Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Breeding German Shepherds. To breed or not to breed.

So you think you want to breed your dog? To raise a litter of German Shepherd puppies is heart warming and at times it can be heart breaking. You need to be aware of the facts.

Rule #1. Leave the breeding up to the breeders! but if you do want to breed a litter of pups. Know this, its just not throwing to dogs together and hoping for the best. Know your pedigree, Talk to other breeders.
Make sure the lines are clear of any genetic health defect. Hips and elbow are clear and rated by OFA (orthopedic for Animals). Once you have just one litter of puppies you are now considered a breeder. You have now brought life into the world and you are responsible throughout these puppies lives. This means if the new owner can't keep the dog later on in life you are responsible to either take the dog back or help find a new home. You are responsible for this puppy if it has a health issue that maybe genetic . If your client calls you with an issue, take the time to listen. It is a concern to them and yours. Know what your breeding. This is the part of learning. Listing is the difference between a good breeder and a bad breeder.

Rule #2. Don't for one minute think that a child needs to see the miracle of birth. For the bitch this a VERY stressful time. She is in a lot of pain. Imagine having labor for 8 to 10 separate births. The dam has to be in a quite area with just her closest companion. YOU! No other person needs to be around NO AUDIENCE!!

By the time she is ready to be bred. She should have had a health check by your vet, vaginal culture and a brucellosis test. You should have picked out the stud dog that will compliment her and brings out the best genetic traits for the future litter.(Hope you did your home work). Picking a stud dog and doing your research takes time.
After the first breeding mark that on your calender and count sixty three days. You should have three breedings every other day during her fertile period. Talk to your vet about this. During the first four weeks of pregnancy your bitch will require a premium dog food. Increase her intake by 1 1/2 by the fifth week, twice daily. By the time she is in her ninth week her appetite will have decreased due to the fact she has no room for food. So feed her small meals through out the day.
The big day is here!!! I love the labor that starts at 11:00P:M. Its another all nighter!!! You will need towels, dental floss, pair of dull scissors that are sterile. (to cut the umbilical cord. you need the chewing motion. (That is why you use scissors that are dull). When each puppy arrives be ready to step in. I try to let the dam do most of the work, but I do dry each pup, check the mouth for cleft palet, and cut the umbilical cord. Before cutting make sure you tie off the umbilical cord with the dental floss. Let the dam consume a couple of the afterbirths.( each pup has an afterbirth) I take the rest away and discard. I always clean up with each puppy. Putting down fresh newspaper. Puppies are on newspaper for the next three days. Then the indoor/outdoor carpet comes in. This is great footing for the pups.
Number one is the Dam. You will need to take her to the vet after the pups are born for a pit shot. You do not want her to retain a placenta. This will cause an infection in her uterus. If this occurs she will become very sick with a high temperture.( see your vet right a way) Check for mastitus every day.
The demand for milk will increase as the puppies grow. The dam will require more food. Add yogart to her diet daily with a good quality dog food. ( your dogs should always be on a quality dog food).

When the pups reach eight days old, their eyes will open. Their ears will open around day ten. Week three they start to walk and exploring their whelping area. At week seven to 12 weeks they will start to leave home. ( Im skipping alot on developement of puppies. That wil be my next article).

I do not recommend breeding just to have a litter of puppies. Do I think my dog will be better if she has a litter? NOT. Breeding dogs is a commitment. Here are a few sites a person needs to look into before breeding. http://www.gsdhelpline.com/megaoesophagus.htm http://animal.discovery.com/guides/healthcenter/dogs/bones/swimmer.html http://www.offa.org/ These are great sites for problems that might show up later with the pups.

Remember German Shepherds can have up to 13 puppies. Do you have forever homes for these creatures you have created? If not be prepared to keep them till you find them the perfect homes. None of my dogs ever go to home that excludes them from their family. In other words they leave me going into a home as part of the family. Not left in the back yard. I do not place my puppies in homes wanting a watch dog.
If you think you can make a profit breeding dogs think again!!! Breeding is a love of the breed, Not a wind fall. If you do it right you might break even. Maybe?
Please leave breeding to the breeders. Unless your wanting to start the way I did. Learning the hard way and having the drive to create what you want in a German Shepherd.
These are only my thoughts. So many German Shepherds are in rescue that are in need of a homes. This is not a money making deal. So if you want to improve the breed do it right. What a beautiful breed it is. So lets keep it that way.

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