You have a great dog and now you are thinking about breeding him or her.
What is the next step? Who will help you out on the way? Is
it really for you? Lots of questions and you can ask ten breeders and
you will probably get different answers based on that breeders own
opinion and how they run their own kennel. I think with breeding
dogs you kind of need to take other folks opinions with a grain of salt.
Yes, you will find breeders who do things like you want to do things and
then again you will find breeders you disagree with. I believe
even when you don't agree with a breeders "kennel" you can still meet
tons of great people in the breeding world. We won't always agree
on everything and heck with some we won't agree about most things,
but we can usually agree on the love of this breed.
So lets get started. Hopefully when looking for your dog you found
a dog who was out of lines you are happy with and who came from health
tested parents. It is important to know what you are working with so
first thing you need to do is get your dog health tested. First
off I would get my dogs hips xrayed and sent off to OFA here in the USA.
Yes, we have PennHip but most do OFA with this breed. You
will also need to get your dog DNA tested for CEA/CH and possibly TNS as
well. If your dogs parents are DNA tested then depending on the
results you may not need to get your dog tested. If both parents
are CEA/CH Normal then your pup is normal as well.
For hips we do know hip problems are genetic and environmental so it
does leave breeders in a situation where we can't always guarantee a
dogs hips will be good but we do usually warranty them. Eyes we
can guarantee free of CEA based on genetic testing. There are
other disasese in this breed and in animals in general that we just
can't test for and have to hope our dogs don't have the disease.
There are lines with known genetic problems and when they pop up a
breeder has to decide what is right for their kennel and what they need
to do to prevent it from happening in the future.
I think a good breeder tries to stay on top of new information and is
always learning from other breeders, vets, trainers and pretty much any
source we can find. Breeding isn't really something I think a
person should just decide to do one day simply because they have a male
and a female and why not have pups. There are so many great dogs
in the pounds if all a person wants is a cute dog they can go to a pound
or rescue and get a pup there. Breeders should be trying to
produce a certain type of dog and with a goal in mind. If you are
wanting to breed dogs you need to decide what your goal is.
Usually this is easiest if you find a breeder who will mentor you along
the way or even a few breeders who will help you out.
Now I will post a few things to think about which are also on my
"outside breeding policy" page. These are things to think about if
you are wanting to become a dog breeder. These are just of the
questions I ask but others may have more questions. Once you go
over all this what if you discover that maybe your current dog is not
breeding material maybe she doesn't pass hip scores or you find a major
issue in the line. Well honestly that does NOT mean your dog is not
still an awesome dog it just means you shouldn't breed him/her.
Should you decided to get another dog I would get one from a different
breeder and maybe things will be different and that dog be more of a
better candidate for breeding. Believe me all breeders have
purchased a dog and for one reason or another it was not a breeding
candidate. If you really want to get into breeding dogs and are
willing to do the work then that will happen and if a breeder says they
have never had that problem they are probably full of crap. I
personally do not see anything wrong with breeding dogs if you do it the
right way and are not afraid to work hard, have a thick skin because you
will need it, and you understand there is much more to breeding than
playing with cute pups. (Yes, the pups are cute but the cleaning
up puppy poop and LOTS of it is not cute) If you ever want to see
it first hand you are welcome to come clean my puppies poop the week we
are weaning pup and they stress poop. No fun.
Ok so here are points to think about.
1. Why? What is the reason you want to breed her?
This is a real questions. Why?
Please for the love of all that is holy do NOT say so your kids and
experience the miracle of life. If you want to experience that
then call a rescue group and foster a pregnant momma dog.
This miracle of life is messy and can be a tragic. Do you know how
many breeders have at least one pup due during the birth or withing 24
hours? Do you know how many females will have complications ?
What about bottle feeding pups which I know sounds like such great fun.
WRONG. Waking up every 2 hours to start feeding a litter unless it
is a big litter then you must get up about every hour to feed so that
the pups all get to eat. Oh yeah pups can't go to the bathroom on
their own when born so you must stimulate them to pee and poop.
Then there is the keeping them at a perfect temperature becuase if not
they die. Pups can't regulate their body temperatures when born so
they must be kept very warm and should they get to cold and you try to
feed them they won't absorb the nutriton and will not survive.
Raising pups is much more to it than playing with pups. They even
have dvd's that show the birth process if you just want you see what it
is all about.
So please be prepared to explain why you want to breed your female and if
you are prepared for it fully from start to finish. Which there
again good breeders offer help after the pup leaves so be prepared for
helping your puppy buyers with questions for as long as they need help.
2. What is her lineage?
If you say well there are herding champions in her pedigree.
