There was a recent discussion on a bulletin board about raising puppies who are littermates. Since I found it interesting and there’s not much research on it, I’m posting the high points here for blog readers.
Problems Associated With Adopting Two Puppies at the Same Time, Whole Dog Journal
Littermate Syndrome, Blog post
Here is some excellent advice from Helen Dohrmann, KPA CTP, a dog breeder and owner of Training You With Your Dog.
“I have often kept siblings for extended periods, and have avoided the ‘pitfalls’ of keeping siblings by:
1 – taking pups out separately for new experiences and socialization
2 – crate training the pups early – mine start to sleep in their own crates at 6-7 weeks of age
3 – individual training times and specifically individualized training for the pups
4 – sending them on overnights with trusted friends.
This has worked very well for me and encourages the pups to be independent of each other.”
“So you think you want to breed a litter of puppies. There are some important questions to ask before you take that first big step. The first, and perhaps most important, question is “Why?”. The answers will be as varied as the people who own dogs. Do you want to have a puppy “just like” your dog? Do you want to breed your dog because people have told you how they would love to have one of the puppies? Did you pay a substantial amount of money for your dog and believe that you can recoup some of that money? Do you want to make some money? Do you want your children to experience the wonders of birth and nature? Do you believe that breeding your dog will make a significant contribution to the breed? These are some of the reasons given for breeding.”
Read the complete article here.
Another article on the topic of breeding dogs without doing extensive research on how to keep your dog, bitch, puppies, and breed viable.
Are you sure? These are the true experiences of fellow breeders. Breeding is NOT for the faint of heart.
There are 10 stories here.
You have a dog and you’re considering breeding it. Because:
- you want your kids to experience the miracle of birth
- it’s good for the female to have a litter before she gets spayed
- it will make your dog a “Man”!
- you want to sell the puppies and make some money
- or any more of a hundred reasons . . .
Experienced and responsible breeders already know about all these possibilities and are prepared to protect their adults and puppies. They have the knowledge of genetics and should have used them to encourage a healthy litter of puppies. When looking to breed or buy a purebred puppy, please ask more questions than, “How much?”
The stories below are true and horrible. Shelters and rescues all over the country are full of animals, including purebreds that have lost their homes. Please consider carefully deliberately breeding. On the other side of this issue, spay or neuter early so you don’t end up with an unwanted litter through neglect.
SO YOU WANT TO BE A BREEDER?
Breeding the female
So you want to breed your female. You know what to expect if everything goes right. Your little girl will present you with tiny bundles of joy. She will lovingly nurse them and care for them until they are old enough to be weaned.
You and your family will find great joy in watching and playing with these little dolls, and then when the time is right they will all (or maybe you keep just one) go off to special homes to live out their lives as cherished companions. But have you given consideration to what if something goeswrong? I have listed here a few of the problems that I myself have personal knowledge of. Everything listed has happened either to me or someone I know. These are not isolated incidents. I’m sure other breeders could add miles to my list. Learn by others mistakes!. Let the breeding up to those who know what they are doing, have the experience, know what to expect.
WHAT IF DURING THE BREEDING
- The stud dog you have chosen is carrying a venereal disease and gives it to your female. She not only doesn’t conceive but you have to pay the vet bills to get her infection cleared up and she is now sterile.
- The stud dog you decided to breed your darling to is not experienced. Once the two dogs are joined tightly in a tie, he decides to chase the neighbors cat out of his yard. He bolts for the cat ripping his penis loose and causing your bitch to hemorrhage from within.
- Your modest girl decides she doesn’t want the attentions of this gigolo mutt chosen for her without her consent. She snaps at him catching her tooth on his loose cheek and rips it open sending blood flying everywhere. He retaliates by sinking his teeth into her left eye.
- You leave your dog with the stud owner because the breeding is not going very swiftly. In fact , it’s been three hours and nothing is happening. The stud owners leave the two dogs alone in the back yard. The dogs get out through a tiny hole in the fence and a truck hits your female.
- You pay the $250-$1000 stud fee up front figuring you will make that and more back when the pups sell. The breeder guarantees the stud service to work or you can come back again. After 2 months you discover it didn’t work and now must wait another 4 months to try again. Of course it doesn’t work again, so in another 4 months you take your dog to another male and risk loosing another stud fee.
- You get her bred. Bring her home. She bothers you so you let her out she is still in heat and still receptive to males. You hear a commotion outside there is your girl tied up with the neighborhood mutt. when she whelps there will need to be DNA tests done on the pups.
- You get her bred. Bring her home and let her out. (She is still in heat and receptive to other males) but you do not see the neighborhood mutt breed her. The pups are born but look odd. You call the stud owner he suggests DNA testing (At your expense). You have a litter of mutts! What do you do about the ones you have already sold?
- Or knowing she tied with the neighborhood mutt you decide to terminate the pregnancy and try again being more careful next time. But a few weeks later your female is very sick because you had her given a miss-mate shot creating a hormonal imbalance causing a uterine infection and now she has Pyometra and needs a complete hysterectomy. All plans of getting a litter is gone and your female’s life is now in danger if she does not have the operation.
WHAT IF DURING THE BIRTH
- The puppies are too large for the female. She never goes into labor, the puppies die and she becomes infected by the decaying bodies.
- The puppies are coming breech and they drown in their own sacks before they can be born.
- The first puppy is large and breech. When it starts coming your female starts screaming, and before you can stop her she reaches around, grabs the puppy in her teeth and yanks it out killing it instantly.
