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A question of breeding

There are those who question why people are continuing to breed dogs when the rescue centres are full of unwanted animals some of whom are destined for euthanasia. The sad truth is many of the dogs in rescue centres are the product of bad breeding or inexperienced owners.

People will always want to buy healthy pedigree dogs of their favourite breed, and of course some breeding is necessary if we want to retain the many lovely breeds some of which have been around for centuries. For anyone wishing to breed pedigree dogs there are things that can be done to make sure the puppies will be of the best and therefore unlikely to end up in re homing centres.

Breeding pedigree dogs

First ask yourself why you want to breed dogs, it can be rewarding, heartbreaking, exciting and if done correctly it is always costly. The only valid reason to breed is to produce happy healthy puppies that are good examples of their breed and improve on existing stock.

Before buying a pedigree dog to be your foundation stock it is most important that you learn everything you can about your chosen breed.

The Breed Standard and Kennel Club Registered dogs - The Breed Standard is a set of guidelines decided on and owned by the Kennel Club, it’s a blueprint by which all dogs of a particular breed can be measured. A Standard is only granted to a breed after detailed research is completed into a breeds health, temperament and historical background. There are currently 196 breeds recognised by the Kennel Club.

Show judges use the breed standard to compare each dog they judge against a hypothetical ideal specimen of that breed, good breeders uphold it to produce dogs that conform to type and represent the best possible examples of their breed in both looks and temperament.

Dogs which belong to a breed with a recognised breed standard are eligible for Kennel Club Registration providing they meet a number of requirements:

Both parents must be Kennel Club Registered.
The details of ownership must be correct:

  • For the stud dog at the time of the mating,
  • For the bitch at the time of whelping.
Puppies are not eligible for KC registered if:
  • The mother has previously whelped six litters,
  • The mother will be eight years old before the time of whelping,
  • The mother is under a year old at the time of mating,
  • Either of the parents has an endorsement saying ‘progeny not eligible for registration’ on their KC registration documents,
  • The breeder did not comply with the 'Breeding and sale of dogs act'
When owners register their puppies with the Kennel Club, they are agreeing to adhere to The Kennel Club General Code of Ethics which covers things like how a dog is fed and cared for,those to whom puppies may not be sold, transfer of documents and cases of misrepresentation.
(Full details of the General Code of Ethics to be found on the Kennel Club website)

When someone buys a dog that is Kennel Club Registered they can be reasonably sure that the details of the dog’s parentage and pedigree are correct. Make sure the dog you buy is Kennel Club Registered, any form of registration from organisations other than the KC should be avoided.

Dog Shows.

Many good breeders (but not all) show their dogs. Attending dog shows gives the Breeder a chance to compare their dogs with those of others and to see which dogs in the opinion of a judge best comply with the breed standard. Showing also gives the breeder an opportunity to talk to other breeders, view new stock and to appraise prospective stud dogs.

Attending dog shows gives the Breeder a chance to compare their dogs with those of others...

Anyone wishing to breed would be well advised to go to as many dog shows as possible in order to watch the judging,view the dogs and talk to breeders. Good breeders are prepared to help and advise novice breeders and you may find one willing to act as mentor and to teach you about all aspects of breeding.
The times and locations of Dog Shows can be found by purchasing the dog papers ‘Our Dogs’ and ‘Dog world’ details of shows are also included on websites like ‘Prodogs’ .

Championship, Open and breed Club shows are best for viewing individual breeds because they have separate sets of classes for each breed.

The dog papers.

Each week buy the dog papers ‘Our Dogs’ and ‘Dog world’ and read the show critiques written by the judges, reading these will give you the judges opinion on each dog. When you attend shows make a note of your thoughts on the winning dogs and compare them with those of the judge, this will help you to identify faults and to know which traits to look for in a dog. You need to develop 'an eye' for what is good or bad in the breed.The dog papers also produce a Christmas Annual each year; these are a good source of information and list all the main breeders along with pictures and details of their dogs and kennels.

Join the breed club.

Most breeds have a breed club and many of these have a web site with lots of useful information. To become a member of a breed club it is often necessary to be proposed by another member, by attending shows and events and getting to know breeders you will be able to ask someone to put your name forward to the club secretary so that you are able to join.

