Thoughts on a Brood Bitch

Discussion in 'The Breeding Ground' started by IliamnasQuest, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. IliamnasQuest

    IliamnasQuest Loves off-leash training!

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    I was off at obedience trials this weekend and I called up a fellow dog friend and we had a long discussion about breeds and breeders and showing and all that. She and her husband show in conformation and put two (AKC and CKC) championships on their male last summer. She's helped mentor me in the conformation ring but has also been very supportive of my other endeavors (and is amazed to see what my chows do .. *L*). She's also been a breeder although she hasn't bred any litters in the past four or five years.

    We've discussed Khana's merits (Khana is my two year old chow bitch) and whether or not I should consider breeding her. Khana has a lot of excellent physical qualities, comes from exquisite bloodlines, has a perfectly wonderful temperament, has earned two performance titles and will earn more, is pointed in AKC and CKC conformation. I have no immediate plans to breed her and she would of course have to have her health tests completed first. Her sire is the first chow in the history of the breed to pass all the recommended health tests for chows.

    My friend knows how deep the bond is between Khana and myself. I became very ill when she was just ten weeks old and I spent the first three months of our life together mostly bedridden. I depended on Khana to entertain me, snuggle with me, and basically give me a reason to live. She slept with me and I did most of her early training while laying on the bed or in a recliner. We were together 24/7 (still pretty much are).

    So my friend says to me "you won't ever breed Khana .. you're too close to her". She went on to say that she was once told by someone who mentored her way back that a breeder should never get too close (emotionally) to their brood bitches. You have to be able to deal with the situations without being over-run with emotion. You can love them and consider them to be important to you, but you can't have that really deep bond because it becomes too difficult. And she went on to say that people who are really really close to their dogs tend NOT to breed.

    I understand what she's saying. It takes a certain amount of objectivity over emotionalism to go through breeding, I think. You're putting your bitch at certain risks that they wouldn't have otherwise. Those risks have to be more important to you than the bond you have in some ways - otherwise you wouldn't breed.

    I kept Dora (my now nine year old bitch) intact for years because I considered breeding her. She's a nicely cobby chow, good temperament, and I left her intact while I worked on titles with her to see if I might want to breed her (her previous owner - a show person - wanted a pup from her). I love Dora. But when I thought of breeding her, I didn't have a huge fear of what might happen to her. I realized the risks but felt that if she ended up being what I thought she should be I would breed her without too much hesitation. It ended up that she didn't have some of the qualities I wanted to see so she was never bred. But breeding her wouldn't have been tremendously difficult emotionally for me.

    The thought of breeding Khana scares me at times. She is what I want to see in a chow. I think breeding a chow like her would be a good step in the breed. I just don't think I can do it, however. Even if she came back with ALL the health tests passed and EXCELLENT hips, and earned advanced obedience titles and all that - I just don't know that I could do it.

    So (typical long post, I know .. I always try to explain things fully .. *L*) - what are your thoughts on attachment to a brood bitch? I'm sure everyone wants to feel they're very close to their breeding bitches, but does it make sense that there has to be a tad bit of emotional removal in order to handle breeding without completely falling apart from anxiety?

    Melanie and the gang in Alaska
    ... I think working at a vet's for so many years and seeing what CAN and DOES go wrong has created a lot of fears for me .. at least that's my excuse .. *L*
     
  2. shadowfacedanes

    shadowfacedanes *Biter*

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    I've never bred a dog, so I can't offer an answer, I just wanted to say WOW. Anyone ever considering breeding should read this to know how it should not be taken lightly. If only all breeders cared so much and put this much thought into the process. My hat goes off to you, and I'm sure you'll make the right choice for you and your precious girl.
     
  3. sam

    sam New Member

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    I guess for me it would depend on the breed of dog and what kind of whelpers they are. I think it would be a different decision for me wether I had a breed with easily delivered bullet shaped heads like collies and belgians vs a breed that tends to have difficult dilevries ir may require a c-section.
    For me the $$$ and the huge amount of work required in being a good breeder would probably be bigger considerations.
     
  4. Bahamutt99

    Bahamutt99 Dafuq?

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    Maybe I'm not the best suited to answer this, because I have a tremendous attachment to my dog. But honestly, if I'd wanted to breed her, I wouldn't have worried much about the possible hang-ups, just tried to be prepared for them.

    I know that bitches can die in labor and things of that nature, but a dog can die from many things. Its all relative. Loki could have swallowed and choked on the pinecone she was playing with at the park today. She could have fallen off the slide she slid down and broken her leg, then died in surgery to fix it. We both could have been mowed down by a car on the way home. But the fear of those things happening wouldn't keep me from pursuing my desire, which (in this case) was to go to the park and have fun with my dog.

