So you are thinking of becoming a dog breeder 

  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 goal.
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 pups. 

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 the pups? 
    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 works.  LOL 

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.