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So You Want to Breed Your Bitch

A Consideration for the Would Be Casual Breeder

Vicki Almes
Shimoda Shelties

So you want to breed your bitch. You know what to expect if everything goes right. Your little girl will present you with tiny bundles of joy. She will lovingly nurse them and care for them until they are old enough to be weaned. You and your family will find great joy in watching and playing with these little dolls, and then when the time is right they will all (or maybe you will keep just this one) go off to special homes to live our their lives as cherished companions.

But have you given consideration to what if something goes wrong? I have listed here a few of the problems that I myself have personal knowledge of. Everything listed has happened either to me or to someone I know. These are not isolated incidents. I'm sure other breeders could add miles to my list.

What if during the breeding...

1) The stud dog you have chosen is carrying a venereal disease and gives it to your bitch. She not only doesn't conceive but you have to pay the vet bills to get her infection cleared up.

2) The stud dog you decide to breed your darling to is not experienced. Once the two dogs are joined tightly in a tie, he decides to chase the neighbors cat out of his yard. He bolts for the cat ripping his penis loose and causing your bitch to hemorrhage from within.

3) Your modest girl decides she doesn't want the attentions of this gigolo mutt chosen for her without her consent. She snaps at him catching her tooth on his loose cheek and rips it open sending blood flying everywhere. He retaliates by sinking his teeth into her left eye.

4) You leave your dog with the stud owner because the breeding is not going very swiftly. In fact, it's been three hours and nothing is happening. The stud owners leave the two dogs alone in the back yard. The dogs get out through a tiny hole in the fence and your dog is hit by a truck.

What if during birth...

1) The puppies are too large for your bitch's hips. She never goes into labor, the puppies die and she becomes infected by the decaying bodies.

2) The puppies are coming breach and they drown in their sacks before they can be born.

3) The first puppy is large and breach. When it starts coming your bitch starts screaming, and before you can stop her she reaches around, grabs the puppy in her teeth and yanks it out killing it instantly.

4) A puppy gets stuck. Neither your bitch nor you can get it out. You have to race her to the vet. The vet can't get it out either. She has to have an emergency caesarean section-of course it is 3:00 am on Christmas day.

5) A puppy is coming out breach and dry (the water sack that protects them has burst). It gets stuck. Mama tries to help it out by clamping her teeth over one of the back legs. The head and shoulders are firmly caught. Mama pulls on the leg, hard, peeling the flesh from the leg and leaving a wiggling stump of bone.

6) A dead puppy gets stuck in the birth canal, but your bitch is well into hard labor. She contracts so hard trying to give birth that her uterus ruptures and she bleeds to death on the way to the vet.

What if directly after birth...

1) The mother has no idea what to do with a puppy and she drops them out and walks away, leaving them in the sack to drown.

2) The mother takes one look at the puppies, decides they are disgusting droppings and tries to smother them in anything she can find to bury them in.

3) The mother gets too enthusiastic in her removal of the placenta and umbilical cord, and rips the cord out leaving a gushing hole pulsing blood all over you as you try in vain to stop the bleeding.

4) Or, she pulls on the cords so hard she disembowels the puppies as they are born and you have a box full of tiny, kicking babies with a tangle of guts the size of a walnut hanging from their stomachs. Of course all the babies must be put to sleep.

What if when you think you are in the clear...

1) One or more of the puppies inhaled fluid during birth, pneumonia develops and death occurs within 36 hours.

2) The mother's milk goes bad. You lose three of your four puppies before you discover what is wrong. You end up bottle feeding the remaining pup every two hours, day and night. After three days the puppy fades from infection and dies.

3) The puppies develop fading puppy syndrome you lose two. You are bottle feeding or tube feeding the last remaining baby. It begins to choke and despite your efforts to clear the airway, the pup stiffens and dies in your hands.

4) Your bitch develops mastitis and her breast ruptures.

5) Your bitch develops a uterine infection from a retained placenta. Her temperature soars to 105. You race her to the vet, he determines she must be spayed. He does the spay in an attempt to save her life, you pay the hundreds of dollars bill. The infection has gone into her blood stream. The infected milk kills all the puppies and the bitch succumbs a day later.

6) All the puppies are fine but following the birth your bitch develops a hormone imbalance. She becomes a fear biter and anytime anyone tries to pick her up she viciously attacks them.

7) Mom and pups seem to be fine, the puppies are four weeks old and are at their cutest. But one day one of the puppies disappears. You search everywhere but you can't find it. A few days later another puppy is gone. And another. You can't figure how on earth the puppies are getting out of their safe 4' x 4' puppy pen. Finally there is only one puppy left. The next morning you find the mother chomping contentedly on what is left of the last murdered puppy.

What if the new homes aren't so happy...

1) You give a puppy to a friend. Their fence blows down so they tie the puppy outside while they go to work. A roving dog comes along and kills the puppy. Your friend calls you up to tell you about the poor little puppy and asks when you are having more puppies.

2) You sell a puppy to an acquaintance. The next time you see them you ask how the puppy is doing. They tell you that it soiled their new carpet so they took it to the pound. You call the pound. They tell you puppy was euthanized two days ago.

3) You sell a puppy to a friend (you give them a good price and payments). They make a couple of tiny payments. Six months later they move to an apartment. They ask you to take it back. You take it back and of course the payments stop. The dog they return is so shy, and ill mannered from lack of socialization and training it takes you a year of work providing socializing and training to be able to give it away.

4) You sell a puppy to a wonderful home. They love her like one of the family. At a vet check done by their vet it is determined that the puppy has a heart murmur. (Your vet found nothing when he checked the puppy before it was sold.) They love their puppy and want the best for her. They have an expensive surgery done. The puppy is fine. They sue you for medical costs. They win, because as breeder you are responsible for the puppies genetic health.

5) You give a puppy to your mother. She is thrilled. Two years later the puppy starts developing problems. It begins to develop odd symptoms and is suffering. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of tests later it is finally discovered that the dog is suffering from a terminal condition that was inherited, possibly from your bitch since you know nothing about her family lines.

So you gotta ask yourself: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, "breeder ?"

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