and you should consider this a
successful breeding, Some
consolation when you were going to
sell them all as show puppies!
Now you have your
litter graded and priced accordingly
and you are ready to sell them. By
this time, are you knowledgeable
enough about your breed to be the
expert every buyer assumes you are?
Are you prepared to answer questions
on training, housebreaking, feeding,
grooming, etc.? Are you prepared to
answer these questions not only at
the time of purchase, but months
later or when someone calls at
midnight because the dog isn't
eating right? Can you direct buyers
to obedience classes, breed handling
classes, help them get into showing,
recommend a vet, etc.? Remember, you
are now the breeder and the
responsibility doesn't end when a
puppy is carried out the door. Do
you have a pedigree ready to go with
each puppy, as well as the
registration forms? Are you prepared
to advertise extensively ($$$) if
If you have a good
bitch and have bred to a stud dog
owned by an interested breeder, they
may send referrals to you, but don't
depend on others to sell your
puppies, and advertising expenses
can really add up. Don't expect the
buyers to flock to your door the day
the puppies are ready to go. It may
take weeks, or even months, before
they are all sold. This results in
lots of food costs and more trips to
the vet ($$$).
We hope that if
you breed your bitch you do it the
right way and only for the right
reasons and put lots of time,
thought, and love into your
THERE ARE TOO MANY UNWANTED
PUPPIES PUT TO DEATH EACH YEAR DUE
TO IRRESPONSIBLE AND IGNORANT
BREEDING. DON'T LET ANY OF YOUR
PUPPIES END UP THIS WAY.
A Breeder's Formula
Questions to ask your breeder
10 Rules of Ethical Breeding
Recognizing an Unethical breeder
So you want a
Spay/Neuter our Pet