BREEDING SCHEDULES

Many of us, especially those of us who are breeders, know there is no shortage of critics in this business.  The critics are often within our own circles.  Some fellow breeders, who now realize we are in the fight for our lives and livelihood with the ARA’s, HSUS, ASPCA, etc., and the new APHIS/USDA regulations, have been quoted as saying, “We eat our own….and we must stop!”

As a breeder of “Doodles”, otherwise known as “Designer Breeds” or “Hybrids”, we have certainly had our share of nasty emails from “Purists”.  Of course, there are also those that say, “If you don’t show your dogs, you shouldn’t be breeding”.  REALLY?  Let’s just leave it at that.

It’s not just breeding, there are critics in every industry.  Sadly it is “human nature”, as Satan still walks among us until The Day The Lord Returns.  For many, it is to help them deal with their own insecurities.  Knocking others down is a way to help them lift themselves up….or so they believe.

There is nothing more important to us in our business than the health and welfare of our dogs.  As long as they are here with me,  we will do everything in our power to keep them happy and healthy.  They are not just “inventory”.  They are part of our family.  Some may go on to live their lives with other families once they retire from our program.  However, we do all we can to be sure the fit is a good one for our dog, as well as the family welcoming them to become part of their lives.  This goes for our adult adoptions, as well as all of our puppies we sell.

I will not deny that we do make money when things go well. For those that criticize that we are “greedy” (most are ARA’s) in our choice of business because we accept money through the sales of our puppies, I’d like to know….do they accept a paycheck for their job? If so, give it back. Otherwise, you are a hypocrite.  I also work 7 days a week.  Animal husbandry is a full-time and over-time job…..all the time.  Unfortunately, it is a job that is never guaranteed.  We are dealing with nature afterall.  For my loyal customers and friends who have followed us for several years, we know that things can and will go wrong.  Almost always, these issues involve veterinary intervention.  We all also know, these unforeseen issues are never inexpensive.  Just like any well run business, we have overhead.  In animal husbandry, between housing, food, vet supplies, grooming expenses, veterinarian services, etc., this overhead can be and is very expensive.  All too often we are judged by the price of our puppies and how many puppies are in the litter to determined our “assumed profit".  When those who don’t see beyond those numbers do their incorrect calculations, they seem to believe we are making all kinds of money, fast and easy.  I got news for them…but there is not enough time and space to explain it all here, trust me.

One of the greatest misconceptions, therein creating criticism and controversy inside and outside the dog breeding world, is the the debate as to breeding schedules of females and the appropriate age to begin breeding.  We believe in retiring our girls younger than some breeders, around the age of 4 or 5.  That does not mean our way is the right way, but it is our way.  Since we will not breed before the second heat, which is around 14 - 18 months of age, our girls will usually have 2 - 5 litters in their lifetime prior to retirement.  We monitor our girls’ health to be sure they are fit and healthy to produce an equally healthy litter.  There are many things that are outside our control and unforeseen, just as there is within our own human race.  How many parents have questioned themselves with regard to their own child’s health?  Sometimes, we just don’t have all the answers.  However, I believe in my heart that most of us do our best with the ability God gives us.  No doubt, there are exceptions to every rule.  I believe that those that do not try their best will eventually work themselves out of a job.  

When we feel comfortable about the age and health of our girls, and they have produced an awesome first litter, we have at times chosen to breed back to back heat cycles.  Many times our girls may be skipped just due to their timing not fitting our own. I’ve been watching the developments in the veterinarian industry with regard to the science behind the benefits and/or disadvantages of skipping cycles or breeding back to back. Breeders have often been judged harshly, especially by other breeders, if they choose to breed back to back. I have been fortunate enough to find a wonderful group on Facebook that is supportive of all breeding, whether foster/rescue, professional/show, hobby/pet breeders, accidental, or just someone who wants to experience a litter.  None of us have to agree with any or all of the reasons to breed above, but none of us are permitted to judge within this group.  It is well monitored, and I give credit to those that are doing the job for all of us who participate. It is a group to support each member in hopes of ensuring a healthy and safe delivery of puppies.  If everyone on that group is seeking help, than none can be judged for not caring or being irresponsible.  It’s apparent they care if they are reaching out for help.  Below are a few quotes from their “files” section I found very helpful in supporting various breeding schedules.

These are not my quotes.  Let’s just say, “I could not have said it better myself!"

Research On Back to Back Breeding to Support the Science Recently at an AKC Dog Breeding Discussion held at Michigan State University with key note speaker Dr. Claudia Orlandi Ph.D. (AKC's breeder of the year and author of The ABC's of Dog Breeding)shocked many breeders when it was disclosed that there have been scientific studies to show that it is detrimental for dams to skip heat cycles. It was shared that once you have begun to mate a dam that you should NOT skip any heat cycles until she is completely finished breeding. A dam is said to be "finished" breeding when her litter size is drastically decreased. The study involved following females that were bred every heat cycle and females that were bred every other heat cycle. After they were "finished" breeding, the dams were spayed and their uterus dissected.  

 

Those showing most stress, and damage of the uterus were the females that were bred "every other" heat cycle. Part of the rational that skipping heat cycles is harmful stems from the fact that with consecutive heat cycles there is no "flushing action" of the uterus, which normally occurs by having a litter of puppies. The female will go through Estrus no matter if she is bred or not and by breeding a healthy dam back to back, can lessen the chances of the female experiencing pyometra, infections and false pregnancy. The choice to breed or not, should be contingent upon the goals the breeder has and for sure the mental and physical health of the female, above all else.The important information to take away from this study is that a breeder with healthy females does have "choices".

BREEDING BACK TO BACK HEATS: Breeder is breeding every heat cycle (back to back) or breeding every other heat cycle should NOT be a sign of a good or bad breeder. Rather the goals in doing the Breeding, the Mental and Physical state of the mom, the Breeder's ability to have loving homes lined up for all pups produced should be indicative of the quality of the Breeder in question. 

~ In breeding there is no "cookie cutter" way to breed. ~

Goals are why all Reputable Breeders breed and how each Breeder attempts to get to those goals will differ greatly. I am sure most of us have had moments in our life where we have felt self-righteous, usually when we first start out breeding and were very naive, before we found experienced Breeders to use as mentors. We have looked at what someone else is doing with his or her breeding practices and thought "Wow how awful they are doing that" New Breeders learn fast that they do not know everything. They cannot possibly know what others are trying to accomplish in their breeding goals unless they ask, not judge. New Breeders usually learn as they make their own mistakes and mentally mature in the process usually eating a good helping of "humble pie" along the way. New and experienced Breeders should keep their minds open to learning opportunities, from where ever they come from, including breeders of other breeds, breeders of other species, but especially learning from those Breeders who have been, or are successful, in their breeding programs. Bottom line is that a Breeder cannot be open to learning, advancement or growth, if they are too busy being critical of those around them.

 

Breeder has also had to consider that "just because you can, doesn't mean you should". Breeders should use common sense and consider the short and long-term consequences for all their actions.


b© Lawpdoodle K9 Manor 2014