This was originally a letter that Robin, a die hard rescue person, sent to someone who wanted to breed their dog.
I have a history of being a dog rescuer.I have rescued over 1000 in my lifetime, and either found them all homes, or returned them to their frantic owners. On a few occasions, I held them, in my arms, as they passed over to the Rainbow Bridge, to severely injured to recover. On another few occasions, I have kept them, and that may explain, why I have 5 dogs now!
I have seen the despicable things, done in the puppy mills, to dogs, seen only as livestock, with not a name, but only a number. I have watched the vet, doing surgery, on little females, who had so many litters, that their uteruses were like jelly. I have seen females, who have had numerous c-sections, and by the looks of the scars, probably on a kitchen table.
Some people in the puppy mill business, don't spend money for vets, much less anethesia. I have been in shelters, and have yet to have been in one, that wasn't over-crowded. I have looked into the eyes and soul, of a man, who daily, makes a choice WHO lives and WHO dies, at the shelter. It is ususally decided, by how many days, a furbaby has been there, usually three. I have seen an incinerator..filled to the brink..with unloved, unwanted, bodies..of dogs, that I am sure, when they were young..were cute little puppies..that had owners. Owner's that never dreamed , that THEIR puppy, would end up here. I am sure some of them must have thought.."But I have a pure-breed..and I just want her to have ONE litter." I'm sure that other's must have thought,"I only want my children to experience the miracle of birth". But here is the truth. The cold, hard, honest truth.
Everyday, hundreds of thousands of dogs, and cats, kittens, and puppies, are killed..for the simple fact, that no one wants them. I know that this may upset some of the folks on this board..but the truth is..there ARE Bichons, just like our sweet babies..that are put in with the rest of the unwanted dogs..and euthinized..because no one wants them. This would be my plea, to you. Please, leave the breeding of the Bichons Frise, to reputatable breeders, who know about things like backgrounds, and bloodlines. About genetics, and inheritable diseases. Please..I beg you, with a humble and loving heart..please have your sweet baby Matte, spayed...so that you will NOT be the one..to add any MORE unwanted babies, to that incinerator, I just told you about.
I know in your mind, you may be thinking.."Oh I would NEVER sell, my puppies to anyone but GOOD people".The problem is..let's say, that you have 5 puppies..and find all of them homes. Six months pass..and we see on the AOL Bichon Board, someone asking for a male..to breed with their female, because she is 6 months old, and coming in season.Another 6 months goes by. In five years, we may have THOUSANDS of Bichons..because of the very first litter..Can you PROMISE me..that EACH and EVERY one of those..will have loving homes?.I wonder,..how many of those Bichons...may end up in the shelter..wagging their little tails, smiling up at the man...who has just told them.."Come on little one.. it is day three." And the sweet little Bichon baby happily raises up, to be picked up..for the last time.
Love, Robin Pressnall
Posted by labndane on September 05, 1998 at 12:44:08:
Of course it is unfair to make assumptions without being familiar with all the facts.
Everyone who is seriously involved in the purebred fancy had to start somewhere. The most important thing is to educate yourself as completely as possible. I have been breeding dogs for almost 15 years, and can assure your that the learning is a continuous experience.
Make sure you have a mentor who is knowlegable and ethical. When we started out we didn't have anyone to learn from, and ended up making mistakes and learning lessons the hard way.
I try to help educate "would be" breeders so they can make good and informed decisions for themselves based on knowlege rather than emotion.
I can tell you first had that having a litter of puppies is no bed of roses.
I would like to share this story with you. Of course your circumstances are very different than those in the story, but one of the messages is that even though experienced breeders may come across as "pompous", there is often truth and wisdom in their advice.
You are planning to breed your dog. You have warm fuzzy pictures of a happy, playful batch of babies. The canine Waltons. It will be such a great experience for the kids too. You can even sell the puppies, and make a few bucks. “Why not”, you think.
