Ten questions to ask before breeding your pet

The decision to breed your female dog needs careful consideration. 

While doing some research on writing this article, I unfortunately found some really disturbing information about breeding.  It put me into a very morbid mood and resulted in my original writeup being very negative as a whole.  I have taken the time to rewrite this article and hopefully I will be able to bring accross both sides of the story.

The negativity came when I was researching breeding with a pet and saw how people breed.  It was things that upset me tremendously, like dogs being overbred, breeding disasters (eg the shar pei), dogs being muzzled while owner force them to mate, to artificial insemination to backyard breeding to almost a form of rape.  I really did not enjoy this research and the focus on the topic of this conversation - to educate people about the first steps to consider when they want to start breeding - went out the window.  Having spent some time thinking about all of this, there is definately also a very good side to good breeding.  I will speak more about this in the second half of this article.

Buying a Puppy from a breeder:

For those who want to purchase a puppy from a breeder, the first thing you have to do is to please make sure it is a reputable breeder.   Only consider breeders who have been approved by The Kennel Union of South Africa, even then, make sure you know who you are purchasing from.  The first prize is if you can go to the breeders location and see for yourself.

There are so many puppy mills in the world, created by desperate people who treat these animals very poorly and of course only for financial gain.  And then to make matters worse, these pets normally are sold cheaply and go to homes where they are not cared for forever and they end up in shelters or even worse they get put down as nobody wants them any more.

Back to breeding:  Please think carefully before you want to become a breeder.

You will need 4 months of intensive caring of mommy and puppies (this includes time before, during and after whelping), which could get tricky if you have a family home.  Each puppy will have to have its vaccinations and a pregnancy complication could cost you a small fortune. We all know the specialist medical care pets need and this can rack up into the thousands in no time.

There are so many unwanted animals out there, breeding is discouraged by most animal warriors out there. 

Take the following questions into consideration before you decide to breed with your pet:

1. Why are you considering to breed? Do you know the medical shortfalls of the breed and are you wishing to improve on this?
2. Is my pet mature enough to fall pregnant?  Breeding at a too young age can cause lifetime complications for both mom and babies.
3. Like any human, medication during pregnancy is very dangerous, make sure your pet is not on chronic medication which will possibly harm the litter.
4. Is your pet healthy enough to fall pregnant?  Speak to your vet.
5. Can I afford to have my pet to breed?  How long after the puppies are born will you be able to afford to feed and give them much needed medical care?
6. Does my home allow for a healthy breeding environment.  Simply placing her in an enclosed kitchen or garage is not the way to go.
7. Have you kept her vaccinations up to date?
8. Does your pet have any behavioural problems that could possibly cause harm to the litter while she is pregnant?
9. Does this breed have any medical problems or a genetic condition which could possibly harm or be carried over to the litter?
10. Will this be a breed that will easily find a good forever home?  Do you know how to choose the right future family for your breed, because not everyone is like you?


If you are looking to purchase a pet from a breeder, ask the Kennel Union if they are an approved breeder or what their reputation as a breeder has been like to KUSA. 

This image explains what we dont see in the fancy Pet Shops and on online adverts when Pets are For Sale.

Think carefully before breeding or purchasing a puppy from a breeder.


The heavy stuff

  1. If you are not registered with the appropriate registration organisation and doing the following you will more than likely be a backyard breeder a.k.a. puppy/kitten mills.
  2. Breeding should not be viewed as an easy way to make money. It is not.

The good side about breeders:

There are many breeders that are so passionate about their pets, its wonderful to see how well they treat them.  Our breeder was awesome.  He spoke to us over the phone for hours asking questions and making notes, he did personality tests on the puppies at 5 weeks to match them with their new owners, he docked their tails like farmers dock sheep tails the humane way (as he said docking tails at the vet is cruel and ontop of that its not good to remove a puppy from its mother for those 3-4 hours) (Note: It is now illegal to dock tails and ears and such cases must now be reported to the SPCA), he fed them free range food, and these puppies were in immaculate shape when they arrived off the plane.  One could only dream that you always run into such fantastic breeders.

When you consider buying a specific breed dog or cat, its often one that you know you want which has a certain temperament and size to fit in with your needs.  Hopefully most of us do some research on what kind of dog we are looking for.  Is it going to be guard dog or a family dog, or do we want something that has an all round good reputation for fitting in everywhere.  Do you want a lapdog or a family friend?

Why do people want a specific breed?

Its such a pleasure to own a dog or cat that you know and are familiar with, because in your lifetime you might have owned a similar breed before.  It will be a sad day in pet paradise if we dont have access to Bengals, Yorkies, or Dobermans, or Wire Fox Terriers, or Border Collies or even the popular Golden Retrievers.  These are just a few of many types of pets out there that we have a choice of owning, yet its great to know that each breed has its place in society and comes to us with a temperament and personality that we know is going fit in with our lifestyle. 

The bona fide breeder

  1. Is passionate and protective about the breed and committed to breeding for the right temperament and breed standards.
  2. Invests time, effort and money in subjecting their dogs/cats to the scrutiny of judges and peers at breed and national shows.
  3. Does not keep their animals in small cages and/or without human contact and interaction.
  4. Does not overbreed their animals, that is, does not allow a bitch/queen to have a litter more than once every 3 years.
  5. Does not sell their animals online, in newspapers or in pet shops.
  6. Ensures that dogs/cats which are being purchased as pets are sterilised and also vets the potential new owners and their properties.
  7. Feeds correctly and does not skimp on veterinary treatments and vaccinations.
  8. Invests heavily in purchasing their animals.
  9. Invests heavily in the purchasing the right equipment and trailer where applicable.
  10. No longer docks the tails of dogs and/or imports dogs with cropped ears.
  11. Researches the parentage and temperament of any dog/cat which they purchase.

Pure Breeds are in Shelters too

Yes, there are many stray animals out there and sadly even more stuck in animal shelters around the world.  Please make your first stop to be a shelter and ask if they might have a pet suitable to your needs before you consider going out and finding a pedigree animal.  You might even find the pet you are looking for, and you can escape the terrors of owning a puppy in its naughty puppy years. 

This has been a rather difficult article to write as my heart really is for the goodness and the health of pets as a whole, but I (nor anyone else) do not have the right to question if you want to go out and get yourself a dog that is purely bred.  We just hope you will also make an educated choice when you choose to bring a new furry or feathered friend home.  Pets are little angels coming into our home to look after us, lets promise to take care of them too.


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