Why dog breeding is not a casual hobby, or a business
“Responsible owners research their breed before choosing a dog that will best fit their lifestyle.”
“Responsible breeders know that purpose-bred dogs are predictable which helps owners make the right choice for their family.”
These are strange times we are living in, indeed. We are all spending our days differently, whether we are furloughed, redundant or just working from home, online and via Zoom. So it is not surprising that we are reflecting on our lives and how we are living. I am not at all surprised that people are realising that NOW is the perfect time to get a dog.
Everyone should have a dog (or 5!) They simply make life better. Always present whether you need them or not, keeping you company. They demand attention, through affection and play, which is the best way to soothe your soul. Dogs will amuse you every day, through their antics and interactions. And of course walking with a dog is the absolutely best start to your day. Whatever the weather, having a dog by your side is brilliant.
Don’t get a dog NOW?
Sadly, dogs are not toilet roll (it’s a pandemic joke!) We simply CANNOT rush out and buy a dog. We CANNOT demand more dogs are made – it just doesn’t work like that.
Yes, some breeders may be able to bring their plans for the next one or even two litters forward. If you have a number of breeding bitches, you may decide to have the next litter from one of these this year, rather than next year. BUT BEWARE! The more puppies the public demand, the more likely buyers are to get one from an unscrupulous person, who will take your money and lie to you. Heartache will be yours, as your dog becomes ill and dies, or just doesn’t turn out how you thought.
Here are some reasons why it is a BAD idea to ‘just have a litter from your pet dog’.
1. It’s not healthy
Having puppies really sucks the health right out of dogs. It is NOT something than can be done on a whim. The Kennel Club require that dogs are only allowed to have litters between the 2 and 8 years of age and they will only accept 4 litters for registration. They do NOT allow more than one litter per year.
Bitches generally have two ‘seasons’ per year, which is the fertile period during which they can be mated. Their first season is at around one year old, so they could potentially then have two litters per year, for 8-10 years. Imagine that? What would that do to a dog? Would you want that for your dog? Think about what that would do to them?
I take the utmost care of my dogs. They have top quality food, plenty of exercise, stimulation and training. But it still really takes its toll on them. I only have three litters, if they are able to cope with it. Not four, that’s too many.
2. It’s time-consuming
Having a litter of puppies takes time. A lot of time. I reckon I spend around 5 hours a day, or 35 hours a week, for 8 weeks, on each litter of puppies. Not to mention a great deal of time preparing for the litter before it arrives. Then supporting the new owners once the pups have gone.
This time includes:
- being there for the labour and birth (usually through the night)
- getting up several times during the night to check on the puppies, so they are not crushed and are feeding successfully – for a couple of weeks
- cuddling the puppies (a couple of hours a day should cover it)
- talking to the new owners and preparing pupdates for them
- having visitors to the house to show off the puppies (around 150 per litter for me)
- cleaning up after the puppies (about an hour a day doing this)
- providing a stimulating and enriching environment
- taking pictures (obv!)
- feeding the mum, then the puppies endlessly
- putting them outside
- bringing them inside
- taking them for their microchips and health tests
- preparing their puppy packs
Sounds terrible doesn’t it? Of course it is brilliant having puppies, but I cannot stress enough what hard work it is! It is exhausting at times.
3. Finding homes
When I started out, over 10 years ago, I was told that finding the homes is the hardest part of the breeding process. I thought ‘well it can’t be that hard, everyone will want one of my pups’. Wrong! It’s a nightmare.
Yes, everyone thinks your puppies are SO cute. But that doesn’t mean they want one. Or that they are the right home for them. You will be let down by people, who seem really keen, then drop out for no reason. Then there are people who come and look at your gorgeous pups and then say ‘Well I wanted one a bit more…’ God, that’s so annoying!
4. Vetting homes
People lie. All the time, so it’s really hard to believe them when they say they know all about your breed of dog, or that it’s exactly what they’ve been looking for.
I’ve produced over 50 puppies now, over the past decade. I’ve had two go to new homes. One came back to me at 13 months and was successfully rehomed within days. One was re-homed to friends of the owner, as he went travelling. None of my puppies have gone into a rescue.
I know that for certain, because I keep in touch with my owners and they with me. I vet my homes rigorously and then support them as required. It’s hard work!
5. It’s expensive
You won’t get rich having a litter of puppies from your pet dog. If you want to do things even half well, they need health testing first, which is expensive and time-consuming.
Then you need special food, bedding, runs, toys, and other equipment. It all adds up! I always spend money on bits to add to the puppy pack, partly because I am Assured Breeder, but also because I want my owners to have everything they need for a great experience with their new puppy. A photo book is a lovely keepsake.
It’s not just the financial cost though. Having puppies takes its emotional toll on you. Things can go wrong, people can mess you around, or cause you worry. It’s really hard and there have been many occasions when I think this litter will be my last.
So why do it?
I carry on because for me, it is a passion. Producing amazing dogs that enrich people’s lives and bring joy every day; it’s a brilliant thing to have in your life. Under the right circumstances.
But when I’m receiving 5 enquiries PER DAY for puppies I cannot produce, I get frightened that people will be conned into buying puppies that have been carelessly, thoughtlessly brought into the world, only to be just as carelessly dumped when things don’t turn out to be the cute, fluffy dream you imagined. Please take care?
If you want to see more videos and photos, please go to the Dentbros Dogs Facebook page.
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