You call up a local breeder, and encounter the most pompous individual. She tells you that you probably shouldn’t breed your dog. Just where does she get off telling you something like that! What gives her the right to breed her dogs, then preach to you about breeding yours anyway. So, you completely ignore her advice, and go ahead with your plans.
You finally find a willing male. Since your dog doesn’t have papers, it really didn’t matter that he wasn’t quite a purebred. 3/4 is pretty close. The honeymoon is over and you anxiously await your pups. Someone told you that it should take about 3 months. You will be quite surprised when the big day arrives 63 days later!
You had no idea that the birthing process was such a smelly, messy ordeal. Yuck! What’s that green stuff. Oh gross!!! Now she’s eating it! Uuugghhh!
One puppy is very still when it is born. The mother doesn’t seem to be paying any attention to it. You don’t know what to do. You wish you had someone who knew what they were doing with you. You try to revive the puppy, but to no avail. It is dead.
By the time the last puppy arrives you heave a sigh of relief. At last, puppies! You have no idea at this point, how lucky you are that your bitch didn’t need an emergency c-section. At a cost of $300 - $500, this may have really cut into your profit.
You notice one of the puppies seems to be having
trouble sucking. When it tries to nurse, milk bubbles out of its nose.
You realize something is wrong, open the mouth, and find it has a cleft
palate. With horror, you realize this puppy must be euthanized. Now what?
Do you take it to the vet and have it humanely put down, or do you do it
yourself? If you choose the latter, what method will you use? The poor
thing is crying pitifully from hunger.
The evil deed done (in a humane manner) you prepare to settle down and enjoy the surviving puppies. You had no idea that your dog would bleed so much after giving birth. She is smelly, stained, and needs a bath.
Over the next few days things are pretty easy. Mom has settled in well with the puppies, and is doing a good job of feeding them. She doesn’t clean them very well though, and they are usually poopy. Not much fun to cuddle when they smell. This means lots of laundry and stringent cleaning. Extra work, but not bad.
At 10-14 days their eyes are open. They begin to try to walk. Suddenly they are crawling out of their nest and before you know it they are all over the place. You realize you will need something suitable to keep them in. It might cut into your profit, but you are going to have to come up with a pen or something.
Another thing you didn’t plan on was Mother dog getting protective and growling at your kids. And hopefully the neighbor, who’s kid she bit, won’t sue.
You notice that the babies have all of a sudden seemed to quadruple their quantities of urine. “ How can they pee so much?” you wonder. You realize that they will need to be bedded in something better than blankets. They get soaked so quickly.
Using ingenuity, you come up with a clever set up with appropriate bedding to keep you puppies clean.
Suddenly, you notice that Mom does not seem to be feeling well. “She’s probably just tired” you think. After all, she doesn’t want to be with her puppies anymore. She growls when they try to suck. You decide it’s time to start them on solid food.
Of course you choose a premium puppy food from your grocery store. The puppies gobble it up. Good thing, you were getting tired of their crying.
Mom still is feeling down in the dumps, and then you discover why. Her teats are enlarged, swollen and hot. You express some milk and discover bloody puss. Good grief, now she will have to go to the vet! This will cut down on the profit!
You take your dog to the vet, and follow home care directions carefully. Medicine to administer etc, puppies to feed now, and oh yes, the vet said you should have cut their nails. Too bad you really don’t know how to do it without cutting them too short.
Approximately 2 hours after you begin to feed them
solid food, their stool changes. Suddenly it becomes the most foul smelling
thing you could ever imagine. Even worse than that putrid birthing smell.
And they are all going, and going, and going. You almost hate to feed them,
because it makes them just go more. You could never imagine your house
smelling so bad! What happened to the warm fuzzys? These
Suddenly you notice that they have diahrea. You thought it was bad before, but this awful. They are very sick. You can’t believe how deflated they look. You know you have no choice. Off to the vet you go, accepting the fact that this may take a serious chunk out of your profit. After you get the grim diagnosis, and leave your babies at the hospital, you ask yourself what happened? What about the canine Waltons? 101 Dalmatians? Even Lady and the Tramp? And what about those profits? When all the bills are in you may have to take out a second mortgage on your home.
