You may eventually decide to breed your dog. Please don't take this responsibility lightly. There are already far too many unwanted dogs in the world. As dog lovers, let's try to resolve rather than aggravate this unfortunate situation. You must have plans for each and every puppy before the litter is even conceived.

Also, it's over-optimistic to assume that you can recoup your investment or even profit by breeding dogs. Few people come out ahead by selling puppies, once they have done the necessary genetic testing, paid stud fees, provided veterinary care and food for the mother and litter, done tails and dewclaws and cropped ears, and have accounted for their enormous investment of time.

Breeding dogs also has its emotional costs. Ask a breeder what it's like to see a bitch through a difficult birth or Caesarean section, or to witness the death of a beloved bitch or her puppies. Death plays as large a role as life when it comes to breeding dogs, and rare is the litter in which all the puppies survive. If something goes wrong, you may be called upon to handraise the litter by tube- or bottle-feeding the puppies around the clock every three hours for three weeks.

If you decide to go forward and become a breeder, we hope you will embrace the belief that each new litter you produce should represent an improvement over the last. This means that you don't choose the dog who lives down the street to mix genes with your bitch because he happens to be close by and performs for free. Try to find an individual whose bloodlines will strengthen your dog's weaknesses and emphasize his or her good qualities. The rewards of your discretion will be long-lived.

Research the breed as much as you, read, read, and go to dog shows. See if there is a local club in your area. Find a mentor to help you get started, and save your money and buy the best bitch that you can afford. If you want to breed, learn how to do it right, and starting out with the best breeding stock you can will get you heading in the right direction.

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