Uhh ok? Seriously there are herding champions in every working
line but for example lets say for example Champion Herding dog named "APPLE"sires 100 pups. Were
all 100 pups also champions? No because that doesn't happen.
So the fact that that dog was a great herding dog with a great handler does not make your dog
a champion by blood. You need to know more about the lines
other than that you see one was a champion. Honestly some of
the best lines I have ever owned did not necessarily have some big
famous herding champion or famous show chamion for a parent/ grandparent etc.
3. Who is the breeder and do they know you plan to breed?
Maybe they can help you find a suitable stud.
Most breeders will help you on this journey if they have sold you a pup
with breeding rights. For obvious reasons they wouldn't want you
to breed their line to a line they wouldn't consider a quality breeding.
4. What is it about this dog that makes you want to breed
it? Also what type of pups are you wanting to produce?
Working dogs, performance dogs, pets, therapy dogs what is your breeding
Everybody thinks their dogs have great temperaments but there
must be more to it than that. I see dogs daily at the shelters
with great temperaments but that doesn't mean they should be bred.
Try to go into details afterall you are the one looking to breed your
dog the breeder didn't come to you wanting to breed her.
5. What is her hip score?
If you say you have not had her hip tested yet why?
Is there a reason for it? Yes, I do know hips are polygenic but if
you don't see them on an xray you don't know much about your girl. If she is
dysplastic then breeding her could cause her a great deal of pain during
the pregnany and whelping too. Hips are a hot topic now among breeders because of the new research
saying hips problems are grealy caused by environment.
6. What is her DNA status for CEA/Ch?
CEA is an easy disease to prevent. ONE parent
must be free and no pups will have the disease. Can't fix blind
7. What genetic health problems are in that line? (If you say how would
I know.. you haven't done your research so why would a breeder want to
do it for you?)
There are lines we KNOW carry certain problems and you just
need to do your research and see what is in your lines.
8. Do you have people wanting pups out of this girl and why.
This is kind of a basic questions.
9. Is your dog a certain color that must be bred a certain way in order
to not have genetic problems?
If you don't know then you need to do your research in that
area as well. Can't breed merle to merle but do you know the gold
gene is a masking gene
and should you breed it to a merle some of the gold pups may
be merles too. Gold merles do NOT have spots. Do you
have a dog with a lot of white or the pie bald gene which can cause hearing problems.
10. Who will be raising the pups and how?
Nobody wants pups raised off in some barn to get no socialization
or handling. We know the importance of how pups are raised now so
how will you do it?
11. Will you be offering a guarantee on your pups? If so
what and why?
Most people want a guarantee of some sort.
12. Will your pups be going on spay/neuter contracts? If so why?
How will you enforce a spay/neuter contract and are you aware
of new research pointing to problems of early spay and neuter?
13. What is your back up plan should your female die giving birth,
be unable to nurse, or simply unwilling to take care of her pups?
I hit on this above but it is a real issue.
Still with me? Just checking...
So you have a stud and you are looking
for a female to breed him to.
First off look above and think of the same basic questions. There
are a few more though for a stud that wouldn't apply to a girl.
1. Are you prepared to open the "pandora's" box so to speak of
breeding a male and opening that flood gate of hormones that will come
once he is a "stud" dog.
2. Why would it benefit the owner of the female to use your stud over a
dog who is a proven dog?
3. Same health and lineage questions as above.
4. What role would you play in finding homes for pups, covering
costs of care and such?
5. Will you offer to split the responsibility of the guarantee on
FYI in the dog world expect the stud dog to get 90% of the
blame in health issues. This is kind of a joke but not totally a
joke. When all else fails blame the stud dog seems to be a
common thing in the dog world.
6. Why did you want to breed this boy?
Please, please do not say "I just wanted him to get to
breed a girl once". Yes, I have had a man tell me that and
my reply was, "please tell me you are not serious" followed by a
few other things once he informed me he was. These are
dogs they do not know what they are missing and your dog is NOT wanting
to be a dad to fulfill his life long dream. Nope not the way that
Should you not know the answers to any of the above you need to do your
research. I take raising Border Collies serious and feel that
there is more to it than just having a male and a female dog. In
my opinion if all a person wants is a pup, then they can go to a
pound and get the same quality of pup that they would by going to a back
yard breeder who did nothing but breed two dogs.
What is next? Well if after going through all the above you still
want to breed your dog then that is awesome and I hope you choose to do
it the right way. I hope that you find a passion for Border
Collies like I have and I hope you continue to learn along the way.
Breeding dogs you WILL have days you want to pull your hair out but then
if you do it right you will have more and more days where a puppy buyer
emails you or texts you to brag about how wonderful your pup is and how
much they love that little pup.