    I think the potential benefits of breeding an outstanding litter justify the potential risks. Unless, for example, we were talking about a bitch with health problems or a whole mess of problem whelpers in her pedigree, in which case I think the owner should evaluate whether its really worth breeding such a dog in the first place. But for a healthy bitch who really has something to contribute, a bond should be no bar to the breeding. I would think that an attachment would actually help. There is an established trust, which would be beneficial when it comes to helping her whelp the litter, handling puppies, etc.

    That's JMO.
     
  5. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    Feeling the way you do , I would leave the breeding up to those who want to continue for a GOOD reason . It's a lot of work and not easy !
     
  6. IliamnasQuest

    IliamnasQuest Loves off-leash training!

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    Thanks for the comments.

    Bahamutt, I understand what you're saying but I guess I see it a bit differently. Allowing your dog to play with a pinecone and choosing to have your dog bred are so vastly different that I can't even compare them. Yes, our dogs could die doing everyday things. But to make the choice to have your bitch whelp pups adds a higher risk of injury/death than they would have in day-to-day activities. And choosing to put your dog at a higher risk, to me, means you have to be willing to accept that risk. The less emotional involvement you have with an animal, the easier it is to put it at that additional risk.

    I'm not suggesting that those who breed don't care for their bitches! I just think that the comment by my friend was interesting and it got me to thinking.

    You know, I read this several times and then walked away and came back to it much later, and I keep getting the same feeling from it. It sounds like you're suggesting that my reasons for breeding aren't GOOD. By saying to leave it "up to those who want to do it for a GOOD reason" it really seems that you're insinuating I wouldn't be. Why would you say that? Or am I misinterpreting entirely what you were trying to say?

    I'm well aware that it's a lot of work. I was a vet tech for years, helped hand-raise orphaned puppies as well as dealing with a lot of health issues in animals that most people don't get to have experience with. I'm dedicated to my dogs and not afraid of work (or I wouldn't be putting performance titles on chows .. *L*). IF I choose to breed, I'll be going in with my eyes open.

    I'm setting up the OFA hip and elbow x-rays on Khana now and will go from there. We'll see what happens.

    Melanie and the gang in Alaska
     
  7. anna84

    anna84 New Member

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    I'm almost positive that bubbatd didn't mean anything negative by her post. But back to what I quoted, I'm not entirely positive but I thought that you had said before that you had competed in agility, I know your in favor of working titles on dogs.

    Agility is outside the realm of everyday activities and dogs that compete just like human athletes who push themselves run a higher risk of being injured. GSD's that compete in Schutzund can break bones, pull muscles, and lose teeth. And owners who train their dogs that are in SAR definetely increase the potential for injury and death to their animals.

    This isn't a critique of these activities at all. But I wanted to use them to point out that I'm sure that many of the people who take part in these things love their animals dearly. From everything you've said it seems like Khana's puppies would be a help to the Chow breed in general, plus they'd be adorable ;) . But of course it's a difficult decision and theres no wrong answer.
     
  8. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    It seemed to me that you were on the fence about breeding . I'm sure if you did decide to breed it would have a lot of thought and testing behind your decision . I meant no harm .
     
  9. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    i had never really thought about breeding a bitch- i've no intention to ever get into that kind of thing- but your initial post really struck me, because i think i'd fall very much into that category. i think about my relationship with luce, and intentionally entering into something that could have major complications in which i could lose her would scare the pee out of me.

    i think i would also have an excruciatingly hard time placing her pups as well, because of my relationship with her.

    i'm so glad i don't have to worry about this kind of thing. i find plenty else to worry about! ;)
     
  10. sam

    sam New Member

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    oooh placing the pups uuugh I'd have a terrible time with that. I don't think there are 8 homes that would live up to my expectations for my dogs. That would be TOUGH.
     
  11. tinies12

    tinies12 New Member

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    Sounds like you put alot of time and effort in your dog!:) If I were looking for a Chow pup I know I would go to some one like you. It's fine to know that you love your dog as much as you do there are too many bad and uncaring dog owners out there! You do what makes your heart sing, let it be breeding your dog or not!

    Your heart is in the right place and that is what counts! I love this forum they all have thier heart where it belongs. A solid family I can be proud of!:cool: :cool: :cool:
     
  12. Boemy

    Boemy New Member

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    Your friend's mentor's statement sounds pretty harsh to me. "Sorry, dog, I can love you in a generic kind of way but I can't REALLY bond with you because I want puppies. Tough break!"

    While I'm sure breeding requires some tough decisions (including possibly making decisions in a medical emergency), I don't see why bonding with a brood bitch would be bad.

    I mean . . . I've never heard parents say to their grown up daugher, "Now, whatever you do DON'T HAVE KIDS, something really terrible might happen to you during pregnancy! You could DIE!", which indeed can happen despite all our medical advances. No, it's always "BABIES, HAVE BABIES, GIVE ME GRANDBABIES!" ;)
     
  13. IliamnasQuest

    IliamnasQuest Loves off-leash training!

