I am a mid-20’s wife and mother of three small children, a dog, and a cat. Recently, I had the unpleasant experience of returning home to find my dog breeding with a wolf in my living-room. She will be spayed as soon as the pups are weaned, and they will be sterilized (with health certificates) before they are placed with families. Those that are not placed will remain with us. I am interested in breeding, but I have never owned a pedigree dog before. Can you recommend some good family breeds? Also, do you think there may be problems with my dog reacting negatively? She has never been unfriendly to any animals.

I will answer your last question first. Your female may of course be protective of her pups and their environment. Generally the mother tends to become more protective as the pups become more mobile and this can carry on for a while after they are weaned. If you keep some pups, this protectiveness may extend to an even longer period. However, some bitches are pretty easy going and may show no such signs, even to the extent of letting their favorite pals visit with the pups. Now see below for a discussion on “breeding dogs”.

There are many considerations in both of these cases of “casual” breeding. There is only one good reason to breed a dog: improving the selected breed. In other words, breeding a dog to calm her down, so that kids can see the miracle of birth (don’t forget they may also see the horror of dead puppies, and to not let them see the whole range is a disservice to them), or because it seems like a good thing to try out, are NOT GOOD REASONS!

To be a good breeder, you must have a passion for a particular breed; you must understand its characteristics and know how you would like to make improvements; and last of all, you must already have a mental image of the “perfect” dog in your mind, and breed to that image. You must be prepared to put puppies to sleep, or even an entire litter if something goes very wrong. It’s more than a hobby, it’s many years’ worth of dedication. Their is great joy, but lots of disappointments and heartbreak as well; most “breeders” don’t last 5 years. So for me to suggest a breed for a potential breeder, or to encourage breeding a dog that is less than superior, would not make sense.

However, if you do intend to breed, then read my 10 Commandments for a New Breeder which I’ll repeat here:

  1. Call the national club of the ONE breed you like to get names of excellent breeders that you can talk to and learn from. 
  2. Get a copy of the breed standard from the AKC, study it and understand it. 
  3. Get several books on the breed you have selected, and study them. 
  4. Go to dog shows to meet both dogs and breeders. Talk to them, but more importantly, listen to them. Watch the judging of the breed and find out why the winners are winners and the losers are losers. 
  5. If you still want to go ahead with this breed, buy the BEST bitch you can from an excellent breeder. 
  6. Show your bitch at the shows and learn all you can about her qualities and faults. 
  7. Get advice from experienced breeders about studs that will complement your bitch. 
  8. Be prepared to spend more money than you anticipated. 
  9. Never compromise on temperament and quality, i.e., be ruthless in selecting which pups you will keep from any litter, if any, right until they are of proven quality. 
  10. If your litters consistently produce pups that are of a higher quality than the parents, congratulate yourself and your mentors, you are on your way to success.

Think about it,

Breeding a pet can be a personal choice and brings along with itself different responsibilities. If encountering confusion, one should always consult a vet to know about the pros and cons and other details to prepare for the best. Researching and understanding can sometimes be the best way to conclude.