2 of the puppies survive, and are well on their way to recovery. Your vet explains how important it is to have up to date shots on Mom prior to breeding, and shots for the puppies as well. They have also been dewormed, and you got that lecture as well.
It is finally time to sell your puppies. Since you have decided to keep one, you only have one for sale. After taking dozens of calls from the most questionable people you could imagine, you find a suitable home. Of course the puppy doesn’t have papers, and you really can’t sell it for too much. You settle for $50 and use it to buy a bag of dog food. While you are at the pet food store, you see the pompous breeder lady, who had no right to tell you not to breed your pet. Hmmmm....... Maybe you should have listened. Maybe she wasn’t being pompous after all, but just trying to save you some heartache.
Posted by Dr. Sandi [a veterinarian] on October 03, 1998 at 15:17:30:
It has come to our attention that you are considering breeding your dog. We are pet owners who are concerned about the overpopulation of our beloved animals. Please read the enclosed material regarding the plight of dogs and cats resulting from the millions of births each year.
If your dog is a "purebred", this is not a good
reason to breed! Breeding should be left to the
Please do not feel that we are judging you, we only want to inform you with the facts.
The Dog House Friends
Why should I neuter my pet?
Left to fend alone in rubbish-strewn alleys...cast out in the desert where starvation or wild animals take them..injured in traffic…weakened by malnutrition and disease…killed because they belong to no one: these are the destinies of most dogs and puppies today. This is the sad and senseless condition known as pet overpopulation.
The plain and simple truth is that the number of available dogs and puppies far exceeds the number of people ready, willing, and able to care for them properly. Millions of puppies are born every year. Most of them will never know the warmth of a loving family and home.
THE ANSWER IS SO SIMPLE—HAVE YOUR PET SPAYED OR
SPAYING YOUR FEMALE:
Pet population control begins at home. Help solve
the serious pet overpopulation problem by spaying or neutering your pet.
Contact your veterinarian for more information or Spay USA at 1-800-248-SPAY
for referrals to participating low-cost spay/neuter programs.
I hope you give this serious consideration. We are concerned for you and the animals involved. Please believe me, it is not as pleasant as you think, or as safe. Many dogs die during labor and birth, and health care for the mom and pups is expensive. We have your best interests and your dog's at heart....good luck in making the best decision for your dog.....
Thank you, but actually I can't take credit for most of this..msg...
(Editor's note: I suspect, but don't know, that this may have been originally written by The Sunshine Band, but it's not currently on their wonderful site. If it turns out this is the case, I will put a link to this on my breeding page when it's uploaded there and pull this down, but necessity dictates that this info be put up ASAP - Lead, please forgive me if this is your guys' stuff! -LM )
Editorial - From the Webmistress of www.wonderpuppy.net:
As far as I can tell (not being a breeder), there are 4 main questions to ask yourself to find out if you will be a responsible breeder.
1) Are my dogs truly exceptional (not just ordinary or even well above average) representatives of their breed, and have qualified people (aka judges and others knowledgable in the breed) evaluated my dogs and thought so too by giving him the ribbons, titles, etc? Are your dogs titled in any sport or in the conformation ring?
2) Are my dogs free of all the genetic problems
that occur in the breed? Have they passed all the health checks and genetic
tests with flying colors? I sure don't want to cause problems down the
line by breeding less than truly healthy dogs, there's enough problems
and heartbreak out there without creating more.
3) Am I ready to assume the responsibility for each and every dog I deliberately bring into the world for it's lifetime. This means that I will always take the dog back or find another home for him/her if necessary.
4) Am I in it for the money? If Yes, do not pass go, go not collect anything.
The correct answers should be Yes to #1-3, No to 4. Any other answers shortchange the dogs. Certain experts might be experienced enough to say no to question #1, and even that's debatable. Are you an expert?