Reading and Learning.

Read as much as you can from every source about your chosen breed, this includes old dog books and Breed Club Year books, they provide a valuable insight into how a breed began and the first dogs to be bred from. The Ebay website frequently has old dog books for sale.

Also read everything you can find on breeding and whelping and invest in some useful books like Evans and Whites ‘Book of the Bitch’ which is an excellent guide to caring for bitches and puppies.

If there is a good kennels near you approach them with an offer to help with their dogs, this is a good way to learn about whelping and puppies.

Hereditary problems.

Before acquiring a dog for breeding it is essential to check which defects if any affect the breed. Make sure the breeder from whom you buy your dog has had all their stock tested, and that the stud dog they used was healthy and had the relevant health checks too. The Kennel Club have combined with the British Veterinary Association to produce Health Schemes which list specific breed defects and the breeds affected by them.

There are tests available to determine if dogs already have the defects or are likely to be carrying them, to obtain information on this subject go to The Kennel Club website and look for ‘Health Issues’ then ‘Health Schemes’ .There is also a link to the BVA site which contains details on where and how the testing is done.
When you have done all the research, learnt all you can, know the breed standard backwards and can tell whether a dog is correct or has faults you are ready to buy your foundation bitch. Choose your breeder with care, be prepared to wait a long time for a puppy, good breeders rarely breed many litters and most have a waiting list for puppies.

When you have aquired your dog and are ready to breed enlist the breeders help in choosing a stud dog whose pedigree and bloodline is compatible with that of your bitch. Make sure you keep your dog’s health checks up to date, if you fail to do this before breeding you run the risk of producing defective puppies.

Remember breeding is a very costly business, after the initial purchase of the best bitch you can afford to buy there will be the stud fees, vets bills and countless other expenses. Remember also a good breeder is responsible for the puppies they breed and has a moral obligation to take back a puppy they have previously sold whatever the reason.

There are many things that can go wrong, while whelping you could lose the bitch, the puppies or both, you may be left with puppies no one wants or even sick puppies. You could also be sued for selling a defective puppy if it can be proven you did not take all necessary precautions to ensure the puppies you produce are healthy.
If you wish to be go ahead and breed make sure you have learnt all you can and know all the drawbacks, then hopefully your dogs will not end up in a rescue centre.

Your comments and views:
Dogsey Veteran
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 12,204
15-06-2005, 03:38 PM
Another excellent article, full of easy to digest information, thank you.
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Dogsey Veteran
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,933
15-06-2005, 03:51 PM
Exellent article!
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Fondly Remembered
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 7,358
Female  Diamond Supporter 
16-06-2005, 12:39 AM
Invaluable information for those wishing to breed in an ethical and responsible manner. Excellent!!
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Dogsey Veteran
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,217
10-10-2006, 02:30 PM
Super article - most informative, and very welcome for a novice like me.
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Dogsey Veteran
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,179
22-11-2006, 12:49 PM
A good article which hopefully good potential breeders would follow.
Unfortunately though, you can do all this and dogs still end up in rescue, mostly down to bad owners.:cry:
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Dogsey Veteran
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 14,890
23-12-2006, 09:00 PM
Read this after you posted it on rarest breeds topic very well laid out and great advice, thanks Mini.
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New Member!
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 14
15-12-2011, 08:27 AM
" Make sure the dog you buy is Kennel Club Registered, any form of registration from organisations other than the KC should be avoided."

As this article is from the KC website, they would say that, wouldn't they?
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Dogsey Veteran
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 14,147
15-12-2011, 09:19 AM
Organisations other than the KC allow self-certification. In other words - they do not require proof or checks. Just a fee. Therefore they cannot be trusted to be accurate.
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Dogsey Senior
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 257
04-12-2015, 04:04 PM
Originally Posted by Jonas View Post
" Make sure the dog you buy is Kennel Club Registered, any form of registration from organisations other than the KC should be avoided."

As this article is from the KC website, they would say that, wouldn't they?
Of course they would. They must promote themselves. They are like the AKC here. They do not even recognize all breeds either so if you want one of those you will have to look without the KC registration.
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