Breeding dogs is a pretty incredible responsibility. It isn't easy, and it isn't for the faint of heart. Information learned today tells us whether the decisions we made three years ago were good or not so good, and often requires us to make some hard decisions. There are always risks involved. Bitches can die, puppies may not be viable, and certainly the whole thing can be a financially draining experience. Not every puppy produced turns out exactly how we planned, and no breeder can guarantee that bad things won’t happen to wonderful puppies. In the words of an old breeder, you never really know until you try it whether a breeding decision was a darn good idea or a very noble experiment.
That being said, why do we do it? Why face the risk, the heartache and the ever tight finances?
We have a true love for dogs, the spirit of competition, and love for complexity. We have the knowledge, the desire, the ability to breed dogs the right way, and the responsibility to share that knowledge with others. To top it off, there is absolutely nothing more precious than the kisses of a puppy. Puppy breath? No sweeter smell. The dogs bring more sanity than any psychiatrist ever could.
Liberty Run’s objectives…
•Health…a healthy dog is the best thing any breeding program can produce •Temperament…a sound mind is of up most importance for both the family companion and the best show dog; without good, stable temperament, a breeding program is floundering •Structure…a physically sound dog moves stronger, longer •Type…a dog should look like the breed he is supposed to be •Conformation…a breed has a standard for a reason
You can’t put together a breeding program without consistently breeding dogs. Breeding quality puppies means you put tremendous thought into your breeding pairs and you focus on breeding the highest quality dogs possible. A good breeder studies pedigrees and pours over the latest articles and research to make the best decisions possible, weighs the potential good vs. bad and hopes for a little bit of luck in the mix. Breeding the best dogs you can to produce the best puppies possible is the objective.
Health clearances are simply one of the steps in making breeding decisions. Liberty Run breeding stock is evaluated for health through the most accepted organizations in the United States, including the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and the Canine Eye Registration Foundation. Dogs at Liberty Run are evaluated for all aspects of quality. Here at Liberty Run, we don't consider health issues to be trivial. We test all breeding stock and use all test results to help evaluate each individuals place in the breeding program. There are many things we can’t test for, but most certainly we do test for what can be tested and strive to minimize the common issues that plague each breed. A dog that spends a lot of time at the vet is simply not kept in the Liberty Run breeding program. While there is never any guarantee when it comes to breeding, starting with healthiest parents possible is the first step. Health is an important consideration, but it certainly is not the only consideration.
Temperament is an area where we simply do not compromise. All Liberty Run breeding stock is evaluated for temperament. Dogs at Liberty Run receive a tremendous amount of attention and hands on time, training and care, and all breeding decisions in reference to temperament are done with an open state of mind. If the dog doesn’t have a quality temperament that would lead it to be a wonderful pet in the average pet home, or if the dog is difficult to train and manage in the average home environment, or if the dog can’t be trusted around children, people, and other pets then that dog is not bred at Liberty Run. Though some dogs are bred for specific purposes, even service dogs, show dogs and working dogs are people’s pets and should have a temperament that allows them to have a sound mind and the ability to manage unusual circumstances. Every show dog, every working dog and every family companion should have a sound temperament. Temperament is genetic and most definitely is inherited. While behavior and manners can (and must) be trained, a dog’s underlying temperament is determined by its parentage. Dogs don’t inherit good manners, but they certainly do inherit the sound mind that allows you to train them.
Structure, type, and conformation all go hand in hand. Quality conformation requires a dog have good structure and breed type. Breed type includes proper structure, and proper structure leads to proper type. A breed should look like it is supposed to look and should not look like another breed. A Greater Swiss Mountain Dog should adhere to its own breed standard just like a Bernese Mountain Dog should adhere to its own breed standard. The two breeds should not be mistaken for each other and there are more differences than simple length of coat. A Chow should be the epitome of a chow and possess all the key traits that make a chow a chow as well as excel in temperament. Here at Liberty Run we breed each breed for the highest quality, regardless of what breeds we are breeding. While no dog is perfect and every dog has some conformational faults, we focus to limit those faults and to constantly improve from one generation to the next.
Spotting Quality Conditions at a Breeding Facility (What to look for…)
Quality breeding facilities are typically limited to show breeders across the country. Many show breeders are small hobby facilities operating out of their house, but others have a large enough program to warrant operation out of a kennel facility. Some show breeders take it a step further and turn their hobby into a breeding business. Any of these facilities are good places to look for your next family dog. The number of dogs a quality breeder maintains is not what you need to worry about, rather you need to consider the conditions in which the dogs live and the standards the breeder uses to determine what dogs are bred. Whether the dogs live in the home or in a kennel facility, the dog areas must be clean and in good repair. Dogs should have plenty of room to run and play and should not spend the majority of their time in crates. Dogs that spend the majority of their time crated in the house are not better off than dogs that have kennel runs in a separate building.
