In the United States, it is estimated that 6 to 8 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters each year. Only about 25% on average are adopted or reclaimed by owners. This means that 4.5 to 6 million dogs and cats enter shelters each each and never leave. The vast majority of these animals are euthanized.
Pet overpopulation is a serious problem in the United States. A healthy dog can produce on the average 2 litters a year with an average of 4 to 6 puppies per litter. Cats can produce 3 litters a year on average and aveage 3 to 4 kittens per litter. This reproduction rate dramatically increases the number of stray and homeless pets that are present in the United States.
As a potential breeder, you must ask yourself a few questions concerning breeding dogs. First question is why are you considering breeding the dog? Some common answers are:
1) I want my children to witness the miracle of birth.
2) My dog has a great personality, and I want another just like him/her.
3) I want to sell the puppies and make some extra money.
4) My dog should have at least 1 litter in her life.
From a pet overpopulation perspective, none of the above reasons are valid. There are videos that can be purchased that will show the birth of animals, so first hand knowledge is not required. When a dog has a litter, it is not producing a copy of itself. Personality and behavior are significantly related to the environment in which the puppy is raised, including the interactions with other pets and people. It is impossible to replicate the environment and experiences from the dam to the puppies. Breeding dogs is a time consuming and expensive undertaking. Litter size or any complication can significantly increase costs associated with breeding. There are also no studies indicating there are any long term health benefits of letting a dog have a litter.
The American Kennel Club has a significant amount of information on breeding purebred dogs and the preparation a breeder must undertake. Please visit their website at http://www.akc.org/breeders/resources/guide_to_breeding_your_dog/index.cfm for more information.
If after reviewing all the above information, you are still interested in breeding your dog, please review our other web pages to learn more about the canine reproduction cycle, pregnancy, whelping and breeding management. Any further questions you may have can be directed to our doctors.