Thinking about breeding your Pit Bull? Maybe planning on buying one from a breeder? Before you do so, please read on.
The above pictures are only a drop in a very large, very full bucket. Take a walk down the halls of almost any shelter, any day, and you will see a myriad of faces just like these--homeless faces pleading for a chance to give love that they have never been given. Sadly, most of these dogs don't make it out of the shelters alive. Rescue organizations are overflowing with dogs, unable to save all that cross their path because there are just too many. And no where near enough homes. Think long and hard before you add to the already overflowing supply, or give money to someone who does.
The dogs that make it to the shelter, or better yet, into a rescue program, are the lucky ones. Many dogs never even get that far, falling victim to gross neglect or outright cruelty. Above is a picture of Blossom. Blossom's breeder didn't care enough about her to make sure she ended up in a good home. The fact is, many people breed litters and carelessly allow their puppies to end up in abusive situations. Puppies grow up to be not-so-cute adult dogs, owners tire of them and then relinquish them to shelters where they are euthanized. Too often dogs wind up dead on the streets, set on fire, beaten, shot, and worse. "Not my puppies," says the well-meaning, but neophyte breeder, "My puppies will end up in good homes." But making sure every puppy will be cared for and loved, and that none will grow up to produce more puppies that could end up abused and homeless, is not an easy task.
As it turns out, Blossom's angel was watching over her. Thanks to the dedication and care of breed rescue folks, Blossom is now fat, healthy, and happy in her new home (read Blossom's story here). There are many more "Blossoms" out there; maybe one waiting just for you!
Meet Petunia (pictured above). Dousing her face with battery acid was someone's sick idea of a good time. Yet another dog carelessly brought into this world by an unethical (ignorant) breeder. Pet was rescued by a good friend of mine, placed in an adoptive home, and is now living in sunny Florida with a little boy that loves her very much.
This little guy made it alive, thanks to a caring adopter, but....
...this dog wasn't so lucky.
Do you really need to breed your dog? Ask yourself why this is something you want to do. Is it fair to your dog? Fair to the breed? If you are planning on breeding your dog, please read on for information on ethical breeding practices, and see the links at the bottom of this page.
Do you have a specific reason for buying from a breeder? If you are simply looking for a great pet, rescuing a dog can be the best decision you ever made. If you do buy a dog from a breeder, make sure you support an ethical breeder and not a BYB or commerical breeder (see below for more information). Be sure to stay away from pet shops that sell puppies, as well (please see the following article: Puppymills, Pet Shops, & Why You Should Avoid Them).
If the dogs could talk, they'd beg you. Spay and neuter, and RESCUE a homeless dog instead of bringing more puppies haphazardly into this world.
For more information on where to get a Pit Bull please see the Ownership page.
(Click the above graphic for information on low-cost spay/neuter clinics in your area.)
Don't Be A BYB!
"Backyard breeding" sounds benign enough, almost like something that one would want to propagate as opposed to other sorts of breeding. But in the dog breeding world, the term is considered very negative.
The definition of "backyard breeder" (BYB) will vary slightly depending upon who you ask, but generally speaking the term is used to describe a person who casually breeds dogs in the home, probably mating the untested, untitled family pet(s) to recoup the cost of purchase or dog care, to provide pets for their friends and family, and/or to produce another dog "just like Fluffy". Backyard breeders are not particularly knowledgeable about their breed, dogs in general, genetics or the breeding proceedure, and the puppies they produce are low quality, possibly sick or tempermentally unsound. (Please see "What Is An Ethical Breeder?" below to learn more about how dog breeding SHOULD be done.)
There really is no reason to breed the family dog. The chance that a haphazardly-mated dog will produce puppies that end up just like the parents is slim. Friends and family who swear they will take a puppy end up missing in action when the time to bring a puppy home actually arrives. Litters end up being much bigger than expected--the planned-for litter of 6 ends up being a litter of 12, and as a result you find yourself overrun with rapidly growing puppies which no one wants. Solution? Live with way more dogs than you planned on, or dump the dogs off at the local shelter, where they will most likely be euthanized with all the other backyard-bred dogs who turned out to be just too much of a hassle for their owners. And as far as making money goes--HA! Between pre- and post-natal veterinary care, advertising for the puppies, feeding the puppies who end up not being sold as quickly as you had hoped, veterinary care for the growing puppies, medical emergencies that arise with the pregnant bitch, and a host of other unexpected expenses, the idea of actually making any money on the sale price of the pups becomes laughable. Then there's the possibility that you could lose your bitch and puppies during or after pregnancy due to complications. Are you really willing to risk the life of your beloved family pet simply to bring more puppies into a world that is already overflowing with homeless, abused, and abandon dogs?
Do the responsible thing and spay or neuter the family dog. Dog breeding is not a joke. It is not a money-making enterprise. It is something that should be left to a few extremely knowledgeable, dedicated people whose only desire is to improve their breed. That is the ONLY ethical reason to breed.
10 Best Reasons To Breed Your Pet Dog
10) You like the idea of having a house overrun by dogs you were unable to sell.
09) You'd rather spend all your money on dog bills than buy that new faux fur coat/build the new house addition/get that new car/buy a boat, etc.
08) You get to spend all your spare time at the vet's office.
07) Making enemies with the neighbors is a big priority on your list of things to do.
06) You never wanted a yard with grass anyway--mud is so much more stylish.
05) Staying up all night bottle-feeding sick/orphaned/bitch-rejected puppies is your idea of a good time.
