“What a beautiful dog! What kind is she? Are you going to breed her?”
If you have a purebred dog, you probably hear comments like that a lot. And you probably have plans to let your dog have at least one litter, maybe more. After all, dogs with pedigrees are valuable, and you can use some extra money. Sure, you’ve heard that there are too many puppies that wind up at the shelter, but your pups would be purebred and they would never be part of the problem.
The truth is that almost one out of every three dogs at animal shelters are pure bred.* Labrador retrievers, collies, cocker spaniels, Jack Russell terriers, chihuahuas, rottweilers, pointers, German shepherds, huskies, Weimaraners, toy poodles, golden retrievers, beagles, miniature schnauzers, Irish setters, and all the other breeds you can imagine have been represented in the cages of our area shelters. Some come in as strays, but most are surrendered by their families. And far too many are not adopted.
Oh, but yours will be different. You have friends who have told you they want one of your puppies. In fact, you’re sure you will be able to find a good home for every puppy born. Of course, you will check out the homes to make sure every one of the pups, possibly as many as twelve, will have a permanent home with responsible caretakers. Your pups will never end up running the streets or tied outside for life. Your pups will all be well fed and receive excellent veterinary care. Or so you think.
It turns out that there are rescue groups for almost every breed of dog you can imagine. The reason is simple. Lots of people get dogs and then discover they can’t keep them. Shelters are overrun with the surplus, and over 30% are pedigreed. The people who love specific breeds decided to try to keep their favorites out of shelters and make sure they went to homes who could handle them. Shelties bark a lot, terriers are scrappy, poodles need lots of grooming, basenjis are destructive, and huskies are escape artists. Rescue groups know their breed and do their best to find appropriate homes, but large numbers of purebred dogs never get adopted.
As for all the money you hope to make, think again. It’s very expensive to raise puppies, from veterinary bills and special food for the nursing mother to advertising costs. Many breeders never turn a profit, and most end up losing money if they provide the proper care for their dogs. Responsible breeders are knowledgeable about their breeds and only breed their best dogs to improve the breed, not to make money.
“Backyard breeders.” That’s the term for people who have a purebred dog and decide to have a litter. It’s not a compliment!
Please get in touch with us if you’re thinking of breeding your dog. We can help you reach experts who know your breed and can help you decide if it would be better to spay or neuter your dog.
And by the way, those of you with purebred cats might not realize that shelters become loaded with Siamese, Persians, Bengals, Himalayans, Rex, Manx, and lots of other exotic breeds. They all started out as valuable purchases but too often end up homeless because there are just too many of them.
* If you’re looking for a purebred dog or cat, visit PetFinder.com and select the breed, age, sex, and put in your zip code. You’ll see a list of shelter and rescue animals in your area who need a home.