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    Thanks for clarifying, bubbatd. That's why I asked!

    elegy, you brought up another good point - placing the puppies! I can only think of a small handful of people that I would want a pup to go to (at this time) and I'm not sure they'd even WANT a chow pup! *L* So finding homes that I would be comfortable with would be hard too. Luckily chows tend to have small litters, and even smaller if it's AI (which it would need to be as the males here in Alaska aren't quite my type of chow).

    So much to consider before ever deciding to breed, you know?

    Melanie and the gang in Alaska
     
  14. IliamnasQuest

    IliamnasQuest Loves off-leash training!

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    You make a good point, but I have to say that I see it in a bit different way. Yes, I'm in favor of working titles. I don't like what I've seen happening in the agility world with dogs breaking down and having some major problems. I don't push my dogs that far. I have multiple agility titles on three dogs and none of them have been injured or have shown any lasting problems for it - but I also never drilled them hard or ran them weekend after weekend at trials. I wouldn't put my dogs in a dog sport at a level where they would be likely to sustain injury.

    I think that if you're putting your dog in an activity that runs a high risk of injury or death then again, the same "criteria" may apply as to those who breed. There's a conscious choice on our part to put our animals into these situations and does that mean that we need to have a tad bit of objectivity in place of a bit of the bond? Or would we avoid these types of things if we had a really really REALLY deep bond?

    I don't know the answer for sure, just using this as a topic of discussion .. *L* .. I know there are some choices I've made with Khana that could be interpreted as a bit harsh and yet I know how much she means to me.

    After reading all these posts I'm sitting here wondering if part of my thoughts on breeding and bond have to do with concern over where to place puppies. I can see myself living with a whole litter of pups because I wouldn't find "appropriate" homes .. *LOL* .. not that the thought doesn't kind of sound fun!

    Khana's a sweetie and is a great ambassador for the breed .. only time will tell if breeding her becomes the right thing to do. It won't devastate me if she's never bred.

    Melanie and the gang in Alaska
     
  15. IliamnasQuest

    IliamnasQuest Loves off-leash training!

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    tinies12, thanks .. loving my dogs is what I do best! *L*

    Boemy, you're exaggerating my point and attributing words to my posts that weren't there. It's not that I said someone couldn't bond with a brood bitch. I said there's a certain amount of objectivity over emotionalism that probably needs to be there in order to handle the stress of putting your dog at a higher risk.

    And comparing it to humans - while I can see why you did - is not really accurate either. The level of care we put into a human is much MUCH higher than what is typical for a dog. There are blood tests and sonograms and various other tests that are done as a matter of course. And the choice to produce a human baby is a choice made BY the humans, not by some other species who decided to put this human female with this human male to produce these human babies.

    If we decide to breed our dogs, we are 100% responsible for what happens. As parents of grown children, we have to rely on the lessons we've taught them throughout their lives and hope that they make good decisions on their own.

    It's just not a viable comparison to me.

    Melanie and the gang in Alaska
     
  16. A very interesting and thought provoking post, Mel.

    I understand it down to my bones, having nearly lost the bitch on my last breeding to an ER section.

    You can bet your boots I understand and have thought long and hard about the risks associated with breeding, ANY breeding. I know breeders who have lost bitches after doing EVERYTHING right. I just almost can't get my mind around the emotional consequences there would be for me should my Penny die from complications of whelping. Whelping that *I* caused to happen.

    It is one reason I'm planning on using the WHELP WISE service on my future litters.
     
  17. Purdue#1

    Purdue#1 Guest


    I agree. people should be able to read it is easliy without having to go through a lot of pages(hint.hint);) ;)
     
  18. StillandSilent

    StillandSilent New Member

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    Let me preface this by saying I have never bred a dog and never plan to, but here is my opinion. She is your pet first and foremost. Not a brood dog or a champion, your pet. So if you are unsure at all, don't breed her. Let her live out her life as a pet. A dog should only be bred to better the breed, but just because she may better the breed, she doesn't absolutly have to be bred. (Did that make any sense outside of my head :) )

    I'm sure you have thought about all this already, but if she were my dog, I wouldn't breed her, at least not right away. I also don't want this to sound like I don't think you would be breeding for the right reasons, because I know you would.
     
  19. IliamnasQuest

    IliamnasQuest Loves off-leash training!

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    Red - I think you understand well the point I was making (or at least asking about). It's a huge responsibility, making the decision to breed a bitch. Some people seem to do it so casually (as evidenced by breeders kicking out numerous litters a year). For me, it's much more emotional.

    StillandSilent - I have NO plans to breed Khana any time soon. I'm just in the process of setting up the OFA x-rays and we'll go from there. Who knows, maybe something will come up that makes her "non-breedable" in my eyes. Right now, she's an absolute delight and definitely of a temperament much better than the typical chow. And she is very much my companion first (the spoiled little monster that she is .. *L*).

    You know, it's tough .. some of the very characteristics that might make her a perfect choice for breeding are also the characteristics that make me so close to her that it becomes difficult to choose to breed. What a catch-22 it all becomes!

    Melanie and the gang in Alaska
     

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