04) You savor the idea of having to explain to the kids why Fifi didn't come home after that one-way trip to the veterinarian during labor complications.
03) It will be fun watching the kids' expressions when you tell them that all the puppies they were so enthusiastically looking forward to having, died.
02) Chewed-up furniture, peed-on rugs, and fur everywhere is THE new "look" in home fashion.
And the number one reason to breed your dog is......
01) Adding to the huge number of genetically inferior/homeless/euthanized dogs is something you've always wanted to do.
What Is An Ethical Breeder?
The terms "ethical breeder" and "responsible breeder" are used a lot in the purebred dog world. But what exactly constitutes an ethical producer of dogs? An ethical breeder is someone whose number one goal is to better the breed.
Before we further discuss the general protocol of ethical breeding, let's first look at the phrase "to better the breed". What does that mean exactly? Each breed of dog was created with a specific task in mind, whether that task was hunting, herding, sledding, or companion animal. Certain traits were selected for that would enable a dog to better perform its designated task. These traits comprised both physical and tempermental aspects. Established breeds each have a written standard. A standard is a description of the ideal specimin of the breed. Standards describe both physical and tempermental aspects that should be present in the breed: those traits that were selected for during the creation of the breed. Think of a standard as a blueprint which breeders can refer to when "building" the best dogs. This is one way breeders can help ensure that the dogs they are breeding are good representitives of their breed.
With the ideal specimin firmly established in the breeder's mind, he/she then works towards producing dogs that most resemble the standard. There is no such thing as the "perfect dog", but it is the goal of ethical breeders to try to get as close to perfection as is possible. The desire of those who are seriously involved in purebred dogs is to see each breed--as a whole--continue to improve generation after generation and reach that pinnacle of perfection known as the standard. This is what is meant by "bettering the breed".
Now let's return back to the ethical breeder's protocal. How do responsible breeders go about bettering the breed, and how can you tell which breeders are good? When you decide on a specific breed, one that you feel would be a good fit for your life and family, the next step is to begin thorough research. Through your research, you will learn what to look for in a dog of your chosen breed, what health issues are of particular concern to your breed, and general practices of those involved in your breed. There are specifics of each breed, and those specifics must be brought into consideration when choosing a breeder. However, there are a number of general things you should look for in *any* breeder. To follow is an "ethical breeder protocol", and notes:
*The ethical breeder's main desire is to better the breed. They breed for the love of the dogs and because they want to see the breed flourish in the future. That means they only breed those dogs that have traits of value to the breed to pass on to progeny. Each generation should be at least as good as the previous, and ideally it should be better.
*The ethical breeder carefully screens all breeding stock for health problems, and has proof of absence of problems from recognized dog health registries. Health concerns vary from breed to breed, and recommended health tests will therefore vary (this is why it is extremely important for a prospective buyer to be aware of the health concerns related to their breed of choice, so that they know what health tests to ask about when interviewing breeders).
*The ethical breeder is usually involved heavily in the sport of purebred dogs, whether in conformation, obedience, field trials, herding, etc. Stay aware from breeders who bash organized dog sports and say they stay away from competition because of politics. This usually signifies that the breeder's dogs just can't cut it in the show ring/trial field.
*The ethical breeder does not breed only pets. Although the law of averages will always dictate that pet quality puppies end up many times in even the most carefully planned litters, the goal of the ethical breeder is to produce the best dog possible. "Pet" puppies are generally defined as those that lack certain important qualities and are therefore not good breeding/showing prospects, but would make happy, healthy pets for people who are only looking for companionship.
*The Ethical breeder screens prospective buyers very carefully. They ask a lot of questions to be sure that their puppies only end up in the best of homes.
*The ethical breeder guarentees each puppy sold. The guarentee should cover such things as health and temperment, and should have no expiration date.
*The ethical breeder is knowledgeable about their breed and will anwser questions and concerns regarding the dogs willingly and openly.
*The ethical breeder does not support him/herself by breeding dogs. Breeding should not be a business--done correctly, there is very little money to be made in breeding dogs. Steer clear of breeders who make their living off of producing puppies.
*The ethical breeder's premises are neat and clean. Dogs are well exercised, happy and healthy. Kennel runs are roomy and comfortable. Dogs are up to date on innoculations, well-fed and well-groomed. There is no excuse for dirty, matted, skinny, or under-exercised dogs. If these things are obvious, look elsewhere for a puppy. A breeder should never have more dogs than they can physically care well for.
*Ethical breeders generally only have a litter at a time. Beware the breeder that has a lot of litters on the ground or a number of pregnant bitches. Although this isn't necessarily a bad thing (a lot depends on the circumstances of the individual breeder and the situation at hand), generally speaking the breeder with an abundance of litters/bred bitches should be avoided.
The time taken to research your breed and then carefully select a breeder is time well spent. You very well may be saving yourself from a lot of misery in the future.
For More Information...
If you are seriously considering breeding your dog or contemplating buying a dog from a breeder, PLEASE take the time to learn about the breed and responsible breeding. Please visit one of the following sites to learn more about how ethical, caring people breed their dogs. Don't contribute to the problem, be a part of the solution!
Thoughts On Breeding
RESIST THE GREED! Don't support BYBs, and certainly don't become one!
How To Find A Responsible Breeder
Visit CRITTER HAVEN, an excellent anti-puppymill and anti-BYB site that supports ETHICAL BREEDING.