Should You Breed Your Dog??

Walking your German Shepherd, you will often come upon people that will say" Wow! What a great looking dog! You should breed it!"
You smile and acknowledge the compliment.  You agree to yourself how beautiful your dog is. "My dog is a great looking dog!"  At times, this dog may be your best friend and the more you think about it  the more you are convinced that he or she is worthy of breeding. Why not keep a puppy or take a stud fee puppy to have another best friend as you get older?
Fortunately or unfortunately, a seed may have  been planted that will require nurturing, a monetary  investment and an emotional commitment for many years of your life.
Gosh!  Maybe those people were right and  I should breed this dog. After all, those cute puppies will sell and bring me money. Surely people would pay to breed to this handsome dog!
Another idea then may come to mind:  my children or grandchildren would learn from the educational experience and marvel at the whole process of reproduction and whelping.
Stop right there! None of the thoughts above should lead you to breed your dog. Breeding your dog should only be done to IMPROVE THE BREED.
Breeding your dog takes a thorough understanding of the breed and it's purposes and should only be done to preserve and enhance those points. This takes a thorough working knowledge of the American Kennel Club standard and those physical traits required to do performance events.
Breeding your dog requires you to look at your dog with a clear picture of what that dogs good and weak points are and then learn from which ancestors those points were passed down. You must be knowledgeable and honest in this assessment and seek out advice from those that are successful in producing superior specimens in the breed. No excuses!
Knowledge comes from research  and then more research is necessary to find a partner for physical compensation and to cement the good features of your dog and it's  pedigree. You should avail yourself of books, magazines, and films and keep an open mind.
Join a local club and your National club, the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc.  Attend the shows and events that the clubs offer and above all look at your dog with a critical eye and compare he or she against the winners in any of the venues.
Another essential part of this picture  requires medical tests to insure the health and well-being of the resulting litter.  X-Rays of hips and elbows that are submitted to OFA for proof of soundness are essential before any mating is even considered.. There are a battery of other tests your vet may recommend as well.  Ask for and take advice.
Is your well loved dog really as mentally sound as described in the Standard?  No excuses here again!  Be honest with yourself!
Read the Standard section on character and realize that a German Shepherd without proper temperament cannot perform the functions for which it was bred. Remember that most puppies become family pets and therefore it is essential that they be sound both mentally and physically.
Breeding your dog with the expectation of making money may soon turn to a reality of mounting bills even in a totally healthy litter.
Your hourly rate of return will indicate you are working for peanuts or most probably for nothing. Tragedy and heartache, may be apart of the equation as Mother Nature can surprise even the most dedicated and knowledgeable breeder and not something for young people to be a part of.
Those cute little balls of fur grow up and if they do not sell at an early age you may find yourself with a major population explosion. What do you do with these dogs? The choices are grim at best.
You must also be prepared to guarantee these dogs, health and temperament,  and take them back if for some reason they are returned to you or have other issues that make them unsuitable. They are your responsibility!
Breeding your dog should be done only TO IMPROVE THE BREED.

Take your dog out to a dog show and enter it to see how it conforms to the breed standard. Talk to successful people and accept their advice and ideas.
Take your dog to a performance training class and compete with it to see how it stands up in competition.
Take your dog herding. After all, this is a herding breed doing what comes naturally.
This all takes a monetary and emotional commitment and requires much of your time.



But what ever avenue you take, do so with the love for our wonderful dogs, and do it a commitment and the intention TO IMPROVE THE BREED.

Copyright Joan F. Fox

photo courtesy of Joan Fox

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