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Canine Reproduction


Learn from three fascinating dog breeders, the Initiate, Intermediate, and the Survivor who each researched breeds, bloodlines, whelping, and raising puppies...



Dog Breeding 101:

The Education of Manny A. Doglover

by Laura T.


Although the events described herein are drawn from the lives of real dog breeders, any similarities between persons described and actual dog breeders are strictly coincidental. There is also no one that can tell you what is the right or wrong way to breed, there are only choices.




The Purchase: Manny purchases "pet" quality dogs, from someone who is moving, for only $400.00 with papers and plans on breeding them. But he has no knowledge, previous preparation, or experience in caring for, housing, training, breeding or raising dogs. He likes all types, sizes and colors of his chosen breed, feeling all that matters is the temperament be good, as that is what people care about.


The Housing: Manny's dogs move freely through the house and yard. He believes breeders that have kennels are Puppy Mills. Manny spends a lot of his time scrubbing his carpets, cleaning up urine, and scolding the dogs. Manny's yard is a mud bath and he has no idea how much each dog is eating or eliminating. Manny dogs are bored, active and destructive. The neighbor’s child keeps teasing his dogs and tossing toys at them. Manny learns the hard way that two intact breeding males don't get along together when a female is in heat. He also finds out about the 3 dog limit and is forced to rotate dogs outside. Because some of the dogs are fighting, dogs inside must be kept in cages separate from each other. Manny buys shock collars and props up plywood against the fence to prevent the dogs (and neighbors) from seeing each other.


The Feeding: Manny feeds whatever food is on sale, believing they are all the same. He can't understand why his dogs have frequent loose stools and poop so much. Their coats are also very dull. Manny consults with his veterinarian who promptly recommends a very expensive food puppies. Manny purchases some, after all the Vet is a Doctor knows what he's talking about.


Breeding: Manny's female is bred to a local stud dog in exchange for a pup back. The stud owner was the easiest breeder Manny could find to deal with, asking no questions and no pesky contracts and they soon become friends. Manny’s female came back pregnant but also with a cough, fleas and ticks. Manny forgot to write down the breeding dates and goes online to ask the forums what everyone thinks her due date could be. Manny also decides to stud out his male to make money, like he paid.


The Grooming: Manny's best dog has really long nails and is covered with fleas and ticks. He takes the dog to the groomer who works in her home. The dog is unaccustomed to bathing and having his paws touched.  He goes "ape" in the bath and Manny is asked not to come back.


Veterinary Care: Manny is fair game at the veterinary clinic for all possible tests, vaccinations, treatments for every kind of wellness investigation, as he has no experience and totally trusts what the Vet says. The vet finds the pups malnourished and infested with worms and deworms them for the first time at 8 weeks. Manny gets a lecture on a proper worming schedule and nutrition.


The Showing: New to the show ring Manny arrives at the dog show without a cage for his dog which is wearing a prong collar and a strong leather leash. Manny didn't see the need to go to classes. His dog is stressed from the stimulus, won’t stand in the ring, refuses to show his bite and is intimidated by other dogs. His dog becomes more and more stressed and snaps at another dog in the ring, for which the judge promptly excuses him. Manny decides showing is just a beauty pageant anyway and decides to no longer bother.


Obedience Training: Manny didn't believe in starting his pup's training too early. Having realized his mistake he now gives constant treats for rewards. He practices at home and enters the next obedience show where he receives a DQ’s and one very low score. He can't believe why the dog performs so well at home but not at a show. Manny begins to think this performance stuff is no better than conformation and decides not to return.


The Birthing: Manny leaves for work putting the pregnant mother in a bedroom with a swimming pool. He returns to find puppies are born all over the room, Mom has not cleaned them and half of the pups are dead in the sacks. Mom is up on the bed instead of in the pool as planned. Manny picks up the cold survivors and puts them with mother who after much coaxing, begins to lick and nurse her pups. In the morning he finds mom has squished one of the pups and one of the other pup’s intestines are hanging out. Manny resolves next time to properly calculate the due date and to be present and to clean and revive newborns.  Manny’s stud owner wants the only surviving female.