- A puppy gets stuck. Neither your female nor you can get it out. You have to race her to the vet. The vet can’t get it out either. She has to have an emergency caesarian section of course it is 3:00 am Christmas day.
- A puppy is coming out breech and dry (the water sack that protects them has burst). It gets stuck. Mom tries to help it out by clamping her teeth over one of the back legs. The head and shoulders are firmly caught. Mom pulls on the leg, hard, peeling the flesh from the leg and leaving a wiggling stump of bone.
- A dead puppy gets stuck in the birth canal, but your female is well into hard labor. She contracts so hard trying to give birth that her uterus ruptures and she bleeds to death on the way to the vet.
WHAT IF DIRECTLY AFTER THE BIRTH
- The mother has no idea what to do with a puppy and she drops them out and walks away, leaving them in the sack to drown.
- The mother takes one look at the puppies, decides they are disgusting droppings and tries to smother them in anything she can find to bury them in.
- The mother gets too enthusiastic in her removal of the placenta and umbilical cord, and rips the cord out leaving a gushing hole pulsing blood all over you as you try in vain to stop the bleeding.
- Or, she pulls on the cords so hard she disembowels the puppies as they are born and you have a box full of tiny, kicking babies with a tangle of guts the size of a walnut hanging from their stomachs. Of course all the babies must be put to sleep.
- What if because of some Hormone deficiency she turns vicious allowing no one near her or the babies, who she refuses to nurse, or you have to interfere with.
- You notice something protruding from her vagina when you let her out to pee. You take her to the vet to discover a prolapsed uterus, which needs to be removed.
WHAT IF WHEN YOU THINK YOU’RE IN THE CLEAR
- One or more of the puppies inhaled fluid during birth, pneumonia develops and death occurs within 36 hours.
- What if the mother’s milk goes bad. You lose three of your four puppies before you discover what is wrong. You end up bottle feeding the remaining pup every two hours, day and night. After three days the puppy fades from infection and dies.
- The puppies develop fading puppy syndrome you lose two. You bottle-feeding or tube feeding the last remaining baby. It begins to choke and despite your efforts to clear the airway, the pup stiffens and dies in your hands.
- Your female develops mastitis and her breast ruptures.
- Your female develops a uterine infection from a retained placenta. Her temperature soars to 105. You race her to the vet, he determines she must be spayed. He does the spay in an attempt to save her life, you pay the hundreds of dollars bill. The infection has gone into her blood stream. The infected milk kills all the puppies and the bitch succumbs a day later.
- All the puppies are fine but following the birth the female develops a hormone imbalance. She becomes a fear biter and anytime anyone tries to touch her she viciously attacks them.
- Mom and pups seem fine, the puppies are four weeks old and are at their cutest. However, one day one of the puppies disappears. You search everywhere but you can’t find it. A few days later another puppy is gone. And another. You can’t figure how on earth the puppies are getting out of their safe 4′ x 4′ puppy pen. Finally there is only one puppy left. The next morning you find the mother chomping contentedly on what is left of the last murdered puppy.
WHAT IF THE NEW HOMES AREN’T SO HAPPY
- You give a puppy to a friend. Their fence blows down so they tie the puppy outside while they go to work. A roving dog comes along and kills the puppy. Your friend calls you up to tell you about the poor little puppy and asks when you are having more puppies.
- You sell a puppy to an acquaintance. The next time you see them you ask how the puppy is doing. They tell you that it soiled their new carpet so they took it to the pound
- You sell a puppy to a friend (you give them a good price and payments). They make a couple of tiny payments. Six months later they move to an apartment. They ask you to take it back. You take it back and of course the payments stop. The dog they returned is so shy, and ill mannered from lack of socialization and training it takes you a year of work providing socializing and training to be able to give it away.
- You sell a puppy to a wonderful home. They love her like one of the family. At a vet check done by their vet it is determined that the puppy has a heart murmur. (Your vet found nothing when he checked the puppy before it was sold.) They love their puppy and want the best for her. They have an expensive surgery done. The puppy is fine. They sue you for the medical costs. They win, because you did not have a contract stipulating conditions of guarantee and so as breeder you are responsible for the puppy’s genetic health.
- You give a puppy to your mother. She is thrilled. Two years later the puppy starts developing problems. It begins to develop odd symptoms and is suffering. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of tests later it is finally discovered that the dog is suffering from a terminal condition that was inherited. possibly from your female since you know nothing about her family lines.
- One loving home decides your puppy is untrainable, destructive and wants to return the pup and get a full refund, which you have spent on your vet bills.
- One loving couple calls you and is very upset because their pup has crippling hip dysplasia and want to know what you are going to do about it. You have spayed your female so a replacement is out of the question, looks like another refund.
- You put your ad in the local paper for your pups at the usual price and get only 2 responses and no sales. You cut the pup’s price in half and broaden your advertising to 3 other newspapers in which the advertising totals $120.00 a week.
- You get a few more puppy inquiries from people who ask all about health testing you did before breeding and if the pups are registered. You tell them your dogs are healthy and it was enough and that you could get the papers. The callers politely thank you and hang up.
- The pups are now 4 months old and getting bigger , eating alot and their barking is really beginning to annoy the neighbors who call the police who inform you of the $150.00 noise by-law.
- Your neighbors also call the humane society who comes out to inspect the care of your dogs. You pass inspection but end up feeling stressed and harassed.
- You finally decide to give the rest of the litter away but still have to pay the $1200.00 advertising bill and the $600.00 vet bill.
So you gotta ask yourself: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, “breeder?”