A good breeder is in it to build a better dog, for the love of dogs (the ONLY valid reason I see to breed) and puts every cent back into their dogs, and they seem to come up in the red more often then not.
Ok, let's put mix breed overpopulation problems aside for a minute. You have a really great dog you want more of him.
The very FIRST thing you need to be sure of is that he's genetically healthy. You sure don't want puppies to have Hip Dysplasia, or eye problems down the line, these are to be GREAT puppies, right? So, find out about all the genetic problems in kelpies and GSD's, and test for them. Check out this page: Guide to hereditary and congenital diseases in dogs. Unfortunatley, it only covers AKC breeds, and doesn't include the Kelpie. You'll have to look that up on your own.
All this testing will have to be done for the bitch too. Get his hips xrayed, and get them certified by OFA. If they are both not excellent rated, then you pass on a greater chance of crippled puppies. Of course since you don't know thier parent's hips, you don't know your dog still lucked out with a good rating, but still have the genes for bad hips. A 1 year old puppy crippled by HD is a terrible thing to see. And I don't mean just having your vet check them out, he's no specialist. My wonderful vet couldn't see my mutt's luxated patellas (got her checked out for agility, not breeding), it took a specialist to find it. OFA uses a panel of 3 radiologists to rate dogs. Check out thier site: OFA. Hey, it's bucks, but you want the world's greatest puppies, right? That means the healthiest puppies too. You will also have to have him checked out for Brucellosis, and you might possibly need CERF eye testing, heart and thyroid testing, Von Willebrand's maybe etc..... This is not your dad's veterinary checkup anymore when you're talking breeding.
Has he been bred before? I understand that Nature doesn't always take it's course correctly. The bitch could hurt him. I have a friend who told me last night he tried to breed his lab boy, but the poor boy couldn't get it together, literally, and needed human help. Are you willing to do this, with a bitch who's being literally very bitchy? Check out this link too: So you want to use your dog as stud. A lot of it won't apply to your situation, but some of it will. In fact, check out my whole breeding section: Breeding info. You do need to get an idea of what the bitch and her owner will go through.
And, mutt or not, it's still genetic pot luck if you get a puppy like yours. Each puppy will be a genetic individual, and mom has a contribution too. You might get puppies with the WORST qualites of the parents. Or, puppies that all take strongly after mom, not dad. And, now bringing in the mix, you really don't know what the puppies will get. Was your dog's kelpie parent a problem dog, health or temperament wise? What about the bitch's GSD parent? The dogs are still maybe carrying those genes. What will the dogs look like, GSD, Kelpie, what? The puppies will NOT still be half kelpie and half GSD. If a puppy gets a large dose of GSD genes from both parents (who are 50/50 I assume, only applicable when both parents are purebreds of their respective breeds), a puppy can get maybe 80% GSD genes, and really be 80% GDS, not 50%. It's a genetic crapshoot breeding mutts. The chances of you getting a dog just like yours is actually pretty small.
Then, finally, there's those overpopulaton problems. Are you, along with the bitch owner, going to be responsible for these puppies you bring into the world for the rest of thier lives? That means taking back a puppy for any reason at any age, even 10 years from now. Are you going to make sure that the puppies are all spayed and neutered? Can you imagine one of YOUR puppies ending up in a dog pound? It happens every day in every city. After all, you created this line of dogs, you sure don't want any to end up in bad homes or in a shelter. Here's what to look for in a good, responsible breeder: Breeders. Is that you? Even if you're breeding mixes, you still morally need to take care of the lives you bring into this world if you love dogs.
It might be possible to breed mutts responsibly, (not withstanding that the puppies will be taking good homes that dogs and puppies who are already here could use), and it's a LOT of work. Are you up to it?
Posted by Emily on June 12, 1999 at 12:17:06:
In Reply to: cost of whelping a litter- question
to breeders posted by cattski- trying again! on June 12, 1999 at
It costs $20 per show to enter a dog. It takes on average 10 or 15 shows to get that show championship. (See addition factors below). We'll assume 10 for simplicity.
