Maybe you are just starting to consider breeding. Or maybe you feel like you are ready to make the jump. Either way, congratulations, welcome and… take a deep breath!
Dog or cat breeding can bring so much joy, but it also comes with a huge responsibility. You need careful planning and preparation to get it right. If not, then it can be costly and can give you a lot of heartache.
Three things that you should know before you ever think about breeding
1. Genetic Testing and Health Testing is Essential
Many breeders believe that by mating a healthy female dog with a healthy male dog, they will produce healthy puppies. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. A lot of times dogs that look perfectly healthy on the outside can have genetic disorders.
For example, there's an eye disease called Progressive Retinal Atrophy which is a recessive gene. You won't see it in the mom or the dad when you breed. But if you breed two dogs with this gene, 25% of the litter will have two copies of that gene. This means they will usually go blind by the time they are three to four years old.
I use the Optimal Selection
for my cats. It's an easy swab. You just pull it out of the package, swab it in their mouth, and send it off. The results will tell you everything you need to know about any genetic disorders they may carry.
I choose Embark
for my dogs. Embark is the best because it offers the full platform including giving physical characteristics.
It is absolutely essential that you do both the genetic and the health testing for dogs. You need to check out their heart, hips, patella, elbows and other breed-specific issues. This will ensure that you are breeding the healthiest well-rounded dogs that you can.
2. Never Put Looks Above Personality and Health
I see this done too much in the show world. I have shown an AKC for a little over three years, I've shown Antica and CFA for around six years.
Animals competing in AKC, Antica or CFA look great according to the breed standard. However, I often witness people administering medicine right before entering the ring. I hate that these animals need medicine to be healthy enough in front of the judges. We shouldn't be breeding that way.
So, if you're thinking about doing anything like that, DON’T! It's not worth it. It messes up all your future lines and causes a lot of problems with everything going forward in your breeding program.
3. Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor is so key to getting it right for your breed. I know a lot about the breeds I work with, but each breed has specific things that are important to know. So, when you're getting ready to breed, look for a mentor in your area.
Animals are beautiful and amazing. However, breeding animals without preparation or solely based on appearance can harm both the pet and the breeding process.
If you're looking for a mentor and feel I would be a good fit, please complete the form below and I will be in touch with you!