The Raising: Manny’s pups are all loose in the bedroom at 3 weeks of age. It is easier for him as he doesn’t have to constantly clean a whelping box. They stray under the bed and are chilled and crying a lot. Sometimes mom gets back on top of the bed to get a break.  The mattress is ruined and the carpet is also a write-off from pups soiling it as they miss the newspaper he has put on the floor for them. Pups never do learn to be clean pups.


Weaning Pups: Anxious that the pups get enough to eat, Manny reads online to give them frequent feedings of milk and pabulum starting at 4 weeks. Mom is thin trying to nourish her puppies. Pups get bad diarrhea. Manny, frantic, goes to the vet who tests for Parvo, Giardia and Coccidia. That visit wasn't cheap but the test comes back positive for Coccidia and now Manny must clean and medicate.


Breeder Relationships: Manny’s next few dog shows, breeders are still not so friendly to him. They try to tell him what to do and how to do it. One breeder even offered a used show lead and thin collar for him to use but he prefers to show his clean and trained dog with a heavy 6-foot leash and pinch collar.  He does not win. The judge even told him to cut the nails!


Puppy Buyers: Manny advertises his first litter for the reduced price of $300.00 and lets them go home when they are 6 weeks old.  He promises papers with breeding rights because he feels other breeders are snobs in not giving breeding papers. There is no contract or guarantee, just cash and carry. Manny accommodates people who wish to visit almost every day. Some of the pups are a bit sick after people leave. Puppy buyers call to complain the pups pee and poop everywhere.  Others appear to be sick. Manny even gets a couple pups returned and had to refund the money or get sued.


The Wife: She enjoys playing with the pups and participates to some degree in their care, except for cleaning up their mess, which she notices seems to be creeping more and more into the entire home. Desperate to place pups, Manny put out ads everywhere, including his address and phone number. Manny’s wife ends up speaking on the phone all the time, which started out to be fun, but now people are calling when the family is having dinner, are busy, or even at night when everyone is sleeping and they don’t seem to be in a hurry to get off of the phone. They even came home from the grocery store to find a strange van parked in their driveway once.  She is fed up!



The Purchase: Manny buys a few unrelated dogs (believing that breeding related dogs is bad) from a nearby breeder who is going out of business.  He pays $500.00 each but only receives papers for some of the dogs. He also decides to import a dog from Europe as he read on a forum, they are better quality. After spending thousands, he receives a small, over angulated bitch that has a bad heart murmur and DNA tests reveal she is a carrier. He sells her to recoup some of his money.


The Housing: Manny, frustrated with the constant barking and fighting, feels badly for leaving them in cages for 8 hours or locked in the basement while he is at work. Manny purchases quality dog runs which he puts on gravel with insulated doghouses. He also builds a cover for the runs out of PVC pipe and a tarp, to protect dogs from the rain and snow. The tarps are hard to manage but he can now let the dogs run together that get along, and also rotate dogs into the home. He can tell how much each dog is eating and eliminating. That summer Manny deals with flies and ammonia smell which the neighbors complain about.  Manny tries shock collars but the prongs dig into the skin if left on full time. Manny finds his dog numbers difficult to manage so he places the lesser quality dogs but loses money.


The Feeding: Manny tries some inexpensive raw ground meat recommended by a friend, supplements with quality kibble and has his first experience with salmonella.  He decides after paying the vet that he didn't save much money feeding RAW.


Breeding: Manny learns that some females don’t want to breed with the stud you pick. Females can attack and hurt a male. Some stud owners only put your female with their stud 1x to reduce the number of pups produced and competition for pet homes. When there are problems produced, Manny learns that DNA testing for health issues is a good idea. Doing stud service with friends without a contract is a good way to loose friends because he finds out 50% of deals for ‘pups back’, don't work out.


Grooming: Manny learns to clip nails weekly. The pups get used to bathing but a couple develop hot spots from being left damp. Manny goes online and buys the most expensive shampoos for skin allergies.


Veterinary Care: Concerned for his pups health, as well as finances, Manny becomes selective in his acceptance of Veterinary offered vaccinations and treatments. He now properly de-worms his own pups and mothers. He has also taken the pups to a good vet to do his dewclaws and docking, though the tails appear a bit too short. A day later mother develops kennel cough and Manny has to return to the vet for treatment options.


Showing: Manny learns to his embarrassment that last minute show grooming and practice cannot compensate for lack of preparation. He chats up other exhibitors and learns about movement and how to recognize a quality dog in the ring.  He learns now to read a pedigree and is able to understand the breed standard and commonly used dog terms. He resolves to breed only the best to the best.