Quality breeding programs can be recognized by…
•Typically maintains more than just one or two dogs (you can’t breed if you don’t have dogs) •Clean facilities in good repair with special areas for whelping that allow the bitch privacy from other dogs in the household •Up to date health, training, and show records on each dog •Routine medical exams and health care provided on a regular basis •Health clearance testing on all breeding stock •Voluntary AKC DNA certification •Purebred, registered litters only •Breeding stock is shown at AKC dog shows with the majority of breeding stock achieving the status of AKC Champion (the exception to this would be dogs registered through other reputable registries (AKC does not register every breed), and dogs bred for service or working purposes, in which programs will have set standards for breeding stock selection) •Breeder fully intends to keep a puppy from the litter to continue their lines and litters are bred to improve the program, not just to produce puppies •High quality in the puppies produced •Every dog is exercised and attended to every day and receives one on one attention on a daily basis •If a breeder maintains a large number of dogs, they also have the staff to dedicate appropriate time to each dog •Breeders do not hesitate to allow visitors into their facility to see and meet the dogs •Every dog receives appropriate socialization and the breeder does not allow dogs with questionable breed temperament to remain in their breeding program •Dogs are happy, healthy and eager to meet visitors and do not avoid contact •All puppies are sold on contract, with registration paperwork and a spay/neuter requirement for all non-breeding puppies. •Breeder is a member of local dog clubs, national dog clubs and demonstrates a true breed dedication along with time and history in the breed •Stud dogs may or may not be on premises •Breeder is reachable for questions and concerns and offers advice to help you through problems and issues as well as advice to get you off on the right foot. •Litters are rarely evaluated to be all show quality •Breeder carefully selects homes for suitability and no puppies are sold to brokers or pet shops for resale.
Before you breed, you should at minimum be able to answer the following questions.
1.Do you have (and have you read) at least one good book on your breed and one good book about whelping? 2.What are the most common health concerns that occur in your breed? 3.Which of these health concerns can be tested for? 4.What do OFA and CERF stand for and of what importance are they? 5.What are the disqualifying faults and serious conformation faults in your breed? 6.What is your dog’s pedigree, where do you get it, and what can you learn from it? 7.What other information do you need about your dog’s pedigree that is not on the written paper? Can I obtain the needed information? 8.How old should your bitch be before she is bred? 9.How long is a bitch’s cycle and when is she most fertile? 10.How do you find a stud dog and how do you decide if he is appropriate? 11.When should the two dogs be together and can you just let them do what doggies do? 12.What problems can occur during the breeding process? 13.What is AI and who should do it? 14.What diseases can a dog get when bred? 15.What precautions should be taken with a bitch in season? 16.Can a litter have more that one father? 17.How long is gestation and what special diet should the bitch be fed? 18.What are the signs a bitch is in labor? 19.What arrangements need to be made for whelping? 20.What type of a whelping area do you need? 21.Which vets will you use in case of emergency? 22.What are the signs that whelping is going well? Developing problems? 23.When should a c-section be performed and is it common in your breed? 24.When should the vet be called for help? 25.What is oxytocin? 26.How long does whelping take? 27.What does green fluid mean? 28.What do you do if the bitch does not clean and stimulate the puppies? 29.What is the incidence of puppy deaths in each litter? 30.What is the ultimate cost and ultimate risk in breeding? 31.What is a breach birth, how often does it happen, and is this a problem? 32.What happens if a puppy is born without the sac? 33.How do you resuscitate a dead puppy? 34.How do you clear fluid from a puppy’s lungs? 35.How do you check for cleft palate and what do you do with deformed puppies? 36.What is mastitis? Eclampsia? What do you do? 37.How do you bottle feed a puppy and what can you feed them? 38.How do you know if the puppies are progressing well? 39.What if they don’t nurse? 40.When do you start feeding the puppies real food? 41.When should puppies be vaccinated? Dewormed? Visit the vet? 42.When do puppies have their dewclaws removed? 43.How do you find puppy buyers and how do you know if they will be good? 44.How do you match the right puppy with the right family? 45.When should the puppies be weaned? 46.How do you socialize puppies? 47.How soon can the puppies go to their new homes? 48.How do you temperament test puppies? 49.What information do you need to give the new owners? 50.When do you start training puppies? 51.How do you housetrain and what do you need to do to make housetraining easier for the new owner?