It costs $200 per dog to PennHip it.
It also costs 20 per match to put an obedience
title on a dog. Average of 5-6 matches, that's $120.
$200 for sire, Championship.
So we've got 6 pups...(check the costs of feeding).
Total there, $5410.
That's an average of $900 for each puppy.
An average of 1.something puppies dies in each
litter. That's down to 5
That's $1100 (about) for each puppy.
Most breeders will keep a select puppy, as they breed mainly for themselves, to have a better show prospect for next year.
So that's 4 pups available for sale.
$1352.50 per pup, average, costs.
The most breed show pups cost about $600 to $900. So according to my addition and subtraction and multiplication and division the breeder loses from 3010 to 1810.50 for the litter.
What if we've got something like a bulldog?
They require $300 c-sections.
So at $5710 for the litter, with four pups being sold we're up to...$1427.50. Bullie pups sell at about $1200. So that's $910 loss for the litter.
Ok...now we're into Boxers, Shepherds & Dobermans which have *intense* show competition.
Let's say it takes *20* shows to finish one of these dogs. And let's do boxers, who sometimes require a c-section ($300).
That's $6110 for the litter...four of which can be sold...$1527.50. That's 3710 loss to 2510$.
Now, we'll talk Backyard Breeder.
It costs $20 per show to enter a dog. It takes on average 10 or 15 shows to get that show championship. (See addition factors below). We'll assume 10 for simplicity.
Ok, we can count this one out. They don't show.
It costs $200 per dog to PennHip it.
Again, they don't usually know what PennHip is.
It costs $150 per dog to OFA it.
Some people are catching on, but not many. We'll toss it in for doubt.
It costs $150 per dog to CERF it.
It costs about $50 per show in other expenses (handler,
hotel, gas, parking,
It costs about $100 for a good show training class.
It costs about $300 for the medical care of a dam during her pregnancy.
Well...most BYB's cut some of those expenses. We'll cut it down to $200.
It costs about $30 per week for 40 lbs. of good quality puppy chow. That's about how much a litter of, say, 6 eats in a week.
Well, again, they cut corners. Let's say they're feeding Purina Puppy Chow, instead of Eukaunba. That's $15 for a 40 lb. bag where I used to work.
It costs about $250 to properly vet a litter prior to going home to new families. (Assuming we don't need ears or tails done).
Hmmm...well, again, they cut corners, we'll cut this down to $175.
The average breeder takes about a week off work during the first days of a pup's life and the last days of pregnancy. Assuming the breeder has a 12.50 an hour job (that's what my mom gets) that's $500.
We'll say they skip the day after the pups are born. That's $100.
It also costs 20 per match to put an obedience title on a dog. Average of 5-6 matches, that's $120.
Parents may also have a preliminary OFA/PennHip/CERF. We'll assume $200 for the three of them (in any combination)
$150 for sire, OFA
Ok...so we'll do the same math as we did for a responsible breeder. Remember that this time we have no guarantee whatsoever that are pup is in the least bit healthy, because they probably haven't yet had their *second* set of puppy shots, nor do we have any idea if the parents are ticking bombs with the hips/eyes/or anything else. We also know that the puppies are probably not wormed (cut corners at the vet, remember?) And we also know that the pups were fed worse food, which can stunt growth and development (no offense, Purina!).
So we've got a total of $835 for this litter.
Assuming they have the 6 pups, with one not surviving, that's 5 to sell. We'll assume they're breeding to make the money they spent on the bitch back.
So that means that they're selling all 5 remaining puppies.
$167 per puppy. $835 total for the litter, expenses.
Most pups sell for $250 or $300, with bitches going $300 to $350.
Ok, now we'll run the pups that had to be born via c-section.
That's $1135 for the litter. That's $227 per pup. Breeder's profiting about $25 to $125 for each pup. So breeder makes $125 to 625 for the litter.
Well, the last factor doesn't apply because we've eliminated show championships from this...so it's not going to matter if we run the last or not.
That is why responsible breeders charge more.
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