Obedience Training: Manny reads a book and learns online that he and his dog need to practice with distractions and so he starts taking his dog to a public park.  He also buys a video tape on training. He is seriously considering a shock collar, as the prong collar he is using isn't helping to control the dog and both are unhappy with the training process.


The Birthing: Manny has properly set up the whelping room and removed everything but the wading pool for mother. He knows her due date within 5 days. He read online about taking her temperature and also going in for ultra sounds and X-rays. Manny spends a fortune at the vet and risks exposing his bitch to disease to just confirm that his female is pregnant. The week she is due, he gets himself all worked up, taking her rectal temperature every few hours. He goes online and stranger’s advice gets him even more worked up. The vet tells him signs of distress and that he can bring her in for a C-Section if she has issues. Manny waits until the middle of the night before taking his bitch in for an emergency C-Section. She ends up whelping a healthy litter naturally in the vet office, but Manny has a steep vet bill to pay.


The Raising: Manny decided to use a baby pool that he cleans 1x a day. He uses an X-pen to surround the baby pool in the living room. He also puts a tarp down to cover the flooring and adds cedar shavings. The mom and pups are over stimulated, stressed and barking 24/7. As the pups mature they start messing where they sleep and develop bumps and scabs on them and also eye irritations. A trip to the vet discovers staph infection and the plastic pool surface is suspect. Shavings appear to be the cause of entropion and the penis irritation.


Weaning: The pups are offered strained baby meat 4x a day from 4 weeks on. They become hooked on the strained chicken and are slow to wean onto hard puppy kibble. They are negative for coccidia but still have frequent diarrhea which Manny has to clean.


Breeder Relationships: After going to a few shows Manny learns to wear appropriate attire and which breeders will be helpful and trade tips about grooming, training, showing, trialing and breeding. He also has a proper show lead and collar. Manny doesn’t stick around if he loses. He feels no need to watch Group or Best in Show, or cheer for his breed in group because he doesn't like the winners and what will he learn?  Plus he wants to beat the traffic home. Manny is still ignored by many of the seasoned breeders of his breed.


Puppy Buyers: By 16 weeks of age Manny eventually finds homes for his pups, which were a lot of mess, work, noise and expense to raise. He sells most of his pups as pets and some as breeders (for an additional fee), but keeps the best in the litter.  Manny gets puppy people calling asking all sorts of training questions after purchase.  He cannot answer, gets irritated and tells people that he is not a trainer and for them to call an obedience school, not him.


The Wife: She resents the intrusion of dogs in her home and life. She is sick of the hair, smell, noise, time, destruction and money spent on dogs.  She is upset over all the prospective puppy buyer phone calls at all hours of the day and night and the many drop-in visits. She feels like they are running a petting zoo, with all the strangers parading through their home and even had some medication and jewelry go missing after visits.  They argued about that, and about the dogs "taking over their lives". Their marriage is strained and Manny doesn't know what to do.



The Purchase: After researching the breed and studying the breed standard, Manny decides what lines, looks, temperament and ability he wants in his dogs, and formulates a 5-year plan. Manny finds an experienced, respected breeder and purchases a female on a co-ownership agreement.  She is from DNA, OFA'd, health tested parents, with conformation and working titles. Because of Manny’s sincere goals the breeder also agrees to mentor him.


Housing: Manny moved to a more private home with a larger lot and builds a solid privacy fence all the way around. He is careful that his dogs don't disturb the neighbors. Manny’s garage is out of sight of the neighbors so he pours a cement pad for outdoor runs, builds a roof over the runs and converts the garage to a kennel with insulation, heat, AC, drainage and water supply and indoor/outdoor runs. Manny now has the choice to rotate dogs in the house, train dogs in the yard, let dogs run together that get along. If the dogs fire up, Manny can simply shut the dog doors for a while and they will be comfortable. Manny can now go to work, away to dog shows and know his dogs are safe and secure. Manny can even check on his dogs via his online security cameras. Manny hopes to move to the country someday.


Feeding: Manny discovers a quality affordable dog food which is "nutritionally balanced for all stages of life" from his mentor and has no more loose stools and his dogs only poop two times a day. He is learning more about proper nutrition.


