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Choosing a Dog Breeding Program

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015

Things to Consider

Responsible breeders are not primarily concerned with making money by selling puppies. Hard-working, dedicated breeders go to a great deal of effort – and spend a great deal of money - trying to preserve, promote and improve the quality of their favored breeds by crossing exceptional individuals and carefully raising and promoting one litter at a time. Breeding dogs the “right way” is more of an art than it is a science and takes a lot of thought, planning, preparation and time. Technically, the breeder is the person who owns the mother of a litter. Breeders who have a sound breeding program are endlessly evaluating and researching dogs and bloodlines well before they decide which males to cross with their females. They will have their females medically evaluated for congenital or hereditary defects or diseases, and will want the potential stud dogs to be assessed as well. Sexually transmitted diseases need to be ruled out, especially in dogs that have been bred before. The actual mating of two dogs should only occur after lots of time and energy has been expended planning and preparing for the puppies.

Avoid Puppy Mills

If a breeder has multiple litters annually, advertises puppies for sale constantly and/or breeds females repeatedly on consecutive heat cycles, potential puppy buyers should walk away, and walk away fast. Those people simply don’t have their dogs’ or their breed’s best interests at heart. Responsible breeders will not breed their dogs just for money. People who do that are considered to be “puppy mills” or “backyard breeders,” and many of their dogs eventually end up in rescue shelters. Puppy mills irresponsibly contribute to the incredibly sad excess of homeless dogs in this country. Responsible breeders stand behind their animals and are happy to act as a mentor to their owners. Most good breeders will gladly take back any of their dogs should the new owner’s circumstances change.


All dogs used in a decent breeding program should have a well-documented history, which should include the history of their parents and siblings. The family history should pay particular attention to any genetic or potentially hereditary disorders in the sire or the dam, as well as in their parents and offspring. Responsible breeders will not compromise a dog’s health for monetary purposes. Most authorities suggest that female dogs should not be bred before they are 2 years of age, which is when most of their health tests can be done, and they should only be bred once again (if ever) after their next heat cycle. Responsible breeders will acknowledge the costs of having a litter. This includes feeding the mother a high quality diet and preparing a room and whelping box for the big event. Breeders must be ready to take their female to an emergency clinic for a cesarean section, if the puppies aren’t coming out as quickly or properly as they should be. That surgery alone can cost $2,000 or more, depending on the size of the female and of her litter. Breeding a dog responsibly can cost a small fortune. Most hobby breeders have never made money on their breeding endeavors. It truly is a labor of love.

Basic Care Topics
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Dog Health Center

Lead Poisoning

Dogs can be poisoned when they ingest lead – especially if they have repeated exposure to the substance. Lead is found in a number of places and in a number of different things

Learn more about: Lead Poisoning