As a breeder, I find I am spending a lot of my time explaining the ins and outs of breeding and justifying everything. So I think I should give a brief outline of what’s involved when someone breeds responsibly. Let’s start at the beginning.
Choosing breeding dogs
First, we must find breeders who sell dogs clear of any inherited problems. These dogs preferably purebred dogs must then be brought up as regular pets in our family learning manners, house training and to be sociable. They must be vet checked, microchipped, vaccinated up to date, clear of parasites, groomed regularly, fed a balanced diet according to weight, breed and situation (ie, growing dog or pregnant bitch etc). The dog then must be DNA tested* to make sure they do not carry testable inherited diseases. These dogs must also be registered with the local council. (*I will add a link to understanding genetics, promise it will be easy to understand). At any time during this 2yr process the dog may end up being unsuitable, whether is behavioural or health problems. If this is the case the dog and all the invested money and time is lost. The dog is desexed and found a happy home.
Being a Breeder
Means that you must always consider the welfare of your animals. You need to consider whether the pups you are breeding will be able to be homed. If the breeds are suitable for their intended environment.
You cannot be in this for just the money. They say the proof is in the pudding and it surely is. When the dogs you breed become health detection dogs and assistance dogs then you are breeding well socialised emotionally stable dogs. Breeders must continuously educate themselves in the best way to handle each situation and learn about all sorts of disease and health concerns also training and behaviour. A good breeder will have plenty of advice to give, experience to share or be able to point you in the right direction for the information you seek.
You must register with a breeding body that is recognised by local government for recognition by council.
At Hillview, we have a yearly independent veterinary audit of our dogs and property, with a visit from a vet (to the premises) who conducts checks of whelping facilities, enclosures, dogs health and welfare and records.
The business must meet DPI code which is enforced by the RSPCA, but we strive for better.
There is extensive work involved with Facilities, kennels, cleaning, heating/cooling, fencing, socialization, runs, feeding, health, care and well-being of the animals. Biosecurity measures, waste control, pest control, security against ill-intentioned individuals. Grooming! So much grooming and grooming equipment. Record keeping! Don’t let me forget the paperwork!
Whelping can be an all-night affair, at times it maybe a 3day sleepless affair. Mum might give signs that she is ready and we might be up all night tending to her and find it was a false alarm. My girls like my company, they do not want to be alone in a dark hole somewhere having pups on their own. So it means I am on a camp bed by her side. I will assist in the birth where necessary, mostly just praising and soothing though has been a time pups have needed resuscitation, or assistance from the sack or an obstructing pup needs to be manipulated into position, these are stressful times for a breeder. We want healthy births and our mothers to have easy, quick stress-free births.
Mum is not left to her own devices, pups are handled daily and checked for progress and desensitised from touch, We can be sure of healthy development, mum is also watched and cared for and her environment is kept clean and under controlled conditions to maintain the best and most comfortable conditions available, for 8weeks straight and then some.
Maintaining websites, social media, advertising, photographing, video editing, grooming, paperwork, communications, providing information, continued advice, travel costs, managing sales, managing owner-breeder relationships, vet bills, business costs.
There is regular daily work involved, for those that suggest this is easy money they have no idea. The requirements are extensive, the work hours are 24/7 the dedication must be complete and the devotion a passion.
This is not a backyard operation where neighbour Toms dog dropped over and “my bitch is pregnant’ she won’t be put on a chain or in a kennel out in the rain miserable and wet. This is not a farm where the stock is put out to graze and get fat and be taken to market.