Breeding: Having learned what characteristics he wants to promote in his best female, Manny arranges stud service to a male of complimenting pedigree and conformation and is pleased with the resulting pups, keeping 2 females. He also no longer offers stud service for pups back and is very select about who he sells to for breeding.  He knows the cost of quality dogs and wishes to protect his lineage from being bred indiscriminately.


Grooming: Manny has learned from his mentor to match shampoos and grooming technique to the needs of the dog.  He knows to fully rinse out shampoo and not get water in the ears. He learns how to blow dry and how important regular combing and brushing is. He also learns how to dremel nails, which really keep them nice and trim


Veterinary Care: Manny, who has done a lot of research and learned from his mentor, recognizes various ailments and uses a ‘breeder friendly’ farm Vet to diagnose and treat his dogs. Manny buys and administers his own shots and de-worms his own dogs properly. Many also learns from his mentor how to do his own dewclaws and tails, eliminating the risk of pups getting ill and stressed at the vet’s office and also ensuring his tails are the proper length for the breed. Manny also treats his pups for coccidia, which some of his pups experience around weaning time and he has no more diarrhea as a result.


Showing: Manny attends his first dog show with his mentor to help him. He is also finding that dog breeding is not a profit-making venture and wisely reduces his number of dogs to only the best quality.


Obedience Training: Manny discovers obedience classes help him and his dogs enhance their performance and he develops a greater understanding of behavior and training techniques from others. Manny finishes his obedience titles, even placing high in trial. He also gets involved other dog sports, enjoying the time spent building a relationship with his dogs and other like-minded people.


The Birthing: Manny accurately predicts due dates within 5 days and now knows what to expect and contacts his mentor to be there with him. His mentor also assures him that his breed whelps naturally and without problems. He is prepared with a whelping "kit" and also identifies each puppy with a collar, documents the weights, times and if there is any problems. He spent money on a proper whelping box with puppy rails, one that can be sterilized between use and has high enough sides to keep drafts out and mess and pups safe and contained. Based on the quality and vitality of the resulting litter, he reevaluates his breeding program and plans for the future.


The Raising: Manny has a puppy box that can be sanitized, with a separated area in which the pups can play and also a potty area, which starts pups onto potty training.  That increases the pups' cleanliness, lessening the amount time spent cleaning. The whelping box is in a stress free, quiet area for mom and pups. Manny has an X-pen set up in the living room so that he can bring the pups inside for a bit during the day or when puppy people wish to visit.


Weaning: His females are not food aggressive so he put the kibble and water in with the pups and the mother. Manny learned that pups learn to eat kibble from their moms and begin to wean themselves at 4-5 weeks of age, gradually increasing their kibble consumption as they decrease their nursing. He still provides soft food but it is the same kibble, just watered down with a bit of tin food mixed in, 2-3x a day until all their teeth come in. They have no diarrhea.


Breeder Relationships: Manny is introduced to fellow breeders through his mentor. He learns breeders are very knowledgeable and asks questions, and for other breeder’s opinions and experiences.  He learns about having a breeding program. Manny is a member of clubs and is up to date in currant issues effecting his breed. He becomes knowledgeable and skilled about his breed and canine husbandry. He gradually gains respect of his peers for his conscientious breeding and his achievements in the Show and Performance rings. Manny also helps out all newcomers, or anyone needing help at the dog shows, paying it forward and constantly learning.


Puppy Buyers: As his dogs' quality increases, so does the demand for his pups. Manny starts screening puppy people for their appropriateness to own his breed. His pups are spoken for months in advance. Manny has also been able to increase his price and is now covering all his dog sports expenses and is able to even start saving for his new dog van.  He has learned to properly evaluate his pups, to provide puppy information packages, registration papers, records of vaccinations, and replacement guarantees.  Manny is available and able to answer questions should puppy buyers run into problems.


The Wife: An arrangement has been reached in which the dogs and people cohabitate happily. Manny has more time to have fun with his dogs as well as spending more time with his family. He developed a web page with loads of photos and stats on his dogs and he wisely restricted initial contact to email instead of phone. Manny's wife enjoys the dogs, now that the hobby is less intrusive on her life and their home. Manny’s wife even agreed to attend a dog show and to look at homes in the country!

1511165 EST 1998 ©   15111651701



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