What is Responsible Breeding?
Dogs have been human companions for thousands of years, and during that period they’ve had different roles and job duties - some are helpful farmworkers, some are great in search and rescue, while many are perfect companions. This is true even today. Every breed comes with specific traits that have been preserved over the years. Responsible breeding is what keeps these traits in dogs alive even today.
With breeding comes responsibility, but with adoption, comes humanity. Breeding dogs isn't something that should be taken lightly. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stands for responsible breeding, stating that there is a need and demand for purposefully bred dogs, but they stand for adoption first, especially when it comes to adopting senior pets.
Responsible Breeding Basics
Are you ready to breed a litter of puppies?
This is something that everyone needs to ask themselves before they enter the breeding process. Moreover, they should be able to give a straightforward answer.
As a process, responsible breeding involves the mating of only healthy animals true to their species. Breeding is time-consuming and requires great research, proper preparation, and choosing the best possible forever homes for puppies. Plus, in some areas, breeding includes certain registration steps that should be conducted on time and with the right institutions.
Responsible dog breeding requires knowledge and commitment.
Dog breeding is a way of genetic selection to specific breed standards, which means that dog breeders must have a certain knowledge of the dog's genetics as well.
As for the breeding process, responsible breeders must know the difference between:
- Inbreeding. This is a process of mating close relatives
- Linebreeding. This breeding practice includes at least one dog in the generational pedigree of both sides
- Outcrossing. Stands for a breeding process of mating non-related lines
Breeding to Improve
Before the breeding process starts it’s crucial to know the best age to breed a dog. For example, a female dog shouldn’t be bred before the second or third heat cycle is completed, and cycles can vary from dog to dog.
The majority of female dogs can have puppies between 6 and 12 months, but it doesn’t mean that it should happen, and responsible breeders are well-aware of this.
Those who stand for responsible breeding know that dogs should be given a chance to 'grow up', both females and males. This is a good way to learn if there are any inherited disorders and genetic predispositions.
Responsible breeders will always do their best to improve the health condition of the puppies through breeding, and never to bring it down.
‘Breed to Improve.’ This is a motto that responsible breeders work under.
Responsible breeders know to recognize the bad and good points of dogs before they make the final decision to breed. By doing so, responsible breeders are minimizing minor conditions in dogs later on such as ear infections and skin infections, as well as major health issues, such as heart disease.
Breeding dogs is a serious task that should never be performed by non-experience dog breeders. Those who are not knowledgeable on the topic and don’t know how many litters a dog can have are those who strengthen the ‘backyard breeder’ movement and scale up the number of dogs in the shelters.
Traits of a Responsible Breeder
Responsible breeding requires certain steps that separate responsible breeders from bad breeders.
These steps include the following:
- Truly understanding the commitment when it comes to breeding
- Choosing suitable mates
- Understanding dogs' genetics
- Finalizing contracts
- Dealing with pre-breeding health checks
- Monitoring the mating
- Conducting steps for pregnancy and whelping
- Caring for the puppies
- Consulting with veterinarian throughout the whole process
- Keeping puppies clean, warm, and on a proper diet
- Registering the litter
- Choosing the best home for the puppies
- Sending puppies to their hopefully forever home
- Educating new owners on dog vaccination, microchipping, spaying, or neutering
- Follow up on the dogs’ well-being
Always Prioritize Health
Responsible breeding sets the bar for how pet owners manage the health of their four-legged friends. Without responsible breeding, animal shelters continue to be overrun, and stray animals increase the already heavy burden on humane societies and animal control agencies.
This is why adoption is so important and why adopting a dog is one of the best things that people can do to make pet ownership healthier, stronger, and more humane.
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